What do you consider are the fundamental, baseline moral values?What do you consider are the fundamental, baseline moral values that dictate appropriate behavior in someone's life?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two answers so far have wisely and subtlely suggested that moral values will always be defined either situationally or relatively (relative to a paradigm, perspective, or philosophy, etc.).  

To extrapolate just one step, these answers suggest that though we can internalize ideas of "good and bad", we can follow a moral dictums universally only if those dictums are flexible. 

The Golden Rule is, in a way absolute, but is, importantly, also adaptable to almost any situation. (It's a morality of empathy, wherein "right" behavior is dictated by a primary understanding that the Other is a subjective entity with rights and feelings in all cases.) And that makes sense to me.


Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Simply put, morals are the judgements we make about right or wrong, good or bad choices we make (this is different from ethics). Simply put, values are the criteria we use for making those decisions. A hypothetical question to explain moral values might be: Is this a right decision and based on what is it good? Based on feelings ("If it feels right, do it"); based on religion (Is this right in the eyes of my church?); based on philosophical grounds (Is this right for the common good?); based on what? It seems that moral values based on the highest religious and philosophical principles form the fundamental baseline to dictate appropriate behavior.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For those who believe in the Bible, the Ten Commandments serve as the fundaments for moral conduct. These commandments have long been considered as NOT subjective or relative; therefore, they provide a solid paradigm for individuals. 

Indeed, it is important that a person have an objective correlative in his/her life as it provides a certain stability that all humans need.  In these contemporary times, the chaos caused by situational ethics, subjective "truth" and "spins" on what has happened are glaring evidence of the problems that arise when there are not absolute values by which a person lives and with which a culture agrees.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Morals, as post #3 points out, are about what is right and what is wrong. Unfortunately, not all people have the same morals. That said, some who agree about the rightness of one thing may be firmly opposed based upon another's ideas about rightness.

Essentially, morals are instilled in children from the earliest moments of their lives. Children are coddled and cared for, reprimanded and watched, and learn from direct teaching and mistakes. Based upon my own history, the fundamental moral values are respect and treating others as one desires to be treated ("The Golden Rule").

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To me, the fundamental value is to treat people the way you want to be treated.  This is something we supposedly learn when we are young, but it is much easier said than done.  If more people used this yardstick, there’d be fewer conflicts in the world.

discussion1984 | Student

Don't be bad, be good.