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Old 19th February 2019, 11:12 AM   #1
JoeMorgue
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Oxford anthropologists identify seven universal rules of morality

Quote:
In the largest cross-cultural survey ever conducted, a team of anthropologists from the University of Oxford has determined seven moral rules they suggest are universal. Based on the examination of ethnographic accounts from 60 different societies the research concludes that while morality may not necessarily be innate, every single culture analyzed seems to be ruled by the same moral precepts.

The seven moral rules seen in every culture studied ultimately come down to:

- Family values
- Group loyalty
- Reciprocity
- Bravery
- Respect
- Fairness
- Property rights
Link: https://newatlas.com/seven-universal...qLUOu-3gblSG7o
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Old 19th February 2019, 11:58 AM   #2
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Looks like something of an extension of moral foundations theory:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mora...ve_foundations
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Old 19th February 2019, 12:40 PM   #3
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I notice that two things that I personally would consider moral behaviors did not make the universal cut: honesty and charity toward strangers.

These do appear to be things that the US political left and right disagree on.
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Old 19th February 2019, 12:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
I notice that two things that I personally would consider moral behaviors did not make the universal cut: honesty and charity toward strangers.
I think that honesty will fall under reciprocity.

That could also be where charity towards strangers resides, or possibly under group loyalty when the group includes strangers.
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Old 19th February 2019, 01:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post

I think most, if not all, of these things are observable in primates. That certainly strengthens the case that they apply to humans. The catch is that our ability to plan for the future and think in abstractions means that any of these could be perverted for any purpose.

For example, just about all of these are displayed by mass cult suicides. Yet, I doubt anybody would seriously argue that Jonestown or Heaven's Gate were moral outcomes.
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Old 19th February 2019, 01:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
I think that honesty will fall under reciprocity.
Sure, if you value honesty then under reciprocity you will want to both give and get it. But not if honesty just isn't all that important to you.

Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
That could also be where charity towards strangers resides, or possibly under group loyalty when the group includes strangers.
By strangers I meant to imply those who are not in your "group". Loyalty to your group implies that outsiders are second class citizens. Do you try to help them and work to include them in your group or do you treat them as enemies and take advantage of them for the betterment of your current group members?

Last edited by jrhowell; 19th February 2019 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 19th February 2019, 01:24 PM   #7
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Ever since the days of Bush Mark I*, I've wanted to hear a definition of "family values." I hope the anthropologists take a stab at it.

*AKA Whiney. Well, that's what Nancy Raygun called him.
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Old 19th February 2019, 01:29 PM   #8
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They seem like vague labels or categories rather than moral rules.
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Old 19th February 2019, 01:46 PM   #9
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"Group Loyalty" has been and continues to be responsible for a lot of really bad stuff.
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Old 19th February 2019, 01:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
"Group Loyalty" has been and continues to be responsible for a lot of really bad stuff.
That's what I was going to say. A crazy addition if you ask me.

Reciprocity is dubious too, although in a moot kind of way. Bravery? In what way is bravery moral in itself? ISIS fighters are brave. They're also big fans of group loyalty.

I would imagine concepts such as kindness to animals and respect for the planet are measures of morality, but they don't appear in the list at all. Respect is there but without qualification it's meaningless. Respect for what?

Seems like pish to me.
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Old 19th February 2019, 02:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
Sure, if you value honesty then under reciprocity you will want to both give and get it. But not if honesty just isn't all that important to you.
Maybe honesty isn't even on the list because of the necessity of (some) dishonesty in order to maintain moral stability. IOW, everything collapses if there is not some dishonesty happening sometimes.

Quote:
By strangers I meant to imply those who are not in your "group". Loyalty to your group implies that outsiders are second class citizens. Do you try to help them and work to include them in your group or do you treat them as enemies and take advantage of them for the betterment of your current group members?
The study is of cultures. If the stranger is from a different culture then this might not apply at all. If you look at the list, none of them specify moral attributes applied outside of a particular culture.

