Only seven moral rules say Oxford anthropologists

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Poll: Which is the golden moral principle?
Help your family (6)
28.57%
Help your group (2)
9.52%
Return favours (2)
9.52%
Be brave (2)
9.52%
Defer to superiors (0)
0%
Divide resources fairly (3)
14.29%
Respect others’ property (2)
9.52%
Something else (4)
19.05%
Fullofsurprises
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#1
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#1
Oxford anthropologists have determined that there are only seven moral principles globally:
http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2019-02-11-...l-around-world

* help your family
* help your group
* return favours
* be brave
* defer to superiors
* divide resources fairly
* respect others’ property

Not sure this is true, but do you agree? If so, which is the greatest of these?

The research is apparently "the largest and most comprehensive cross-cultural survey of morals ever conducted."
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Fullofsurprises
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#2
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#2
Oh and for peeps really into anthro, here is the original paper.
https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/do...10.1086/701478
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yudothis
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#3
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#3
All of those have helped human societies prosper and grow.
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Obolinda
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#4
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#4
Treat others as they deserve to be treated.

(No, I'm joking. I can't think of any else tbf)
Last edited by Obolinda; 2 years ago
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Notoriety
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#5
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#5
Did you get this sent to your Ox email?
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Fullofsurprises
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Notoriety)
Did you get this sent to your Ox email?
Nope, saw it on a tweet.
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Fullofsurprises
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Obolinda)
Treat others as they deserve to be treated.

(No, I'm joking. I can't think of any else tbf)
it's a bit strange to me that this isn't even on the list and tbh I think the Golden Rule should be on there. I wonder if they've been misdirected in their research by studying what people say about morals as opposed to a deeper study of what the main religions and moral systems say about morals. This being anthropology, presumably the intention is a probe into tribal morality, a sort of description of everyday street ethics around the globe.
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ThomH97
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#8
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#8
There's no honesty or peace on there? You're supposed to return favours is, and to not steal/vandalise stuff, but the more widereaching ideas of peace and honesty aren't is strange. Especially as it's got bravery, even though you're often told as a kid to just run away if there's trouble.

I'd question as to how dividing resources fairly got on there too, unless 'fairly' was permitted to have whatever definition the respondee had in mind (capitalist fair, socialist fair or dependent on needs fair). Similarly how a 'superior' is defined.
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shadowdweller
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#9
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#9
I don't think 'defer to superiors' should be a moral rule, personally - superiority in that context does not mean correctness, at least in my view :dontknow:
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Fullofsurprises
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#10
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#10
(Original post by shadowdweller)
I don't think 'defer to superiors' should be a moral rule, personally - superiority in that context does not mean correctness, at least in my view :dontknow:
The trouble is, that might well be an honest social rule (or policy) for getting on in life, but I wouldn't call it by any stretch moral. The title of the study seems to be misguided. It's more like a study of the everyday guiding principles people use to their advantage, which isn't a moral framework at all.
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Rakas21
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#11
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Oxford anthropologists have determined that there are only seven moral principles globally:
http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2019-02-11-...l-around-world

* help your family
* help your group
* return favours
* be brave
* defer to superiors
* divide resources fairly
* respect others’ property

Not sure this is true, but do you agree? If so, which is the greatest of these?

The research is apparently "the largest and most comprehensive cross-cultural survey of morals ever conducted."
The first five are fine.

I think that while the last two are ethical, they are not really engrained at a base level in the same manner and would not include them on the list.

That’s not to say I disagree with them.
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Fullofsurprises
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Rakas21)
The first five are fine.

I think that while the last two are ethical, they are not really engrained at a base level in the same manner and would not include them on the list.

