Understanding Morality: Definitions and Concepts

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What is the primary function of morality in our daily lives?

To provide a survival script for individuals

What is the characteristic of morality that makes it applicable to all in a society?

It is independent from religion

What is the focus of moral theories in relation to morality?

Understanding the moral subscripts

What is the purpose of a moral script in a society?

To provide a guide for individual behavior

What is the characteristic of morality that makes it vary across different societies?

It is culturally and territorially based

What is the relation between morality and religion according to the text?

Morality is independent from religion

According to the morality system, what is the primary function of guilt?

To punish oneself for not meeting moral standards

What is the role of conscience in the morality system?

To provide an internal discomfort from self-mediated disappointment

Why do individuals judge themselves based on group standards?

Because human beings have no sure way of telling whether an action is good or bad based on their own standards

What is the cumulative effect of guilt?

Withdrawal and increased comfort with guilt

What is the primary purpose of the morality system?

To establish a system of self-regulation and self-judgment

Why do individuals hide their actions from both self and others when they feel guilty?

Because they feel ashamed of their actions

What is the Latin origin of the word 'conscience'?


What is the primary motivator of conscience according to the text?

Good feelings within us

How does conscience evolve over time?

It evolves as individuals grow and mature

What is the role of the intellect in conscience, according to Fr. Fagothey?

To form judgments about right and wrong

What is the primary difference between morality and religion?

Morality is based on human judgment, while religion is based on divine judgment

What is the definition of law, according to the text?

A set of rules and binding custom or practice recognized and enforced by a controlling authority

What is the primary purpose of both conventional law and natural law?

To protect life, liberty, and property

What is the main function of the penal code?

To prescribe punishments for unlawful acts

What is the goal of retribution in the penal code?

To punish the offender for the crime committed

Why is law needed for the safety of society?

Because of the need for earthly penalties

What is the purpose of declarative conventional law?

To simply restate what the natural law declares

What is the goal of rehabilitation in the penal code?

To correct the behavior of offenders and reintegrate them into society

What is the primary purpose of the penal code in relation to offenders?

To improve and rehabilitate offenders through counseling and education

What is the primary goal of the penal code in relation to the community?

To warn the community of the consequences of committing crimes

How does the penal code differ between criminal and civil cases?

Punishments in criminal cases involve the denial of individual rights, while in civil cases, they involve monetary damages

What is the ultimate goal of the penal code in maintaining society?

To maintain stability and security in society

What role do morality and the law serve in society?

To maintain stability and security in society

What is the relationship between the penal code and accountability in society?

The penal code provides a framework for accountability in society

Study Notes

Morality as a Survival Script

  • Morality is a set of rules that govern human behavior in matters of right and wrong.
  • It has three different definitions:
    • Descriptive definition: a set of rules that govern human behavior.
    • Normative and universal definition: an ideal code of conduct that would be observed by all rational people under specific conditions.

Morality and Society

  • Morality is territorial and culturally based.
  • We are bound to live within the society's guidelines as long as we live in that society.
  • Morality is a system that sets standards of virtuous conduct, enforces policy, and self-regulates through guilt.

Guilt and Conscience

  • Guilt is a result of self-judging and punishing oneself for not living up to the moral standards.
  • Guilt can be cumulative, leading to withdrawal and isolation.
  • Conscience is motivated by good feelings within us, such as pride, compassion, and empathy.
  • Conscience evolves as individuals grow, and our perception of evil evolves with age.

Morality and Religion

  • Conscience applies to three things: the intellect, the process of reasoning, and the judgment itself.
  • Religion, in contrast to morality, draws much from the divine.
  • Many religious belief systems include or are built around the idea of divine will and divine judgment.


  • Law is a set of rules and binding custom or practice recognized and enforced by a controlling authority.
  • Law is both an art and an instrument of power, aiming to create desirable outcomes.
  • Natural law has been used as the basis for some conventional laws.
  • There are two forms of conventional law: declarative and determinative.

Purpose of Law

  • The purpose of law is to protect life, liberty, and property of the group covered by these laws.
  • Law was needed for the following reasons:
    • The ignorant need instruction and control by the wise.
    • Earthly penalties are required for the safety of society.
    • Concerted action demands teamwork and leadership.
    • Society must meet changed conditions harmoniously.

The Penal Code

  • The penal code is a system of rules that prescribe punishments for unlawful acts.
  • The penal code has three main functions:
    • Retribution: paying back the victim for the crime committed.
    • Rehabilitation: correcting the behavior of offenders and reintegrating them into society.
    • Deterrence: preventing similar actions in the future by warning both the offender and the community.

Enforcement and Morality

  • Enforcement differs between criminal and civil cases.
  • The penal code is essential for maintaining law and order and ensuring accountability for actions within a society.
  • Morality and the law serve the purpose of maintaining stability and security in society.

Test your knowledge of morality and its different definitions. Explore how morality is understood and applied in day-to-day life, including descriptive and normative approaches. Assess your understanding of right and wrong and how morality has evolved over time.

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