It's possible that "being moral" towards other cultures isn't on that list because it isn't a universal value across all cultures.
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Old 19th February 2019, 03:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
I would imagine concepts such as kindness to animals and respect for the planet are measures of morality, but they don't appear in the list at all.
This study examined 60 different cultures. In order to make the list the moral attributes must be valued by all 60 cultures. If animal kindness is considered a moral by 59 cultures then it can't make the list because it requires 60 cultures.

Animal kindness would fall under moral relativism, not moral universalism.
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sphenisc View Post
They seem like vague labels or categories rather than moral rules.

Yeah, they're not morals. At best they're hard-wired shortcuts that at some point created an evolutionary advantage.

I think xenophobia is probably hard-wired into people as well. But it's been recast here as "family" and "group" loyalty. In any case, since any of these things can be overridden at any time, I'm not sure I even see the value in making the list to begin with.
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Old 19th February 2019, 10:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
I notice that two things that I personally would consider moral behaviors did not make the universal cut: honesty and charity toward strangers.

These do appear to be things that the US political left and right disagree on.
Pretty sure you find altruism within the sense of empathy and fairness.

Honesty probably has roots in a number of those. Honesty doesn't show up in toddlers until some age where they've learned to feel bad when they lie. But it probably is a complex issue.
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Old 19th February 2019, 11:59 PM   #15
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Aren”t “group loyalty” and “family values” essentially the same thing? And are they necessarily compatible with “fairness”, in particular relating to those outside the group?

Perhaps we are, to quote Gag Halfrunt, “crazy mixed-up animals.”
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Old 20th February 2019, 01:13 AM   #16
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Kindness? It’s not the same as fairness or reciprocity. Is any other word better as the oppocite of cruelty, which I’m sure every society would aspire to?
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Old 20th February 2019, 10:52 AM   #17
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"Property rights"??? Yeah. "Christian values"???

Complete BS propaganda.
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Old 20th February 2019, 10:59 AM   #18
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Here is "the paper" in case anyone wants to read it.

https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/do...10.1086/701478
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:43 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Aren”t “group loyalty” and “family values” essentially the same thing? And are they necessarily compatible with “fairness”, in particular relating to those outside the group?
I would consider group loyalty and family values to be similar at least in terms of the behavior expected among the group members. I think the difference, if any, would lie in how the group is formed. Group loyalty can refer to a group of one's own choosing whereas family values would be loyalty to one's (unchosen) kin.

You could argue that the loyalty tenets are focused on conduct within a group: each individual incorporates the interests of the other members of the group as a moral imperative. Okay fine, but then this really only matters where there are in-group and out-group dynamics. Loyalty to the group matters only if there is a choice between whether to favor the in-group or display fairness to an outsider. Does that make sense to anyone else?

Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
"Group Loyalty" has been and continues to be responsible for a lot of really bad stuff.
As have "family values," which in the context of this study is defined as favoring one's kin. I'm thinking of nepotism specifically, in which someone in power provides for one's kin irresponsibility. Nepotism is morally murky, and not something I would consider a virtue.

Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
"Property rights"??? Yeah. "Christian values"???

Complete BS propaganda.
I was hoping someone would raise this issue, because "family values" is often co-opted by the Christian right as a euphemism to signify and legitimize their particular brands of bigotry. I had a mild knee-jerk reaction to seeing that on the list and wondering who is going to equivocate that to justify their contrived moralizations. It's what got me to read the full paper to see exactly what was meant.
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Old 20th February 2019, 11:46 PM   #20
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I haven't had many time to read the proposed article in detail (Curry, Mullin & Whitehouse, 2017), but as some of the comments below suggest, I find it rather deficient.

