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the principle of practical or ideological orientation embracing the negation of moral bases and socially accepted norms of behavior in society; a nihilistic attitude toward all moral norms and principles.

In practice, amoralism either is connected with the moral underdevelopment of an individual or arises as the result of social contradictions leading to the degradation of entire strata of society and to the spiritual disintegration of personality. In theory, amoralism usually substitutes utilitarian, pragmatic, opportunistically political, aesthetic, or individualistic considerations of freedom, self-assertiveness, pleasure-seeking, personal advantage, and so forth, for moral criteria.

As a conscious moral stance, amoralism arises with the disintegration of primitive tribal relationships, the separation of morality from automatic customs and traditional norms of behavior, and the beginning of individual reflection on the established way of life. In ancient society when the breakup of traditional kinship foundations was sharply accelerated and the collisions between different customs and group norms became more frequent, amoralism was expressed in the acknowledgment of the complete relativity, conditionality, and pragmatism of every principle and moral norm and in a negative attitude toward the values of the society’s culture—for example, among the cynics and some sophists. With the further development of class antagonistic societies, amoralism becomes a widespread phenomenon because the official morality is often accompanied in fact by amoralism, and the opposition to this morality sometimes turns into a rejection of any morality whatsoever. During the Renaissance the amoralism of some ideologists of the young bourgeoisie and the feudal church (Machiavelli, the Jesuit Loyola, Liguori, Busembaum) meant that morality had to be completely subordinated to political aims for the sake of which any methods were justifiable (“the end justifies the means”). During the mid-19th century under the spiritual crisis of bourgeois culture F. Nietzsche developed so-called aesthetic immoralism; he declared the spontaneous life force to be the highest value not liable to the judgment of the “slave morality of the crowd,” which tried to level the personality and oppose the assertion of outstanding individuality.

In its most cynical and misanthropic form, amoralism appeared in the ideology and practice of fascism—for instance, the cult of the Führer, which freed his subjects from the “chimera of conscience.” In essence, any attempt to do away with the principles of morality common to all mankind—to declare that conscience, love for mankind, and respect for the individual are superstition—leads to amoralism.

In an antagonistic society the exploiting classes are not interested in observing moral principles, even when they are proclaimed by the official ideology, if these principles do not correspond to the narrow mercenary goals of class rule.


References in periodicals archive ?
Los espectadores amoral e indiferente-culpabilizado, por el contrario, correlacionan significativamente con atribuir a causas ajenas a si mismos sus exitos y fracasos, asi como a atribuirse a si mismos sus fracasos.
As part of his criticism of the shrine visits at a press conference in Beijing, Li cited an unidentified German official as having told him that Germans could not understand why Japan could keep doing such an amoral and stupid thing as visiting Yasukuni Shrine, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Prisa will pay roughly q265 million ($319 million) plus give Pais do Amoral and Berggruen a 24% stake in Prisa Intl.
The faithful will protest that they don't want to worship a bad--or amoral or indifferent--God, but obviously they already do.
The glorification of pimps, criminality, irresponsible sexual behavior, gun violence, and other destructive elements has become such big business that many young African Americans enthusiastically aspire to amoral, self-destructive, and avaricious lifestyles, while rejecting the very values necessary to establish a successful, productive, and rewarding life--education, hard work, and a personal commitment to excellence.
Attending to the disjunction between the Ragionamenti's amoral tales and their surrounding Neoplatonic discussions, she argues that Firenzuola was using Boccaccian narratives to challenge Bembo's program for a purely elevated language and literature and the selective reading of Boccaccio which supported it.
He's aggressive, amoral and ambitious and insists there's no such thing as lesbians or premature ejaculation.
Mosley is advocating the globalization of real freedom and democracy, which he distinguishes from amoral corporate capitalism.
Recently the well-known Polish writer Ryszard Kapuscinski argued that the West had built an amoral world, a world of entertainment and poverty.
Restrained by a mother hoping to curtail any behavior resembling that of an amoral father, Ada was force-fed science and mathematics.
The director didn't make the images up; they're there, but in putting that one slice of gay life into the massest of mass media--the amoral promiscuity, the drug and alcohol abuse, the stereotyped flamboyance and campiness, the bitchy queeniness and flimsy values--something very dangerous happens even above and beyond reinforcing right-wingers' negative feelings about homosexuals.
Of all the moments in the history of Breslau/Wroclaw, the Nazis' building of the airstrip during World War II stands alone in its unique perversity, demonstrating how amoral motives of self-preservation surpassed even the racist principles of the Third Reich.