Investigating Ethics (4/5)

In my last post, I examined the reason for which morality serves to judge ethical decisions, and found only that that morality judges ethics to make known to us our failure in a particular decision. In it, I made the observation that perhaps one’s ethical code is not intended to be relativistic, but in fact that our moral conscious makes a judgment when we leave a specific ethical framework. In the post, I proposed that that framework might in fact be virtue. I chose virtue out of all the other ethical frameworks because I asked myself under what contexts have I experienced a moral conviction. I found that I experience moral conviction when I have personally caused some harm in the situation; or know that I will cause harm through my decision. I have found that this harm does not need to be strictly defined. I find that I will experience regret whether I knowingly I harm someone who is innocent, guilty, familiar or unknown, or even myself. It should be noted that regret occurs when a choice is made, not when a situation is beyond one’s own control.

I believe that, if followed, virtue ethics would free an individual from regret in decision making. However, it would also appear that it is impossible to make a virtuous decision in the context of the lesser of two evils. When one has to choose between “less wrong” and “more wrong”, ultimately it is not a virtuous decision. Virtue ethics maintains that decisions must be made by determining and choosing the outcome that is morally “right”, but in the context to a situation where there is no moral “right”, the individual must refuse to choose, or otherwise must change the ethical framework under which he is operating. And it would seem again that there is no functional ethical absolute.

Which leaves us where we were, asking, “why does morality judge ethical decisions?”


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