Can thoughts be immoral?

If someone thinks about performing an immoral act but does not act on those thoughts, is it still immoral? Example, thoughts relating to: abusing a child, self-abuse, stealing money from an employer, or getting drunk before an important test. Can the thoughts in your head be judged as immoral? Why? Why not? Note: this session presupposes that a proper morality is identifiable, and can be acted upon.

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  • Jonathan

    Good mental effort by everyone. We hit all the key issues on this subject and stayed focused. This was a good group.

    January 24, 2012

  • Robert C

    You are what you think!

    January 13, 2012

  • Jonathan

    "Much would seem to hinge on whether things that directly affect only oneself can be judged moral or immoral." A person alone on a deserted island, has no concern for morality? Finding food for myself, cannot be judged as moral or immoral. Why does this change when there is another person on the island? If I put food in someone else's mouth it is possibly moral, but putting food in my mouth is outside the scope of morality? Why?

    January 5, 2012

  • Cindy Fox

    Correct. The only question then is psychology. Does that reinforce those intentions or does that help alleviate them. Either way, it's someone's individual choice, but it's just nice to know what the effect might be.

    December 24, 2011

  • Jonathan

    So thoughts are outside the realm of moral judgement. Lets go with that. So when a person fantasizes about kidnapping and abusing a child, it is not immoral or immoral. Such a person has no reason to alter their thinking, Correct?

    December 24, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    I know what Act, Active and Acting mean too, but you question. To the main question, No. Moral or immoral is an act, not a thought. There are opposing thoughts in psychology whether acting out one's impulses in a virtual world will help relieve the pressure to do a behavior in the real world or reinforce the behavior and make it more likely. Either way, acting in a virtual world is no more immoral than thinking a thought, be it an action or not. Immorality can only occur when one is harmed.

    December 24, 2011

  • Jonathan

    PS, You didn't answer my question. "So thought is an active process?" You know what inactive means well enough to to answer "no". :oP

    December 24, 2011

  • Jonathan

    The question, "Can thoughts be immoral?" refers directly to the process of introspection. Nobody can perceive your thoughts but you. This subject skirts into psychology, as in: What are my motivations? What are my feeling telling me to do? Are they good? What should I do? What if I have a clash in values, and why? Is it moral to hold contradictions, or to evade the truth? Can refusing to think be immoral? Lots to talk about here.

    December 24, 2011

  • Jonathan

    All those things you mentioned are interconnected and need to be thought about. But due to time, we have to limit our focus on what is volitional. That would make for a good series of meetings building one upon the next, if someone wants to do it and people would attend them.

    December 24, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    So, no unconscious non-volitional thinking, like dreams?

    What about acts that hurt no one, like virtual killings, such as in video games? Would those be immoral?

    December 24, 2011

  • Jonathan

    The subject of feelings is an issue of psychology. We would have to switch subjects, identifying what is the source of emotions, and the nature of the subconscious. Here we are only talking about conscious, volitional thinking.

    December 24, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    So you are lumping thought and action (or acting), but excluding feeling?
    And since now you're using the word Active, you might want to help me here and clarify your interpretation and differences between active, actions and acting or else I will probably continue to use them interchangably. :)

    December 24, 2011

  • Jonathan

    [we have to hold feelings aside for now, as the source of feelings is a separate issue]

    December 23, 2011

  • Jonathan

    So thought is an active process?

    December 23, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    No. But neither are feelings.

    December 23, 2011

  • Jonathan

    So thought is an inactive process?

    December 23, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    An action is not a thought.
    Acting is not thinking.

    They may be related but they are also not the same thing.

    December 23, 2011

  • Jonathan

    You are using "action" and "acting" interchangeably when they are not the same thing.

    December 23, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    Actually it does. The difference between "not doing nothing" and an action can be feeling or thinking. Is feeling the same as thinking and is thinking the same as acting? They appear to be three different things, so while you keep calling thinking an action, I do not.

    December 23, 2011

  • Jonathan

    Cindy, your last post is all true. But it does not answer my question.

    December 23, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    I have feelings, thoughts and actions. They are not interchangeable.

    I can feel angry, think calm thoughts and act happy all at the same time.

    December 23, 2011

  • Jonathan

    And the difference between "not doing nothing" and an action, is what?

    December 23, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    When I'm thinking, I'm not doing nothing, but I'm also not acting. Just as when I'm feeling, I'm not thinking and I'm not acting. Unless I choose to.

    December 22, 2011

  • Jonathan

    Hehe, we might have to save this for the meeting.

    December 22, 2011

  • Jonathan

    So when you are thinking you are doing nothing?

    December 22, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    You said, "Thought is not an action?"

    No. It's not.

    So, then I guess the answer is thoughts can't be immoral if the definition is specifically related to action. Or the question is your "Are Thoughts Actions"?

    December 22, 2011

  • Jonathan

    Action: 1. The state or process of acting or doing.

    December 22, 2011

  • Jonathan

    Behave (transitive verb.) 1. : to manage the actions of (oneself) in a particular way.

    December 22, 2011

  • Jonathan

    Conduct:The manner in which a person behaves, esp. on a particular occasion or in a particular context.

    December 22, 2011

  • Jonathan

    Morality: 2. normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

    December 22, 2011

  • Jonathan

    The Definition of Morality http://plato.stanford.edu/entri...­

    December 22, 2011

  • Jonathan

    Thought is not an action? :-)

    December 22, 2011

  • Cindy Fox

    Morality. As I understand it, it refers to conduct, which by necessity seems to be by action, not thought.

    December 20, 2011

  • Jonathan

    What would you like defined Cindy?

    December 20, 2011

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