Eff's Rambles (Archive)

4/23/2005

Acting morally. (For any readers of this blog interested in updates, please click this title for the new url)

I realize this issue is complicated for many; that there are arguable exceptions, so much so that universal models are impossible, but for many others, morality is clearly understood, not opaque.

I am not sure I will hold this opinion, but a moment in an argument I was having with someone brought to mind an answer that, for now, I can accept. It is simple, surely unoriginal, and might not be worth much time, but here it is:

To determine what is morally good, empathize or sympathize with those that could be effected or affected by your behavior, and, if the either is negative, determine if the benefit that could come from your behavior outwieghs the negative.

Theere are other factors, of course, such as what determines an overriding benefit. I would answer necessity, but necessity varies largely on what alternatives one has faith in; sees as viable.

2 Comments:

  • Morality is such a subjective term. What I consider good or bad behaviour may be totally different from what you consider good or bad. You can also justify any behaviour depending on the situation. Just because you can empathise with a person doesn't mean you SHOULD empathise with them.

    Sure, I feel bad that gypsies send their children out to beg but is it morally correct to encourage parents to neglect their children by continuing to give them money? Morally, it seems like a good thing to do. Logically, it isn't.

    By Blogger The SeaWitch, at 4/26/2005 05:33:00 PM  

  • True, it is subjective, but I was thinking less about what is objectively moral than about the intent to conduct oneself in a moral manner with regards to the treatment of others. Being subjective, as you and many others say morality is, there is often the potential for unintended consequence. Acting acceptably morally to everyone is impossible, but could a person not use some guideline in an attempt at treating a few people as well as he can?

    When, where and to what extent empathy is relevant depends on whether or not the empathy is in conflict with a moral principle or with another person with whom one also has empathy for. Even defining necessity is difficult.

    You could also argue that it is moral to help foster self reliance. It is often case by case.

    I am sure my morality is rather strange to some.

    Look at gun control. If the advocates for stricter gun control are correct, more lives are lost, absent at least military action, than saved by "loose" gun laws, but I still think my position is morally superior. But the moral standard of trying to save the most lives possible would seem to favor gun control, and it might even be the most logical, though that partially depends on the probabality of a crime increase after tighter gun laws.

    By Blogger Eff, at 4/26/2005 06:02:00 PM  

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