Saturday, February 05, 2005

Your guiding principles


... another quote from my "morality" essay which I thought could be interesting

"The best place to start is to understand ones personal morality. Interestingly, it would be entirely impossible for anyone to give a true representation of their morals, because people do not know themselves very well at the psychological level. In a moral dilemma, you cannot always know in advance which way a decision might go. Descriptions of personal morality are always vague, often coming down to a series of “guiding principles” by which a person attempts to frame their moral decisions.

To illustrate, let us look at a short list of my own guiding principles. It might also be helpful to write down some of your own before considering my personal list.

1.Value friendship
2.Avoid self-deception
3.Fight for your own betterment
4.Do not use bullying tactics to achieve an advantage
5.Trust your own experience above that of others
6.Don't trust the media
7.Find a family and work as a team
8.Try to feel good about yourself

If you look at that list, a number of things become quickly apparent. One is that is it quite unique – if 1000 people were asked to write down five to ten of their own guiding principles, few people would come up with the same ones."

So, what are your guiding principles? Spread the meme, let's see what we get... Subquestion - can you think of a better way of expressing your morality than simply listing principles by which you try to live?



Blogger spenwah said...

Morality, ethics, is the central component of philosophy. The other branches, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, aesthetics, each radiate from morality. One's "guiding principles" are only derived from his philosophy, they do not support his morality. To state one's morality, he must review his entire philosophy and incorporate in that statement the basic building blocks of the philosophy he discovers himself to be following. One's philosophy and morality can either ba based on conscious reasoning and introspection, or accepted by default, programmed by society.

My morality is based on the individual's right to live . He owns his mind, and consiousness is good. The existance of his mind requires his body live, and living requires certain deliberate actions be taken. This, in turn, mandates a right to private property ownership, and so he cannot morally steal or trespass or otherwise hold a claim against his fellow men. Everything he knows he first learned by his own effort; there is no revealed knowledge.

And so the three "principles" of my morality can be stated as such:

1) The purpose or goal of any action must be my own happiness. What is positive to this end is good; what is negative is evil.

2) Respect unequivocally the natural rights of my fellow men, while vigorously defending my own. Coercion is only justified when its use creates a positive net change in the protection of the individual rights of the individuals in a given population. Particularly, Government is limited to providing such protective services as a military, police force, criminal investigators, and court system.

3) Rely solely on logic and reason to make my daily decisions. Anything else squarely contractics reality.

2/05/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger MelbournePhilosopher said...

Good guidelines.

One problem with your reasoning however - it seems to be impossible under your explanation for anyone who is not a philosopher to have morality... :) Unless one talks in analogies or of the subconscious, it seems unreasonable to suggest that on cannot have a sense of the moral without having the kind of understanding of philosophy that you suggest is necessary.


2/05/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger MelbournePhilosopher said...

Although perhaps you would then say that their morality would be unconsciously learnt from society, and be unexplored...

2/05/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger spenwah said...

They may have their "guiding principles," but they will not be based on concrete morality. One must always actively and consiously pursue the premises his morality is based on or it will never stand up to scrutiny.

2/06/2005 04:25:00 PM  

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