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Common morality is, as the term suggests, the core set of moral principles and values that is believed in and adhered to by reflective human beings and communities. Accordingly, it is not identical with the actual moral principles and values in any given community. The latter can vary considerably from one community and one historical time period to another and is a matter for discovery by sociologists, anthropologists, and historians. Here, the notion of a core set is important; often, different communities share a core set of moral principles while differing markedly on peripheral (so to speak) ones. For example, killing innocent persons is regarded as morally wrong in most communities. The other differentiating notion is that of a reflective community. A reflective community in ...

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