is an absence of, indifference
towards, or disregard for morality
. Some simply refer to it as a case of not being moral or immoral. Amoral should not be confused with immoral
, which refers to an agent doing or thinking something they know or believe to be wrong
Morality and amorality in humans and animals is a subject of dispute among scientists and philosophers. If morality is intrinsic to humanity, then amoral human beings either do not exist or are only deficiently human. If morality is extrinsic to humanity, then amoral human beings can both exist and be fully human, and as such be amoral by default.
There is a position that claims amorality is just another form of morality or a concept that is close to it, citing the cases of moral naturalism
, moral constructivism
, moral relativism
, and moral fictionalism as varieties that resemble key aspects of amorality.
Any entity that is not sapient
may be considered categorically amoral. For example, a rock may be used (by rational agents) for good or bad purposes, but the rock itself is neither good nor bad. In ontological philosophy
, the ancient gnostic
concept that the material world was inherently evil
applied morality to existence itself and was a point of concern in early Christianity in the form of Docetism
, as it opposed the notion that creation is good, as stated in The Book of Genesis
. In modern science, however, the matter
of the universe is often observed amorally for objective purposes.
Animals have long been thought to be amoral entities. However, research into the evolution of morality
, including sociality
and altruism in animals
, has sparked new debate amongst many philosophers. Many animals display behavior that is analogous to human moral behavior, such as caring for the young, protecting kin, and sharing the spoils of the hunt. Generally speaking, if this behavior is a voluntary response to ethical norms, then animals do have morality. If animals are involuntarily following innate instinct, then they are amoral.
s to some, are thought to be amoral entities. This can refer to the "ethical numbness" of these organizations' executives and managers especially when approached from the view that corporations can be considered moral agents as well as a kind of legal person.