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Can actions which cause no harm be immoral?

Opening Argument

SkepticalOneSkepticalOne 46 Pts
edited December 2017 in General
I saw another poster suggest that actions can be immoral even if they cause no harm and I thought this to be an incorrect statement. Can anyone convince me other wise with sound arguments?
  1. Can actions which cause no harm be immoral?

    9 votes
    1. Yes
      66.67%
    2. No
      33.33%
    3. I'm not sure.
        0.00%
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Arguments

  • In general, a social group having its own moral code of conduct may find it “immoral” when one of its members leave and join a different group having a conflicting code of conduct. If the transition is civil, no harm done.
    SkepticalOne
  • I think it depends on what you think is moral or not. You may not directly harm anyone but you are still doing something that is considered wrong. For example if you are drunk driving, even if it's only for a block or two, and you get home safely without harming anyone, you still did something that is considered immoral. 
    SkepticalOne
  • @Mike

    Without knowing why social group A's disapproves of social group B's code of conduct we can't say if the act of joining social group B causes no harm. Plus, if the code of conduct is benign and group A disapproves for purely subjective reasons, then I'm not sure their objection has anything to do with morality.
  • @MajoMILSdlGMGV

    I think your argument raises other questions.  Is driving drunk immoral or potentially immoral? If we modify your hypothetical so that no innocents could possibly be harmed I think we illustrate drunk driving is not inherently immoral on it's own.
  • @Mike

    Without knowing why social group A's disapproves of social group B's code of conduct we can't say if the act of joining social group B causes no harm. Plus, if the code of conduct is benign and group A disapproves for purely subjective reasons, then I'm not sure their objection has anything to do with morality.
    Thank you for your feedback. I did mentioned, or implied, that “we know” there are moral codes within a group “A” that are known to be in conflict with group “B”; hence an “immoral” event when one leaves said group “A” to reform, or convert to group “B” in a civil manner, and therefore, “harms” no other. 
  • Mike said:
    Thank you for your feedback. I did mentioned, or implied, that “we know” there are moral codes within a group “A” that are known to be in conflict with group “B”; hence an “immoral” event when one leaves said group “A” to reform, or convert to group “B” in a civil manner, and therefore, “harms” no other. 

    You're not seeing the point I'm trying to make (poor communication on my part no doubt!).  It seems you're basically defining morality as codes of conducts which are culturally approved, but isn't morality more than consensus?  For instance, if Group A views leaving group A as immoral...or (say) eating strawberries as immoral  - that doesn't make these actions immoral. 
  • Define immoral and harm and you will find the answer.
    I come to debate, I stay to troll,
    I leave to think, I return to brawl.
  • Mike said:
    Thank you for your feedback. I did mentioned, or implied, that “we know” there are moral codes within a group “A” that are known to be in conflict with group “B”; hence an “immoral” event when one leaves said group “A” to reform, or convert to group “B” in a civil manner, and therefore, “harms” no other. 

    You're not seeing the point I'm trying to make (poor communication on my part no doubt!).  It seems you're basically defining morality as codes of conducts which are culturally approved, but isn't morality more than consensus?  For instance, if Group A views leaving group A as immoral...or (say) eating strawberries as immoral  - that doesn't make these actions immoral. 
    For example, say I’m a member of an orthodox religious group and decided to convert to another religion. Depending on their moral code, which is a function of their belief system, the group may define this as a sinful “immoral” event, and generally, no “harm” is done to anyone during one’s conversion.
  • @Mike you harm yourself by ensuring punishment for sinning by betraying their god.
    I come to debate, I stay to troll,
    I leave to think, I return to brawl.
  • @someone234

    Only God will make that decision on judgement day. Therefore, no “harm” done today in our physical domain. 

  • @Mike sentencing yourself to eternal damnation is harm. Long term harm that comes later due to what you do now is still based on the concept of harm.
    I come to debate, I stay to troll,
    I leave to think, I return to brawl.
  • Mike said:
    You're not seeing the point I'm trying to make (poor communication on my part no doubt!).  It seems you're basically defining morality as codes of conducts which are culturally approved, but isn't morality more than consensus?  For instance, if Group A views leaving group A as immoral...or (say) eating strawberries as immoral  - that doesn't make these actions immoral. 
    For example, say I’m a member of an orthodox religious group and decided to convert to another religion. Depending on their moral code, which is a function of their belief system, the group may define this as a sinful “immoral” event, and generally, no “harm” is done to anyone during one’s conversion.
    If we allow different groups can have different moralities, then we must also allow moving from one group to another is an amoral action since no group (even if religious) is a moral authority over any other group. 


  • @Mike sentencing yourself to eternal damnation is harm. Long term harm that comes later due to what you do now is still based on the concept of harm.
    Again, God is the judge. Not you!
  • Mike said:
    You're not seeing the point I'm trying to make (poor communication on my part no doubt!).  It seems you're basically defining morality as codes of conducts which are culturally approved, but isn't morality more than consensus?  For instance, if Group A views leaving group A as immoral...or (say) eating strawberries as immoral  - that doesn't make these actions immoral. 
    For example, say I’m a member of an orthodox religious group and decided to convert to another religion. Depending on their moral code, which is a function of their belief system, the group may define this as a sinful “immoral” event, and generally, no “harm” is done to anyone during one’s conversion.
    If we allow different groups can have different moralities, then we must also allow moving from one group to another is an amoral action since no group (even if religious) is a moral authority over any other group. 


