Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Selling Ethics?

I would have to say that anybody who would sell their proclaimed ethics isn't really proclaiming the correct ethics for thier character. If somebody's ethics are that situational, then are they really the deep convictions that the ethical philosopher's we have studied have made them out to be? I would say that nobody can really sell their true ethics, or rather ethical foundation. Somebody who is willing to sell what might be termed ethical etiquette in a certain circumstance isn't really selling their ethics at all, because they don't believe enough in them to stand behind them. That's not to say that somebody's ethical standpoint can't change, but I believe that requires a more momentous experience than a simple exchange of money. Events, life, a change in the character of the individual may change thier ethical standpoint, but that doesn't mean they sold it out. If somebody sells "ethics," they aren't really selling much more than situational propriety, not their ethics.


Nancy Williams said...

I would say that nobody can really sell their true ethics, or rather ethical foundation.

This is the Kantian position: an absolutist stance. But put it to the test with his soldier-at-the door scenario. That's a choice between foundational ethics. What would you do?

tyandnan said...

Good Point. I would still say that in this position one would consider their own duties and act accordingly. They may say that lying is bad, but is it worse than letting a man die? By making a choice either way, have they sold their ethcs, or just acted according to their real ethical foundation? I think that lying is bad myself, but I know that I would save an honest man's life if I could. My ethical standpoint isn't one that says lies are evil, but that the reason behind lies is what makes them evil or acceptable. I, therefore, haven't sold my ethics regarding lies, but lie somewhere in between the theories of modern ethicists. I'm not Kantian, neither am I utalitarian, but somewhere in that grey area myself. I believe that most people are that way. They haven't sold their true ethics, because their true ethics aren't so easily defined, which I guess may be the whole point of this class.