Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What is morality?

Much is made of morality. Today, morality is even presented in a variety of flavors. “Ethicists come in all shapes and sizes. There are utilitarians and Kantians and virtue ethicists; medical ethicists and legal ethicists and religious ethicists; and even a few benighted magazine columnists. They all have one thing in common: none of them are morally perfect” says Ariel Kaminer, the ethicist for the New York Times Magazine of April 27, 2012.

To me, morality is the set of relationships that relate the I to the Thou. These relationships, of course, vary from love to hate. The function of morality is to try to reduce hate to zero and expand love to infinity.

Mathematicians, those immensely practical people, know that zero and infintiy are limits. Human beings will never reach them. It is only moralists, those incorrigible optimists, who say: Well, that is true, but we MUST try.

That is the meaning of a civilized life, an examined life.

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