Inquiry Research Round #1- “Does Law Affect Morality”
My inquiry question here is on Whether Law affects our morality. My first round of research is: What is the law and what is morality.
SO, what is the law? Before we look into how the law is interpreted and the role it plays on society, we should clearly interpret what we mean when we say “law”. What is Law? Why does it exist and how is it defined? (1)
Law is something that touches us on a daily basis. It applies to everyone equally and dictates our lives on what we can and cannot do. It is used to settle conflicts, to correct and to govern. There are laws that are widely accepted and laws which bring controversies. Law plays a central role in our social, political and economic life. It is a set of rules created by the state institution. it is recognized by the state and enforced by state-authorized bodies. Let’s break it down into 3 key points of the critical factors in law-making (1)
- only certain institutions can make law
- the institutions that make law have been given the authority to do so
- the sanctions are imposed by those given state authority to do so.
The term “morality” can be used in two situations: (2)
- referring to certain codes of conduct set by society or a group/ religion or individuals and their own acceptable behaviour
- referring to a code of conduct that would be put forward by all rational people.
Morality is from the Latin word “moralitas” which literally means manner, proper behaviour and character. It can be a body of standards or principles obtained from a specific person’s belief on what should be right or wrong. It can be precisely synonymous with “goodness” or “rightness”. (3)
Law Vs Morality:
- law is enforced by the state whereas morality is followed by institutions. If one disobeys or violates the law they are to be punished by the state. if one fails to observe the doubts of morality, they are more likely to be socially boycotted than punished. (4)
- Morality concerns both external and internal affairs of one where law only concerns our external affairs. Law punishes one who violates laws with external actions. Law does not punish one for telling a lie or mentally abusing others. (1)
- Law can be seen similar to morality in the sense of those virtues that are related to the common good. The law is to maximize benefits and minimize harm to its subjects. In a way that could be seen as aligning with utilitarian moral principles. (4)
- Moral obligations are imposed on the law. People feel the need to follow the law because the law reflects morality in a lot of ways. (4)
1) Week 1: What is law? (1999-2020). Retrieved November 12, 2020, from https://qbi.uq.edu.au/brain-basics/memory/where-are-memories-stored
2) The Definition of Morality (Apr 17, 2002). Retrieved November 12, from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/
3) Morality, Retrieved November 12, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality
4) What are the similarity and difference between law and morality, (2018), Retrieved November 12, 2020, from https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-similarities-between-law-and-morality