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Old 03-24-2011, 01:58 PM
 
13,569 posts, read 14,848,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silkycoleman View Post
So if we agree that the teenager who expresses empathy for others is more "moral" than the teenager who doesn't drink, have sex, or use drugs, why do we put so much emphasis on teaching children about the latter issues but not the former? Obviously, children need to be educated about the dangers and risks that come with sex, drugs, and alcohol. Yet we push the values of abstinence more than the values of kindness, empathy, and being a well rounded person (and sex, drugs, and alcohol all have the potential to inhibit one from being a well-rounded and empathetic person). One issue that comes to mind when I think of this is bullying. Many schools have instituted a zero tolerance policy on bullying, but is zero tolerance really teaching children anything about why it is wrong to bully?
Well the question would then become, can you teach morality? Can you make an immoral person moral?

I would venture that the answer is no, hence why we have laws and punishments that are generally based around immoral acts. For some people, they wouldn't steal or injure another regardless of laws. Others require defined consequences and punishments to cajole them to act in a moral way.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Denver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Well the question would then become, can you teach morality? Can you make an immoral person moral?

I would venture that the answer is no, hence why we have laws and punishments that are generally based around immoral acts. For some people, they wouldn't steal or injure another regardless of laws. Others require defined consequences and punishments to cajole them to act in a moral way.
I think morality is generally "taught" in different ways.

What we cannot do is legislate morality. That is what Congress seems to think the answer is.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:39 PM
 
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My definition of morality may be different from others here.

I believe that morality involves trying to come up with fair solutions to problems. Children begin by avoiding punishment, but they soon find that this is not enough to provide them with a standard of right and wrong. Morality and ethics are not a bunch of virtues to be learned, but a struggle to apply standards of right and wrong in ways that result in fair results for the human community (and sometimes the animal community as well).

I agree that morality cannot be legislated. It is based on caring for others. Morality is also based on choice. You must choose the action that is moral in the context of your life and the dilemmas you face.

As to whether teens these days are more or less moral than their agemates from other times is hard to say. There are few stories of our teenage heroes, but there are some out there.

Teen Hero Uses Body To Shield 6 Year Old From Bullets

Southern tier teenager hailed as hero

Washington Township teen grew hair for image, cut it for charity

Teen heroes pull man from inferno
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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I think teens in some ways are more moral than they were 30-40 years ago. Drug and alcohol usage is lower than it was then and sexual activity among has fallen 15% since 1990. Teenage pregnancies are on the drop again too. But today's teenagers seem more likely to curse and are less respectful of authority (I think).
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Old 03-26-2011, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silkycoleman View Post
I am a graduate student who is working on a presentation for class. Posting to this forum is actually part of the assignment. I am not trying to cheat my way around researching for a paper, or any such thing. And I have read nearly all of the philosophers you listed. I just wanted to post a question more interesting than, "What's up with bullying?"
You offer conflicting motivations: working on a presentation for class, or taking it upon yourself to improve the lives, minds, and idle hours of a bunch of stodgy, unimaginative parents. Neither is particularly attractive, and most people, "invisible" or not, do not appreciate being made a project.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:06 AM
 
Location: I'm around here someplace :)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silkycoleman View Post
Kohlberg's theory of moral development states that people evolve through 3 levels of moral development. The first stage is conventional role conformity, where moral thinking is ruled by punishments and rewards. The second level is role conformity, where morality is guided by external social expectations and authority figures. The third stage is self accepted moral principles, where people begin to act according to the common good, regardless if it conflicts with established rules and values. If this is true, are we teaching our kids to be less moral through rewarding good behavior (as in if one gets good grades they can get a good job which will provide them with material goods) and enforcing punitive policies for bad behavior (such as zero tolerance policies for kids who are caught at school with drugs)? Could we be raising our kids in a society which enforces policies that stunt teenagers' moral development? Are we not teaching them to think about right versus wrong, and to develop their own internalized values?
actually I disagree with the "theory" entirely... if the first stage consists of rewards/punishments, it blocks development of conscience... think of those who go through their entire lives living in that "stage"...
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:11 AM
 
Location: Unknown. Where am I? Am I lost?
5,384 posts, read 2,867,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Well the question would then become, can you teach morality? Can you make an immoral person moral?

I would venture that the answer is no, hence why we have laws and punishments that are generally based around immoral acts. For some people, they wouldn't steal or injure another regardless of laws. Others require defined consequences and punishments to cajole them to act in a moral way.
I don't think you can teach morality either.
I think morality is like a mental thing, if you lack morality its almost the same as having a mental illness.

I believe people are born with their morality disposition and outside influences play SOME part in how moral people are, which is why kids don't have the same morality as their parents but they still have morals.
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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I think that morality can be taught to a certain degree. As children, parents instill the difference between right and wrong. At times, we all do things others would consider as immoral, but this does not make us entirely immoral. Also, the reasons people commit immoral acts are not always because they lack morals. For example, stealing to feed your family. Perhaps its not the most moral act, but the intention behind can be. I do think it is a black and white issue- you are not entirely moral or entirely immoral.
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Old 03-30-2011, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Bay Area
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We subscribe to no religion in my household, daughter has been to one or two churches in her life for a wedding, and 1 or 2 temple services. And she is a teenager. However, she is very strong in her morals and values, and has often not done what others do because it is not right. Several times in grade school, everyone was misbehaving and got in big trouble except she was allowed to leave since she was the only one who followed the rules. Fast forward to teenager, she still often walks her own path and does not join others when they do what she considers the 'wrong' thing. She says she looks inside herself for the answer and is not influenced by outside motivators. By looking within one can see clearly what the moral thing that most clearly mimics the hearts ambition and follow that course.
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