Last Update: 24 Apr 00
Return to "Morality" essay
REPLY #3 TO
(R) Your response to my...etc. made me do something that few have made me do since High School...I pulled out my dusty Webster's and looked up the two terms; moral and ethic. I stand corrected on conventional definition (semantics will kill you every time!), but still argue the intent of my insane ramblings. I call that behavior, tagged good and bad, imposed upon me by societal opinion "Morality" and that behavior which is intrinsically motivated by conscience "Ethics." Perhaps I should use different terms, but the message is the same. I do not, and have not since my mid twenties, accept societal morality standards (which are double or triple standards usually) and instead live according to the dictates of my conscience. I get the idea that you understand and agree with me in principle, but I wanted to clarify my stance on this essay. Again, semantics are a killer...just ask any lawyer or politician!
(MB) I understand what you're saying and agree with your principle. Actually, we're mostly in agreement on everything here (notwithstanding the actual and unimportant semantics involved). We both agree that there are both a "what we should do" and a "why we should do it" involved in our behaviors. In my essay, I am more focused on the "what" question and the examination of how that determination is made and how it changes at different societal levels. My point is to dispute any claim that there is any "absolute" morality in favor of an argument that morality is little more than what the majority of any given social group arbitrarily decides is either "right" or "wrong" for the members of that group. In this scenario, one behaves ethically when he actually practices the morality that he preaches.
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