Social Question

sylesterthetiger's avatar

I have been told that moral values are subjective. What does this statement mean?

Asked by sylesterthetiger (10points) May 10th, 2012

As the question asks; please explain.

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10 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

One person thinks promiscuity is ok, and another doesn’t. Neither can claim their morals are superior because they’re only the views of a specific individual which can’t be applied to everyone else.

sylesterthetiger's avatar


Can harming someone else be ever seen as moral? Would you say there are something that can never be considered moral. For example; torturing a person slowly to death. We can say there are some actions that are definitely immoral correct?

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Some people believe that morals are “given to one”. That is, that you adopt a moral code developed by others, such as those prescribed by various religions. To those people, moral values are objective; they’re often written down and subscribed to by entire groups.

To those people it is inconceivable that others can consider themselves “good people” when they develop their own (subjective) moral codes, and even worse when they modify those codes and values as they mature or as their values change.

To answer the question you posed to @Blackberry, “harming another person” can be a moral act at times. If someone threatens my family, then you may be sure that I would have no aversion to “harming” or killing that person. In fact, it would be considered a moral act by most, I suspect.

Blackberry's avatar

@sylesterthetiger Yes, it can. Emotions can run high, and people will think it totally moral to torture a convicted pedophile, for example, while others feel it best to just let them rot in jail.

There are very few instances where humans or a society as a whole agree on something completely.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@sylesterthetiger to answer the question “Can harming someone else be ever seen as moral?” I broke a police officers ribs today. His colleagues thanked me for doing so. What was I doing and was it moral?

(I also got to play with my ceramic siccsors that cut kevlar body armour like butter which was fun)

Berserker's avatar

It’s subjective because people made em up based on their experience of life, and based on the environment they reside in. A lot of it seems absolute, because despite man’s natural yearning to wage war, we actually agree on a lot of things. Despite that though, technically, it’s subjective because there is no known source that confirms morality and the values which reinforce the idea.

downtide's avatar

It means that they are taken into context of what is acceptable within a particular culture and community. For example, 200 years ago it would be acceptable for someone living in the USA to keep slaves and beat them if they didn’t work hard enough. Now, however, our customs have evolved and society would consider the same act as being immoral. Sixty years ago, living with someone and having children without being married would have been considered immoral. Today it doesn’t even get a second glance.

Morality is passed down from generation to generation, from parent to child. Each generation will modify the rules they inherit to accommodate their evolving society.

Paradox25's avatar

The best way to describe this (I think) is to say that subjective morality basically means morality varies from one individual to another. Objective morality is usually a set of moral codes that are expected to be followed by everyone. Many times these set rules for morality are created by cultural or religious beliefs. Frankly, there is a potential problem with both forms of morality in my opinion, and I’m not so sure about which one is better.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@sylesterthetiger Can harming someone else be ever seen as moral? Morality on a purely general sense is forged by those who have the might to enforce it. If were in Germany in 1941 it would be moral to shun, mistreat, or even kill Jews, the same as it would be in Alabama in 1951. I would be moral to support the Klan if not a member, keeping those non-white people in their place. Those who were of the tribe that slaughtered the other in Rwanda thought what they did was moral. The Soviets thought what they did executing those who dissented or housing them away in harsh gulags, was moral. Harming people can be moral when those who are doing it have the might to carry it out and no one is powerful enough to hold them accountable.

Berserker's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Troo dat. that’s why we need more Predators up in this bitch

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