Monday, August 13, 2012

A Theory of Ethics

Hume once wrote, "You cannot derive an 'ought' from an 'is'." and for quite some time this was considered to be a sound principle, but looking more closely, examining the meaning-logic operators, Hume's statement seems to be implying one of the following statements: "You ought not derive an 'ought' from an 'is'." or, "There is no 'ought' and therefore no 'ought' could be derived from what 'is'."

I take up the proposition, that ethics proceeds, or is derived from the rationality and sociability of the individual person.  If someone violates what we shall describe as an ethical principle, they have denied or abandoned either their rationality or their sociability, and that or those, either temporarily or permanently. 

By rational, I mean to imply that the consistent-recognition of the principle of non-contradiction and by sociability, I mean to imply the consistent-recognition that other persons are manifestations of other rational-consciousnesses.

The consistent recognition of the individual of her own rationality and her own sociability, are the two fundamental principles upon which this theory of ethics is founded.

Some might be concerned with this formulation of ethics, taking the form, "But if this theory of ethics requires the individual to accept these two premises, in order for the ethical theory to be obligatory upon the individual, then could not the individual in question, merely deny one or both of these premises and then escape all ethical obligation?"  I think my answer might be, "Indeed."  An individual who would deny his own rationality, necessarily directs his action as if a beast acting upon whim or instinct; an individual who would deny his sociability, denies that other persons, possess in themselves rationality/rational-consciousnesses that can be negotiated-with/traded-with/socialized-with, is such a person that must belief himself to be a god among monkey-beasts, an Uberman.  An individual who believes himself to be either beast or god, was never a person who would be disposed to acting in peaceful/non-violent/cooperative or ethical manner regardless of the ethical theory; against a beast or presumptive-Uberman, the individual may only defend themselves the best they can, and no appeal to ethical-obligations/rationality was ever relevant to the aggressor that denies his own rationality, or yours.

[to be continued if there is sufficient interest...]

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