Journey from Relationship Dynamics to Universal Moral Law

Journey from Relationship Dynamics to Universal Moral Law

“Ethics is drawing the line in the right place between what we have the right to do and what is right for us to do…” said Potter Stewart. This is exactly what we call ethics. Unfortunately, not everything related to ethics draws this line. Although definitions are important in philosophy and life, we can’t even agree on what ground we should find when it comes to personal issues such as ethics.

There are people of any viewpoint on moral philosophy. There are those who impose a direct moral law like Kant, there are those who make decisions according to the situation like utilitarians, and there are even those who leave all ethical understanding to individuals like existentialists. You actually see the problem. We are people who have not yet figured out where to erect this ethical building. We do not know what material we will use, the number of floors, or the shape of the building. Let’s say that a different sound comes out of each head. There is only one thing we agree on: the purpose of the building.

Ethics Building

In our upcoming articles, we would like to introduce you to the heads where all these voices come from, but for now, let’s just talk about the problems of this building. Let’s start with the first question, why is ethics necessary?

I would like to answer this question like this, we all have certain expectations from what we see during the day, don’t we? For example, there are rules that both of you follow, even without discussing them with your partner. Neither party cheats on the other with another person, or rather, does not create an additional relationship with this type. If this condition is broken even by one partner, the end of the relationship will be separation.

Let’s reinforce it with a different example. Let’s consider two roommates. While these people share the same house, they have made certain divisions of work and respect each other’s space. However, when one of them does not pay the rent or does not do their job, this relationship suffers and as a result, someone leaves the house.

In other words, what we call ethics or morality is the whole of understanding that protects relationships. But does not another question arise here? Do all “relationships” have the same rules?

Building Image

Relativity in Relationships

For example, in every relationship, does one party’s deception of the other cause separation? No, of course. What actually happens is this. Each person has their own lines and rules. Their expectations from the other person, their own perception of value, and their way of life are different. So there will always be a difference in relationships where at least two people face each other. There will be different judgments and choices than the moral judgments generally accepted by society or the world.

So in short; Mother-child, husband-wife, partner, or friendship, relationships all have different dynamics. Just thinking about your friends is enough. When talking to some of our friends, we do not use certain words and restrict ourselves. But next to some, we do not pay attention to the choice of words, we speak more comfortably. This is because you know what will annoy each of your friends. In fact, your relationship with all of them is the same. They are all your “friends”, but you have a different moral understanding toward each of them.


Building Problems

Now back to the building example, then there is no single right material or one right place to make this building, right? The place chosen by some will not be liked by the other, the place chosen by the other will be found problematic by someone else, and this cycle will continue wherever people are. The problem here is not just that two people have opposing moral views. Even people who seem to have the same moral view will have disagreements in the construction of the building. For example, they will agree on the place where it will be made and will have problems with the items to be used in it. In other words, they can agree in three to four stages at the most, and then this union will be broken.

So my question to you is this: Can there really be a basic moral order that will encompass the whole world and its people?

Draw Image

A Universal Moral System

I suggest you reconsider before saying that it might happen. When you think that all people will agree, think of people you never get along with. Think criminals, think politicians and even think of your closest ones. Does your every opinion really agree with the majority of society?

I can hear you say: “Brother, you say it well, but then how should we live?” There are very good answers to this in the history of philosophy and we will examine them together in our other articles. But at the end of the day, this decision will be yours, dear reader. Because morality is not a law. The laws are enacted by the authorities in accordance with the use and are imposed on you as a citizen of the state in which you decided to live in. The same is not true when it comes to the issue of morality, which is not social and universal. But I ask you, don’t you think it’s better this way?

Would you really want someone else to determine how you sit, how you talk, how you should act in each of your relationships, and every move that makes your life special? Is it better to have only one way of talking to everyone’s friends? For example, would it be more comfortable and free for you to live in a moral code that prohibits blasphemy? Or is it better to have someone to mark your every move?

ordering image

The answer to all of these questions is entirely your own and there is no right or wrong. However, I don’t think that we will be able to make this sentence if these moral laws are really regulated. In short, talking about the construction of that building is a debate that should always continue, but a building that will satisfy even the majority can never be built.

References and Further Readings

Researchers from Sandiego University. (n.d.). Morality and Moral Theories.

Researchers from the Mesa Community College. (n.d.). Ethics: How do I know what is right and wrong? Introduction to Ethics.

Sloan, M. (2018, June 8). Is there a universal morality? This View Of Life.

University, S. C. (n.d.). Ethical Relativism. Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

You can access the sources of the images used by clicking on the images.

The proofreading has been done by Asu Pelin Akköse and Mete Esencan.

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Tufan Özdemir

Hello there! I'm Tufan Özdemir. I am a philosophy student at METU. Philosophy has been a big part of my life and my life. For this reason, most of my articles on this site are on philosophy.

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