THE NOTION OF MORALITY
1.1 The Exact Definition of Morality
In making moral choices, the morality of one’s actions does not depend entirely on the sincerity of the intention or the evaluation of the motives, but it must be determined according to objective criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts. – Pope John Paul II to a medical-Moral Workshop, January 20, 1990.
Morality in the strictest sense of the word deals with that which is innately regarded as right or wrong. This notion of morality is a known system of principles and judgements shared by cultural, religious, and philosophical concepts and beliefs, by which humans’ subjectivity determines whether given actions are right or wrong. Through these concepts and beliefs, the society or group guides its members and regulate their behaviours. It can be descriptively referred to as a code of conduct put forward by a society, or some other group, such as a religion, or accepted by an individual for her own behaviour. Normatively, it refers to a code of conduct that would be put forward by all rational persons under specified conditions.
There are certain actions that all of us would condemn as morally wrong and ought not to be done by anybody. For example, armed robbery, embezzlement of public funds, bribery and corruption, neglect of one’s duties, dishonesty, and so on. On the other way, there are also certain actions, which are fidelity to one’s duties, respect for human life, hospitality, kindness, helping those in need honesty and so on.
Though according to Frederich Nietzsche, it is not good to refer some of the above-listed virtues as right or good rather they are evil and could be seen among inferior people. He said so in his explanation of master morality and slave morality. Equally, there are other kinds of actions above which opinions differ. Some say it is wrong while others consider it as right. For instance, such actions as abortion, contraception, euthanasia, masturbation and so on. The question of abortion is being morally permissible is a current issue in the United States.