Register to answer and stay on top of the questions and answers. Sign up to receive the daily digest!
Keep Me Updated!

one moment please...


Welcome to AskAHumanist.com! Anyone can ask questions, but please only answer questions if you are a humanist. For an introduction to Humanism, visit http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism. This is a service provided by the American Humanist Association.

Enroll in the Online Course Positive Humanism: A Quick Guide to Living the Good, Secular Life

Q&A Home Contact Form



Send me a copy of this message
Send Message sending message...

Q&A Home Question

0

votes

image loading...
Nitish Panda

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Nitish Panda


Eager Newbie

About Nitish Panda

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Fri, Aug 18, 2017 - 02:11 PM

How do humanists answer complex questions involving ethics and morality?

I understand that rationality,logic and sometimes science can be the best guide to choose the best moral choice in an issue. I want to know how a majority of humanists reach their stand on any particular issue?

I am eager to develop a humanist outlook. In the process of it, I have realised that not always will we be presented with a black and white moral scenario like same sex marriage. Sometimes, the lines between what is right and wrong might appear to be blurred, for instance, while its reasonable that a woman has her right to make abortion but what if the fetus has developed to such an extend that it can feel pain on abortion. I want to know how should humanists approach these issues with moral gray areas in them?



Quick Comment On This Question (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the question owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

3 Answers

0

votes

image loading...
Bo Bennett, PhD
Social Scientist

Seasoned Vet

image loading...

Bo Bennett, PhD

Social Scientist

Seasoned Vet

About Bo Bennett, PhD

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Fri, Aug 18, 2017 - 02:44 PM
It comes down to may factors such what facts we have, which we are missing, our ability to synthesize facts to come to a reasonable conclusion, our emotional involvement in the issue, and our base level of empathy, just to name a few. So assuming one has all the facts (or as least the relevant ones) and good reasoning ability, the last piece of the equation is emotion, which is where we (necessarily) leave the reasoning process. Assuming there is an objectively "right" moral choice (which I doubt), it is unknowable to us since we don't know the extent of the suffering and well-being our choice will have in the short and long-term.
Bo Bennett, PhD
Social Scientist, Business Consultant
About My Businesses > http://www.archieboy.com
About Me > http://www.bobennett.com
Books I’ve Written > https://tinyurl.com/bosbooks
Courses I Teach > https://tinyurl.com/boscourses
Podcasts I Host > https://tinyurl.com/bospodcasts


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

0

votes

image loading...
Chris Dunn

Seasoned Vet

image loading...

Chris Dunn


Seasoned Vet

About Chris Dunn

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Sat, Aug 19, 2017 - 05:55 PM
Standard Disclaimer: I am not technically a Humanist, but I am congruent to one in most ways.
Question: How do humanists answer complex questions involving ethics and morality?

The short answer: we do it the same way you do—what you’re really asking is ‘What are the foundations of our decision process?’ Theists have an obvious foundation—it is provided externally, by a preacher, rabbi, imam, what have you—or a sacred book (although the book is open to interpretation)—and that is where a theist starts from.

But, as you know, the process of making daily, individual decisions regarding ethics or morality merely begins there. The entire process is far more extensive and arduous—and a good person will spend a large part of his or her day deciding whether they are doing good or not.
Thus, we all make these decisions in the same way.

The long answer: The foundation of a non-theist’s ethics and morality rest on their own decisions—they have no book to guide them (although they are aware of the theist paradigm, which influences most of us in some way). Personally I find that logic provides an excellent foundation.

Axiom: I am not alone (or, I would die if I were, which comes to the same thing).
Axiom: I must be a part of society.
Axiom: Society works best with minimal conflict and maximum cooperation.
Axiom: Among our instincts is the urge to empathize—this makes us able to think as a member of a community.
And, voila! Any other questions?


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

0

votes

image loading...
Sue Parry
Retired!

Seasoned Vet

image loading...

Sue Parry

Retired!

Seasoned Vet

About Sue Parry

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Mon, Aug 28, 2017 - 10:12 AM
I don't think there's any one way. We factor in what we know about the situation, what our values are, and the likely outcomes of our actions on others. What we don't do is make moral decisions based on some arbitrary ancient teaching, or on the dictates of anyone who styles themselves a moral leader. We try to think for ourselves, though we're inevitably influenced by what we've been taught, for good or ill. We try not to just act on guilt about certain behaviors that's over-learned and left over from a religious upbringing.

We try not to make purely selfish decisions unless there's no downside for others. By which I mean, not only other people, but other living beings and the planet that supports us. What I find challenging is that, given the damage we're doing to our planet, the most ordinary actions - like getting in the car to drive to the grocery - can become ethical decisions. How much damage am I doing by engaging in this ordinary behavior? Is there a way I can do less harm and still accomplish what I need to? Combining errands into one trip becomes an ethical decision, not just one about saving money on gas. I think humanists, with a broader perspective on what is ethical, are in a good position to help elucidate some of these issues.


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

Registered User Comments



About Archieboy Holdings, LLC. Privacy Policy Contact
 Website Design and Software Copyright 2017, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.