Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ethical Foundations

There is such a thing as global ethics.

It should be incorporated into every culture to the extent that it is not. It should be accepted by every culture as a basis for critique of that culture.

Each of us is born as a being that experiences desires. In this we are equal. If God created us this way, then God created us as equals. If evolution leads to our existing this way, then evolution resulted in our being equal in this respect: we all experience desire.

Ethics has to do with pursuing good and being good. To understand ethics, one needs to understand how "goodness" is related to desire.

Desire provides us with cares and concerns. We have cares and concerns because we have desire.

Sometimes desire is experienced as unsatisfied. We call this suffering. Sometimes desire is satisfied. We call this enjoyment. Sometimes we experience desire as something that is in the process of being satisfied. Because we desire this process, its presence provides enjoyment and its absence provides suffering.

We give the names "good", "bad", and "evil" to certain aspects of things. The same thing can have (and usually does have) both good and bad aspects. We give the name "good" to the three kinds of aspects that things can have, all of which are related to desire: (1) the presence of things we desire, (2) usefulness for obtaining the things that we desire, and (3) the kind of consciousness that has desires. We give the names "bad" and "evil" to three aspects of things: (1) the absence of the things we desire, (2) hindrance to obtaining what we desire, and (3) the destruction or absence of the kind of consciousness that has desires.

Ethics has to do with being the kind of being that respects those conscious beings who have desires by making ourselves into tools for well distributed minimization of suffering and well distributed maximization of enjoyment. This is how we treat others the way we would want to be treated.

No comments:

Post a Comment