OverviewA moral system a particular set of ethical values which can be used to decide the rightness or wrongness of an act.
 Related Ideas
- A moral code is the practical expression of a moral system.
- moral systems: a list of existing moral systems (are there any which aren't just a list of rules?)
While it may be possible to debate the utility of various moral systems -- i.e. how well they succeed at minimizing harm -- in many situations such discussion may not be possible due to individuals who believe that their particular moral system is axiomatic, based on laws of nature which cannot be revised.
Given the existence of those situations, it may also be useful is to attempt to determine:
- meta-rules by which people with different moral systems can get along.
- where the basic differences lie between moral systems (e.g. if two people disagree about some immediate issue, such as "the death penalty", what are the basic irreducible principles upon which each person is basing their point of view?) towards the end of devising meta-rules (see above) which might work across those differences
 Value Dichotomies
Most moral systems weigh in somewhere between the two extremes for each of these, but the differences in opinion between one system and another are significant. The following principles may or may not be truly basic, but they at least are closer to being principles than they are opinions about specific issues.
- Human nature is essentially: good or evil (not quite the same as Hobbes vs. Rousseau; see below)
- Human nature comes from: genetics and other factors fixed at birth ("nature") vs. training and learning after birth ("nurture")
- Property rights: personal property is sacrosanct (propertarianism) vs. all property should be held in common
- Power: absolutism (Hobbes: "abuses of power by [legitimate] authority are to be accepted as the price of peace") vs. separation of powers and social contracts (Rousseau). This may be a restatement of Brin's question "To what degree should the state or party have to power to coerce cooperation?", or it may be subtly different.
 Related Articles
- Belief in a particular moral system is usually the basis (or a strong component) of an individual's agreement with a particular political ideology.