Amorality

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For other uses, see Egoism (disambiguation).
This article is about the term associated with ethics. For the death metal band, see Amoral (band).


Amorality is the quality of having no concept of right or wrong.

However, "Amoral" must be distinguished from "immoral" in that amoral persons either do not possess ethical notions at all as a result of an unusual upbringing or inborn traits (see the so-called Antisocial personality disorder) or else do not subscribe to any moral code. This latter may in turn mean strong individualistic leanings that do not get codified into a universally applicable system. Someone may maintain that he will do as he likes and let others do the same, if they so desire, without turning this into a general principle as, for example, Kant's categorical imperative would require. Because whoever says so only expresses his personal preference or informs about the way he is going to act, the position is consistent. An amoralist might also make a stronger point that moral systems are arbitrary and unfounded on the whole, which is an epistemic or anthropological claim and not an ethical one. For this principled sort of amoralist, see Stirner and to a degree Marquis de Sade.

"Immoral" refers to a person or behavior that is self-consciously within the scope of morality but does not abide by its edicts. A thief will not deny that stealing is wrong, and not simply because he would not want others to steal from him, would not find it pleasant or convenient and so on, which is all an amoralist would say. The thief would quite agree that stealing is evil but inconsistently try to excuse his particular act and shoulder the blame onto others, say that he had no choice and so on. In ordinary talk, "amoral" and "immoral" are used interchangeably.

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