Re: Ethics

Scott Badger (
Sun, 5 Jul 1998 23:03:42 -0500

davelook <> wrote:

>>Scott Badger wrote:
>>Yes, a better response to your original statement is that ethics are
>>generally defined to be the rules of conduct (or the moral percepts) of a
>>particular culture or group, and as such are understandably subjective.
> That's about 90% of it, yes.
>>Individuals *can*, of course, have a code of ethics separate from the
> And here's the other 10%: Yes, you individually, and I individually,
>decide the ethics of an act on our own, even if we change our mind after
>more consideration, or new info comes to light.

>>but when there is disagreement between two individuals' ethics, the most
>>reasonable course is to make a judgement based on consensual ethical
>>standards. In other words, whether harm was done must ultimately be left
>>to a jury of your peers.
> I totally agree (at least in most cases, where immediate action isn't
> However, the jury is making their own subjective judgement(s), even if
>they all happen to agree. The result of thier decision making doesn't make
>the act
>OBJECTIVELY ethical or unethical (although the CONSEQUENCES of their
>decision has objective reality, ie, the perpetrator going to prison).

> But I don't think that's what you meant. I think you meant we can't let
>people decide
>"for themselves" what is ethical or not. But that's precisely what they DO
>The rub comes in when it's time for others to deal with those decisions
>upon in reality. Then others can decide "for themselves" how THEY
>judge an act.
>Anyway I still disagree with your original assertion at the top of
>>this post:
> I'm assuming you mean this one: "Ethics and morals are totally

No. I agree with that statement. I was referring to your statement:

<<"What exactly makes something unethical is *your* opinion of the act, even tho I may feel it to be an ethical act.">>

You yourself stated;

> Ethical standards have NO meaning if they are confined to the
>level. Morals has to do with the individual level. Ethics has to do with
>we relate to others.<

I do completely agree with you that ethical standards are subjective and fluidic (real word?). You give excellent examples of how an individual can be incarcerated for offences that are considered innocent in a different time/context. So true. I don't like the idea of only 12 people from *a* particular area judging my actions. If I was on trial, I would rather have it on the internet so that anyone and everyone could tune into the trial and cast their vote.

> By the way, I take "Objective" to mean "existing in reality". I take
>subjective to
>mean "existing in the mind". So I do hope we're not working with different
>ideas of subjective and objective.

>Dave L.

Yes, we're using the same definitions. My main point was that in many if not most cases, it can be somewhat objectively determined (consensually) whether one individual has been truly harmed by the actions of another, whether it's physical, emotional, financial, etc. I just started reading _The Moral Animal_ so I'll let you know if I uncover any universally applicable and objective moral principles derived via natural selection.

Scotty. B.