1. It shows an unjustified ignorance or contempt for classical anthropology and sociology. The subjects they say are studied here for the first time have often been studied by social and philosophical anthropology from Rousseau to Geertz, through Malinowsky, Marvin Harris, Durkheim, etc., etc., etc.
2. The only relatively new thing is the seven-point limitation and its denomination as "Morality-as-Cooperation" (MAC). And I say relatively because the functionalist school of anthropology has already studied many of these aspects.
3. The difference between the current MAC approach and classical anthropology —apart from jargon— is that the latter has not only studied the seven cultural elements as cooperation, but also as a source of conflict, division and domination. These aspects are unreasonably overlooked by MAC
4. The categories used by MAC are abstract. What defines a social value system (morality) is that under the heading "family" very different forms enter, some more cohesive or more oppressive than others. For example: what differentiates some cultures from others is not the condemnation of theft, but the different conceptions of what the limits of personal property are. This type of diversity is ignored by MAC, to limit itself to cooperation issue.
5. As some of the commentators in the article emphasise, MAC does not analyse the internal conflicts between the different elements considered. Often the link with street groups replaces the family one, for example. It is ridiculous for the authors to claim that there is no morality that attacks family ties when they can find it in the gospels themselves.
6. MAC does not consider the relationships between cultures and their social base. Although it speaks of having analyzed 60 cultures, it does not make explicit what the differences between them are. For example, a patriarchal society will favour the values of family submission, while a society based on individual competition will favour the values of alternative (business) groups. In this sense, the absence of an analysis of the interrelationship between productive forms and the values of cooperation or competition-domination within groups is very striking.
7. Finally, MAC does not take into account the difference between social norms (morality) and moral norms (ethics). Moral norms, as different of social norms, appear within the conflicts that I have pointed out above, not as an impulse to conformity, but to dissidence or conscious and free choice. To say that in the 60 societies analyzed there is an impulse towards the conformity of social rules does not mean that this impulse is good in itself, nor that a dissident person or group cannot consciously opt for better norms that suppose the dissolution of family ties or the denial of hierarchies.

Therefore, to claim that this study is a milestone towards the formation of anthropologically founded moral consensuses seems to me to be an assertion that lacks any foundation.

These are some preliminary considerations, awaiting a deeper analysis.
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Old 20th February 2019, 11:58 PM   #21
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What about...

Quote:
Chastity,
Temperance,
Charity,
Diligence,
Patience,
Kindness &
Humility.
OR:

Quote:
1) Courage – bravery and valor

2) Temperance – self-control and restraint

3) Liberality – bigheartness, charity and generosity

4) Magnificence – radiance, joie de vivre

5) Pride – self-satisfaction

6) Honor – respect, reverence, admiration

7) Good Temper – equanimity, level headedness

8) Friendliness – conviviality and sociability

9) Truthfulness – straightforwardness, frankness and candor

10) Wit – sense of humor – meaninglessness and absurdity

11) Friendship – camaraderie and companionship

12) Justice – impartiality, evenhandedness and fairness
OR
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Old 21st February 2019, 01:13 AM   #22
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Quote:
Family values
- Group loyalty
- Reciprocity
- Bravery
- Respect
- Fairness
- Property rights
These all seem to be common traits among dogs, too. Even "property rights". LOL
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Old 21st February 2019, 03:52 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
These all seem to be common traits among dogs, too. Even "property rights". LOL
Dogs could teach some 'civilisations' a lot.
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Old 21st February 2019, 04:25 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Dogs could teach some 'civilisations' a lot.
Pretty sure our ancestors bred them to be better, more amplified versions of our own better nature. It's both surprising and not surprising to me that everywhere on earth humans have been, we've had doggos right there with us. From the north pole to the deserts of the middle east, even the most inhospitable places have had dogs and humans co-thriving together.
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Old 21st February 2019, 07:39 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
"Group Loyalty" has been and continues to be responsible for a lot of really bad stuff.
A few of you appear to confuse the list with a list of desirable morality. Example above. I doubt you could find a society where people generally were not loyal to their country or some other group. This is what they are saying. If this is good or bad or somethings good and at other times bad is another issue.
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Old 22nd February 2019, 09:57 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
A few of you appear to confuse the list with a list of desirable morality.
Indeed, the paper makes a little more sense without that errant assumption.
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