How do we know what is right and wrong?

I believe that we know what is right or wrong based on our daily practices, beliefs, and culture. For example, eating pork is wrong according to Islam; thus, Muslims do not eat pork. However, this practice is acceptable to other people. This comes from the religious belief that is a part of the Muslim culture and influences their vision of the world. We have been told that something is wrong by our parents, who were also impacted by society and its social norms.

At the same time, murder and cannibalism might also be acceptable for some people across the globe because of their cultural beliefs. Sliwa states that moral understanding is driven by the ability to differentiate right from wrong, which comes from personal experience. If someone is sure that not harming others is right, they will also think that killing is wrong.

I think that people decide what is wrong and right according to their collective beliefs and values. The community in which a person lives has established a particular framework for determining the nature of specific actions and made it a universal belief. Today, we live in a modern world with a legal system that controls and regulates people to preserve order and peace.

However, the legal system was not the same decades or centuries ago. For example, in the 18th century, women could not vote and participate in elections. It seemed wrong for most people to let a woman be involved in politics. Now things have changed, and women can be politically active. In such a way, the concept of good and bad altered over time.

In the 18th century, society was highly patriarchal, limiting women’s rights. For this reason, not providing them with some benefits seemed right. It means that culture becomes the major determinant of the moral side of all actions. In such a way, the example shows that culture is the primary determinant of what is good and what is wrong and the ethical sides of people’s actions.

Moreover, beliefs about what is wrong and right come from existing societal experiences. For instance, playing with fire is wrong as it may lead to consequences such as burning everything around and numerous deaths. It can be assumed that people in the past discovered risks associated with using fire and introduced a set of rules to determine what actions can be good or wrong.

The past experiences of people living together have a critical role in determining what is acceptable and not in today’s world. It can be said that the division of actions as wrong and right is used to prevent people from causing harm to others and help them to integrate into the existing society.

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Academic.Tips. "How do we know what is right and wrong?" May 29, 2023.

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