    Who are “we” to dictate to any social group what their moral code of conduct to be? Besides, tyrannical codes of conduct is not a subject of this debate.    

  • @Mike which god?
    I come to debate, I stay to troll,
    I leave to think, I return to brawl.
  • @Mike which god?

    Good question! However, God is not the subject of this debate. I only used religion as an example of an “immoral” action causes no “harm.”

    From that example, you went off on some tangent describing the actions of your God, will somehow, harm the one who converted to another religion. 

  • SkepticalOneSkepticalOne 46 Pts
    edited December 2017
    Mike said:
    Mike said:
    You're not seeing the point I'm trying to make (poor communication on my part no doubt!).  It seems you're basically defining morality as codes of conducts which are culturally approved, but isn't morality more than consensus?  For instance, if Group A views leaving group A as immoral...or (say) eating strawberries as immoral  - that doesn't make these actions immoral. 
    For example, say I’m a member of an orthodox religious group and decided to convert to another religion. Depending on their moral code, which is a function of their belief system, the group may define this as a sinful “immoral” event, and generally, no “harm” is done to anyone during one’s conversion.
    If we allow different groups can have different moralities, then we must also allow moving from one group to another is an amoral action since no group (even if religious) is a moral authority over any other group. 


    Who are “we” to dictate to any social group what their moral code of conduct to be? Besides, tyrannical codes of conduct is not a subject of this debate.    

    I think you're looking at it in the wrong way.  If moral relativism is true, then moving between groups cannot be immoral from any context in which more than one group is objectively considered. So, I agree with your statement just not your conclusion.
  • @SkepticalOne
    How about this example, the classic “generation gap.” A parent may find their child’s rap music “immoral,” relative to the child no “harm” is done.
  • Mike said:
    @SkepticalOne
    How about this example, the classic “generation gap.” A parent may find their child’s rap music “immoral,” relative to the child no “harm” is done.
    I think the only reason for a parent to find rap music immoral is because of the lyrics, which could cause harm by desensitizing the child over time.  They may find the music itself to be of inferior quality, but not immoral.
  • Mike said:
    @SkepticalOne
    How about this example, the classic “generation gap.” A parent may find their child’s rap music “immoral,” relative to the child no “harm” is done.

    Let's explore it.  Other than opinion (which I do not consider to be morality), why would the parent consider the music immoral?  
  • @SkepticalOne ;@CYDdharta
    What I may find “immoral” may be pleasure to you. Therefore, no “harm” is done to either. 
  • @Mike

    Mike, do you consider morality to be arbitrary? Is it a matter of personal preference? I don't think either is true and an argument with such assumptions built-in are not compelling.
  • @Mike

    Mike, do you consider morality to be arbitrary? Is it a matter of personal preference? I don't think either is true and an argument with such assumptions built-in are not compelling.

    Good question. I find “morality” and a moral “code of conduct” are two different manifestations of a “universal morality.” That is, in forming a group, the objective of morality is the genesis as well as the evolution of a subjective code of conduct, while following a code of conduct becomes a moral event preserving the life of the group. The evolution of a human moral code of conduct is a function of the “Golden Rule” which is an outgrowth from a “universal morality”, which is an outgrowth of life’s “unalienable Rights”, which is an outgrowth of the physical constructal law.

     For other forms of life, according to research of Jonathan Haidt, Marc Hauser, Frans de Waal, considers a universal morality, or a variant thereof, responsible for group formation (schools of fish, flocks of birds, packs of wolfs or other primates) that seems to be more genetic than social or a combination thereof.   

    Take for example, the historic lamenting over the “changing moral values” relative to Elvis Presley’s activities in the 1950’s.  

    So in conclusion, relative to my subjective code of conduct, which evolved from the subjective norms of the culture in which I live; what I may find “immoral” may be pleasure to you. Therefore, no “harm” done to either.

  • @Mike

    You acknowledge a function of morality is preservation. You suggest this is limited to a group, but this is demonstrably false.

    Most charities help individuals regardless of their religion, race, sex, etc. This would be counter-intuitive if morality were nothing more than preservation of social groups.

    We can observe this same impulse to protect life even across species boundaries. For instance, the label "endangered species" arises from the realization that we can affect other animals in positive and negative ways - we might be causing extinction and/or we can fix the problem. Morality across species is not limited to humans either. Dolphins have been seen protecting seals and even humans from predators. Why would they do such a thing if the group were the heigth of morality?

    Suffice to say, without preservation of life as a basis, there is no morality. Ill agree how we go about doing this is subjective (there are many ways to achieve this), but the thought that morality is nothing more than a whim which has no connection to prevention of harm and preservation of life is misguided.

    In short, if you find something 'immoral' in which no one is harmed, then your definition of morality is meaningless.
  • @SkepticalOne Hate to break it to you but you thinking my morality is meaningless, is itself meaningless to me. Bye b**** xoxo
    I come to debate, I stay to troll,
    I leave to think, I return to brawl.
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