If morality is subjective than looking at the world from a universal perspective,

then wouldn't stealing a paperclip from the office be just as universally reprehensible as rape?

How can you tell me that your morals are the right ones? So if another country votes and says stealing paperclips deserves a life sentence, and rape is ignored that's fine because they have different beliefs?


Most Helpful Girl

  • it is subjective but there's a globalized world order, we are connected and can influence. also if people are suffering, generally people will consider that to be a problem. it doesn't mean there's some ingrained supernatural morality code. it simply means that as human beings we are empathetic and we can imagine what injustices put on ourselves would be horrible for others as well, when it comes to violations of personhood, murder, etc. and movements spread in a globalized world where we are connected. injustices happening to people are made known and governments with the ability to put pressure on other places do, for the benefit of the people.

    empathy on issues like rape, murder, battery, etc. is a bit different from stealing paperclips. the magnitude and intensity of suffering are different and will affect people different all over. stealing property is not the same as physical violation against ones own will. property can be replaced. the physical and psychological damage done to someone cannot be reversed and threatens their health and well being. following that logic, it makes sense to spend more time protecting and punishing one over the other. this isn't even necessarily moral, its a logical process to deciding what should be the focus of the government. if the government outlines its purpose as the public good, then this is the correct course of action. in the government makes no intention of protecting the people and doesn't give a sh*t about people, then it has no reason to consider rape a serious issue.

    the point that it is subjective is this - some people don't give a sh*t about rape and they would absolutely say that the government should play no role in protecting people from rape or punishing rapists - they may argue that this is a social issue that can be solved without government intervention. which is bullsh*t, but its a world view that people have. we aren't programmed to agree.

    to your specific questions. did you make a typo? if morality is subjective then NO, stealing a paper clip wouldn't be as universally reprehensible as rape. and its not. lol did you mean "objective" instead?

    a country deciding that something is fine doesn't at all make it okay for the rest of the world. if that were the case then nazi germany would have been okay. well, actually...nvm I won't go there. however, you will find, if you study politics and such, that even countries that claim to be morally upright will support oppressors in other countries or ignore horrible atrocities in those places (and even in their own countries) for political strategy and profit. its the way of the world.


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What Girls Said 3

  • It is subjective - but subjective philosophies also have to have some type of logic to be acceptable.

    Like God is a subjective philosophy - but there are a lot of people who don't accept it for lack of logic.

    So stealing a paperclip is still morally wrong, since it is stealing - however, logically, the weight of stealing a cheap paperclip as compared to brutally sexually assaulting another person - don't balance out.

    That's the logic. Logically, stealing a paper clip isn't nearly as terrible as rape, and that's why you see the difference in severity there.

    Morals have a hierarchy in severity based off of that type of logic being applied to them.

    To create those subjective philosophies and have them accepted as one being worse than the other, the said logic must be applied.

    What makes stealing a paperclip so bad?

    1.) It's not yours, even taking something small is still in theory taking something.

    What makes rape so bad?

    1.) Violating someone else against their will

    2.) Causing severe harm physically and psychologically ( even death,)

    3.) Psychological trauma always results for years after the assault

    Simply comparing the act of the two of them shows a clear imbalance in severity - and that's why rape is so much more reprehensible than stealing a paper clip.

    That's how we make most our laws and credible beliefs - can't just say this is how it should be without some type of logic behind it.

    In countries in which women have little rights - the beliefs can provide the logic - say they believe men get extra glory for sexually violating women and men get to heaven or whatever faster that way - then that would be there logic.

    However, that logic stems from an illogical belief - and you can see why that causes issues.

    Just like how the white supremacist believed blacks were less then, and not human, and therefore killing them was 100% okay.

    Logic stemming from an illogical belief and it causes issues.

    • The Germans had logic in slaughtering Jews and there was logic in slavery too.

      What makes your form of logic better than those beliefs?

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    • "Do you understand what science is? It's nothing more than deciphering the OBJECTIVE realities of the world we live in,"

      here's the definition of deciphering.

      "Succeed in understanding, interpreting, or identifying (something)." Google it.

      If Science got everything right every time they interpreted something the world would have never been thought of as flat.

      Nor would many other numerous theories that are constantly proven scientifically false.

    • I know what you're trying to say, but you're doing a horrible job of it. I actually believe in the probable existence of an objective reality. However its not something anyone can ever successfully convince anyone that it exists with 100% certainty. You seem to think an objective reality exists with 100% certainty. I believe its only most probable.

      But this has grown from one red herring to another.

      im going to end this.

  • Morals ARE subjective. This is why religious people don't all agree on their own foundational beliefs and also why they dislike other religions. People could easily disagree and make paper clip theft mean more than rape or murder, but since people generally agree by region due to being raised in similar ways. It worked before travel became a major part of human life. Since it is, you've got people trying to change others and push their beliefs on others. That's the unfortunate part, really.

  • Sounds like an argument for a freshman philosophy course. Yes, morality is subjective and punishment is subjective. It is up to established principles.(based on cultural or personal norms to) to dictate what behavior is and is nor acceptable. Society has made the determination that rape is much more reprehensible than paper clip thieving.

    • So just because a majority voted on something and makes it a law and you agree with that law its therefore moral?

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    • No pain defined as what people do NOT enjoy. Masochists do not enjoy "pain" Their version of pain is different, everyone has their own views of what is painful.

      So yes its universal. No one enjoys "discomfort".

      Just because someone cuts themselves for the rush does not mean they also enjoy being hit in the face with a frying pan for 20 minutes straight. It doesn't work that way.

    • Yes anything can be reasoned out. No one enjoys their version of discomfort, and everyone has a different opinion of what that is. So, yes, a frying-pan-face-smashing global event would be painful and unpleasant for even the masochists. And that has virtually nothing to do with morality, only individual perspectives.

What Guys Said 1

  • First of all, moral theory is very different from legal systems. Legislating morality almost never works because it is so subjective. (Religion, abortion, civil rights, drug laws, etc.)

    Petty theft of a paper clip and rape are logically nowhere near each other. The consequentialist would say that one has lost a paper clip, a minor violation, whereas the other has had their person violated therefore the crimes are very different in nature. A Kantian might say, it's OK to steal a paper clip, because I may need to steal a paper clip in the future, and if I do, I don't want that action to be immoral. Therefore, I won't consider it immoral for others to do. (Take a penny, leave a penny, if you will.)

    As for beliefs, I think you'll find that most legal systems are more or less comparable with the exception of some hardline religious societies (which I consider immoral in the first place.). The punishments may vary fairly drastically, but that's expectable when dealing with different cultures, to a certain extent. A life sentence for stealing a paper clip is not morally acceptable, but it could be made legally acceptable.

    Which brings me back to my original argument. Morals and laws have very little to do with each other.