Morality is a concept of ethics . In philosophical parlance, it means the conformity of thinking and acting with the moral law based on a free decision. What is meant is a "law" that is independent of positive laws and conventions, is viewed as objectively existing and timeless, and which is viewed in some philosophical teachings as part of a binding order of nature or being. In this sense, morality means the orientation towards norms such as the good or the just .
General use of the term
Morality in the general sense of the word should, from the point of view of its proponents, set limits to egoism and promote socially desirable behavior. Critics of the prevailing morality in a society, on the other hand, argue that it is a matter of trying to protect the privileges of certain sections of the population by imposing ideologies of justification on other members of society. Like all social phenomena, the state of affairs meant by morality is constantly changing .
In some cases, an “official” morality is repressively established by social decision-makers and curtails or deforms the values of an entire social group, e. B. the moral catalog for women in fundamentalist communities of all faiths.
In societies traditionally dominated by men, women are always expected to be more morally (especially sexual). Male offenses against morality (e.g. bribery or cheating) are punished more mildly than offenses by women. In the social order, women are more responsible for the general functioning of all basic everyday processes, which in turn are heavily dependent on adherence to the moral canon. The religiously based concept of morality includes demands for chastity and marital fidelity , honesty and piety .
Legal use of terms
In the penal code of the Federal Republic of Germany until 1973, under the term "criminal offenses against morality", sexual offenses were listed, both sexual violence and abuse, as well as offenses with which sexuality should be restricted to a narrow, social framework, primarily to marital cohabitation. In 1973 this section was renamed "Offenses against sexual self-determination "; This period also includes the repeal or relaxation of purely normative criminal laws, e.g. against homosexuality and pimping ( major reform of criminal law )
In 1952, in the Remer trial , public prosecutor Fritz Bauer emphasized that a sworn commitment to unconditional obedience to a person was immoral and also illegal and therefore invalid under Nazi law. He also emphasized: "An injustice state that commits tens of thousands of murders every day entitles everyone to self-defense ." The verdict in this process rehabilitated the assassins of July 20 .
- Roberto Finelli: Morality. In: Hans Jörg Sandkühler (Ed.): Encyclopedia Philosophy. Volume 3, Meiner, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-7873-1999-2 , pp. 2473-2476.
- Wolfgang Kersting : Morality; Ethics. In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy . Volume 9, Schwabe, Basel 1995, Col. 907-923.