That’s not to say I disagree with them.
Although respect for property is said by many to transcend respect for life in the anglo-saxon legal codes. In the days of Alfred, a murder case could be resolved by payment from the murderer or his family to the friends and relatives of the deceased. Some of these things go back far enough that they are ingrained?
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Joleee
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#13
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#13
i voted for respect for property, but i took property to mean personal autonomy, private possessions and land. maybe i interpreted that too widely?

people are more afraid of losing what they have than gaining a benefit, so if you encroach on other people's property they will lose their sh*t. wars start over it. non encroachment then is the basis of keeping the peace, which is the basis of maintaining life imo. also, tbh i think we value protecting ourselves and our things more than we value helping others, as much as helping other sounds virtuous. most of us probably don't feel badly if we go a long time without helping someone, we probably don't think about it. but how many of us would be fine to not have a lock on our door.

re your murder payment reference, it used to be the same for rape as well. used to be if you raped a woman you would have to pay money to her husband or family (as opposed to her) because the virgin bride was a prize possession. just mentioning it.
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Wōden
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#14
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#14
(Original post by shadowdweller)
I don't think 'defer to superiors' should be a moral rule, personally - superiority in that context does not mean correctness, at least in my view :dontknow:
'Superior' can simply mean somebody who is more skilled in a particular field than you are. If you are a trainee doctor performing an operation and an experienced senior surgeon is instructing you, it's probably a very good idea to do exactly what they tell you. That's a form of deference to superiority that is essential to a functioning society.
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shadowdweller
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Wōden)
'Superior' can simply mean somebody who is more skilled in a particular field than you are. If you are a trainee doctor performing an operation and an experienced senior surgeon is instructing you, it's probably a very good idea to do exactly what they tell you. That's a form of deference to superiority that is essential to a functioning society.
The emphasis being on 'can', however - it could mean someone more skilled in a field, or it could just be someone who happens to rank higher. I don't deny that it is important to listen to superiors, but I don't think it should be a moral rule that we always follow - even in the example you pose, a trainee doctor could be correct over the experienced senior in a situation, however unlikely that may be.
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Kinyonga
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#16
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#16
I don't think these seven rules count as morals as such. The article says The research found, first, that these seven cooperative behaviours were always considered morally good. I hardly think that can be the case for #5, defer to your superiors. What if your superior is Hitler? Unless they're defining "superior" as morally superior, maybe.
Also I find that differentiating between "family" and "group", without specifying how large those two units are, is a bit strange. Does family extend to everyone who's related to you, even by marriage? And couldn't group extend to the whole of humanity, or the whole of life?
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Fullofsurprises
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#17
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#17
(Original post by shadowdweller)
The emphasis being on 'can', however - it could mean someone more skilled in a field, or it could just be someone who happens to rank higher. I don't deny that it is important to listen to superiors, but I don't think it should be a moral rule that we always follow - even in the example you pose, a trainee doctor could be correct over the experienced senior in a situation, however unlikely that may be.
This was a global survey and I suspect that the deference to superiors thing comes strongly from E. Asia where it is very embedded culturally to reverence the older person, the boss, etc. It would be interesting to see what the poll looked like if this was a Chinese or Japanese site - I suspect that value would be number #1, whereas on our poll it currently has no votes.
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Fullofsurprises
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Kinyonga)
I don't think these seven rules count as morals as such. The article says The research found, first, that these seven cooperative behaviours were always considered morally good. I hardly think that can be the case for #5, defer to your superiors. What if your superior is Hitler? Unless they're defining "superior" as morally superior, maybe.
Also I find that differentiating between "family" and "group", without specifying how large those two units are, is a bit strange. Does family extend to everyone who's related to you, even by marriage? And couldn't group extend to the whole of humanity, or the whole of life?
I find this tension between what is considered to be an ethic, or moral and what is considered to be a co-operative behaviour very intriguing. Some consider them to be the same thing, others not. There's a strong view now amongst evolutionary biologists that our principles are evolved co-operations that have been pro-survival, eg, that altruism for example continues to be widespread because it is strongly to our overall advantage, even though it seems odd in deterministic biological models. There are even examples in nature where animals of different species (and even plants) cooperate, which is something Dawkins would once have been very annoyed with as a fact.
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Retired_Messiah
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Does feel like they've conflated morals with just general rules people lived by to get through the day.
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Rabbit2
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Oxford anthropologists have determined that there are only seven moral principles globally:
http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2019-02-11-...l-around-world

* help your family
* help your group
* return favours
* be brave
* defer to superiors
* divide resources fairly
* respect others’ property

Not sure this is true, but do you agree? If so, which is the greatest of these?

The research is apparently "the largest and most comprehensive cross-cultural survey of morals ever conducted."
I would rank them roughly in the order in which they are listed. Cheers.
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