“No morality can be founded on authority,
even if the authority were divine.”
– A.J. Ayer
Ethics is very hard to define. The view of what is right and wrong differ from person to person. It depends on the environment one grows up in, the influence from friends, religion/atheism, parents, living situation and a lot more. There is no universal ethical law which fits everybody. There are general ethical rules applied by countries, called laws, to keep order in society and try to benefit everybody as much as possible. This laws are never perfect.They try to strive for what Jeremy Bentham once said:
“The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation.”
There are always objections to some laws and they never cover all the possible situations. General ethical rules are also applied by the religions. Some rules seem obvious at first thought but might not work in specific situations, for example one of the most common rules used is “thou shall not kill” but even though this law seems obvious there are situations where people are in such pain that they would rather be killed then to continue being tormented under the pain. Everybody needs their own ethics to follow and this shall come from ones heart, through experience. One shall do what one feels like but with respect to other people and their feelings.
I conclude this with Alfred North Whitehead‘s words:
“What is morality in any given time or place?
It is what the majority then and there happen to like,
and immorality is what they dislike.”
[photo cred: rememberthrough, CC-BY-NC-SA]