Moral value

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Moral values are things held to be right or wrong or desirable or undesirable. While morality is sometimes described as 'innate' in humans, the scientific view is that a capacity for morality is genetically determined in us, but the set of moral values is acquired, through example, teaching, and imprinting from parents and society. Different cultures have very different moral value systems. Moral values, along with traditions, laws, behaviour patterns, and beliefs, are the defining features of a culture.

Nationalists believe that a society needs one culture to hold it together, and that 'multiculturalism' is not desirable as it tends to lead to conflict.

In Evolutionary psychology, moral values are seen as part of cultural evolution. They reduce conflict within the group and make reciprocal altruism possible. They are one mechanism by which the 'Tragedy of the commons', in which selfish individuals spoil things for everyone by taking more than their fair share, might be prevented.

Moral values are enforced by peer pressure, conscience, disapproval, shunning, and only in some instances by law. They were effective in small communities before laws were formalised. They can also be sustained by the concept of 'status', a concept which has many different meanings in different societies. There is today significant disagreement over what role status plays in contemporary society and of what it actually consists.

[edit] Political application

The term "moral values" was brought to public attention and acquired significance as a political slogan when pollsters included it for the first time in U.S. presidential exit polls. Many voters who voted for George W. Bush reportedly cited "moral values" as their reason for voting for Bush instead of John Kerry. However, exit polls indicated that National Security and Iraq were more important than moral values in 2004.

[edit] See also

Moral value

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