Phil Parker (tigertoy) wrote,
Phil Parker

A comment on morality

Earlier today the local public radio talk show had a guest who was discussing the subject of self-destructive behavior. The guest presented an argument from Kant. I haven't read Kant, so all I'm reacting to is what I caught of what the guest presented, which may not reflect on what Kant actually said. But the argument went something like this:

Because we as humans have the unique ability to reason, that makes us special. Because we're something special, we have an obligation to each other to be respectful of what we are; so when a person does something bad, even if they do it in private, they are shaming not only themselves but everyone.

I think the starting point is is a valid one. Our ability to reason makes us special, and we should hold onto that distinction. When one person does something shameful, it does diminish all of us. But what are the actions that bring shame on everyone? I think the shameful act is not the private sin that harms no one else, but rather denying another person the freedom to do the thing he wants to do only because it offends someone else's morals.
Tags: ethics, philosophy
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