Investigating Ethics (3/5)

In my last post, I examined the difference between morality and ethics -that ethics is a framework for decision-making, and morality exists seemingly only to judge the decisions that are made under the ethical framework. What I would like to examine in this post is the purpose for which morality judges ethical decision making.

After much contemplation I have come up with the following progression.

Morality judges ethics for the purpose of:

  • Reminding us that we have failed.
  • Imploring us to learn from our mistakes; or the
    mistakes of the situation.
  • Pushing us to strive for an ideal in our decision-making.

But even these I am at a loss to understand. It would seem that regardless of how conscious we are of our morality, we continue to enter into situations where we disregard its judgment. Of course, I will not suggest that we are walking down a path of unending self-destruction by choosing to disregard morality in all of our decisions; most of the time we appear to make morally positive decisions, though it is undeniable that in many cases people choose to perpetuate their own self-destruction. For example, a man chooses to cheat on his wife. He knows this is wrong, yet he disregards this judgment, choosing to cheat, once, and very likely again and again. For this reason, I must refute the latter two observations because it appears that morality has so far been unable to condition human society into utopia.

The first observation is the difficult observation because it is both true, yet incomplete. It is a correct observation of the effect of the moral judgment, though from it, we have only arrived at the statement: “Morality judges ethics for the purpose of making ones own failures known.” At the moment, the only following observation that I have found is that perhaps my initial judgment -that ethics should be relativistic -is false, and our conscious is there to make some observation; perhaps that virtue is always the better choice.


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