Social Question

liminal's avatar

How does right and wrong play or not play into your opinions and decision making?

Asked by liminal (7766points) March 11th, 2010

I heard this said today: “A lot of people simply go by Right and Wrong.”

My questions for the lots of people:

How do you decide what is right or wrong?

How do you decide if your source of right or wrong is right or wrong?

How do you decide whether to use your sense of right or wrong to decide another’s life or behavior is right or wrong?

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25 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

If right v. wrong doesn’t guide your actions, then what does?
Right v. wrong is pretty much everything.

ninjacolin's avatar

all decisions are made quasi-mathematically at first and by memory later.

Vunessuh's avatar

Common sense plays a big part in determining what’s right and wrong.

TexasDude's avatar

I’m the kind of person who still believes that there are genuine good guys and bad guys in the world, and I base my judgments on common sense and my own innate sense of right and wrong, which I find to be mostly universal among people, even in our wildly subjective postmodern age.

If you rape your girlfriend and beat your child, you are a bad guy.
If you are the guy who picks up the pieces, you are a good guy.

Behavior wise, you stop swinging your fist when it reaches the other guy’s nose, unless he wants said fist in his nose.

liminal's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy how does one decide what is right and wrong?

liminal's avatar

@ninjacolin would you mind saying more?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Right: Considering how your actions affect others and taking measures to make sure you’re not hurting anyone.
Wrong: Saying “Fuck you, I’ll do what I want because I’m the only one who matters.”.
Didn’t your mama teach you right from wrong?

liminal's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy I get that. Thanks.

wundayatta's avatar

I am generally aware that my notion of right and wrong may not be shared by others. This doesn’t change my notions about right and wrong, but it does make me talk about it differently. I want others to share my notions of right and wrong, but telling them they are wrong is rarely, if ever, a good way to get them to agree with me.

davidbetterman's avatar

I’m a gray area kind of guy.

ninjacolin's avatar

Aristotle discovered the method by which all decisions in conscious brains are made. It’s called Logic. Often decision making (aka. the use of logic) can be misapplied. When it is, it is considered Fallacious Logic. When decision making goes well, however, it is considered Sound Logic.

What makes one idea right or wrong is the consistency with which it adheres to the laws of logic as discovered by Aristotle (which has further developed/updated into formal logic over the years)

Once a decision is logically arrived at, however, recurrent decisions are easier to make without having to do all the work of figuring it out. Instead of figuring it out, we tend to do whatever we’re comfortable with. This is why people develop “bad” habits and then they find it difficult to stop themselves. Their memories work against them. In the case of useful habits, of course, your memories are working for you.

liminal's avatar

@ninjacolin Thanks for that. Makes me wonder how aware of logic people are, myself included, and how often their use of logic is misapplied. This was edited trying to keep up with ninjacolin’s smart self. everything you read after this does not discount his brilliance. he accurately pointed out my fallaciousness

Coloma's avatar

I like the Buddhist mantra of ‘Do no harm.’

Not alwyas 100% possible, but certainly worth striving for.
If any behavior/action could cause/effect harm.
Be it a person, place, thing, animal.

Putting out rat poison could potentially cause a trickle down effect of harmfulness.
Not just for the rat, but the dog, cat or bird that may eat it, to the leeching of toxins into the soil or ground water.

One act can often have multiple consequences.

ninjacolin's avatar

fallaciousness is logic. It’s just poor logic. :)

liminal's avatar

@ninjacolin right… so now I am going to try to edit my response to sound sensical :P

ninjacolin's avatar

no, don’t do that! then my post will sound nonsensical!

sweetteaindahouse's avatar

I use common sense and right and wrong to judge my decisions. I try to be a good person in every way possible. I know how it is to have people make fun of you and leave you out. So I try not to do that. I also think that there will always be bad people and the good people just have to do their best to counteract what the bad people do.

ninjacolin's avatar

@liminal said: “wonder how aware of logic people are”

many consider logic to be something unscientific, unbinding. but it isn’t. even those who consider it to be so have come to that conclusion using logic. logic is even what babies without language use. as far as i can tell, it represents the way brains form decisions at the most basic level. logic is as significant in the universe as the laws of physics, i suspect they are intimately connected. the same way the laws of physics determine the gravitational pull of a planet, logic determines the beliefs and actions of every being on the earth.

liminal's avatar

@ninjacolin I am intrigued by that…I am going to keep pondering it.

Coloma's avatar

I disagree. Logic has nothing to do with beliefs, some actions yes.

If logic was involved in belief there would be no killers in the name of ‘religion’. Logic is not in question, conditioning is!

Babies have no ability to form logical conclusions, they simply act EMOTIONALLY on what their needs are in the moment. They cry, coo, laugh etc. to express pleasure, contentment, discomfort, hunger or other basic needs.

Logic should always be balanced with heart!

ninjacolin's avatar

emotions are factors logic considers when making decisions.

prolificus's avatar

@liminal asks: How do you decide what is right or wrong?

I use a combination of what I’ve been taught (from my parents, teachers, and authorities – from both a secular and sacred point of view), things I’ve learned on my own (study of various books, including the Bible), personal experience, the law of the land, on-going feedback from others, guidance from my Higher Power, and from my own internal compass.
@liminal asks: How do you decide if your source of right or wrong is right or wrong?

If whatever element of the above-mentioned combination doesn’t make logical sense, doesn’t feel good, doesn’t fit the situation, and/or harms myself or others, then I label the element “wrong.”

As far as the specific source is concerned, whether it is right or wrong, if the majority of its elements reveal themselves to be “wrong” (by using the above-mentioned filter, then I would have to say that the source is wrong.

@liminal asks: How do you decide whether to use your sense of right or wrong to decide another’s life or behavior is right or wrong?

There are some moral absolutes I hold true for all people at all times, regardless of their belief system.  I won’t go into specifics, but they are along the lines of sanctity of life and maintaining a safe environment.  I think it is necessary for the well-being of myself and others to use these standards to judge others. For example:  I think it would be wrong for someone to murder another person.

There are some convictions I have based on my belief system. It wouldn’t be fair or appropriate to judge another person based upon my beliefs if the person is of another belief system.  However, if the person is of the same belief system, then I think it is okay to evaulate behavior in order to give corrective feedback (if it fits the relationship and is not self-righteous judgement). Example: I think it is appropriate for the sensei of a dojo to judge the actions of a student.

Regardless of the basic moral absolute or the collection of right behaviors found in my belief system, I believe there is room to evaluate situations on a case-by-case basis. There could be extenuating circumstances, etc, that require the practice of not applying or changing the rules.  (Some would call this practicing mercy.)

Cruiser's avatar

What is right or what is wrong? Who gets to decide that? Keep your hands off my kids and stay off my property and we will never have to find out now will we?

TexasDude's avatar

I like that answer, @Cruiser

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