A Climax Reached in the Unified Theory of Ethics

With the release of a new paper entitled “The Beautiful Simplicity of Ethical Concepts” a new level of understanding or a breakthrough may have been achieved in ethical theorizing. [size=88][This essay may be supplemented by the explanation by Dr. Robert W. Fuller as to what is meant by the concept “rankism.”] This comes up in the overlap between Moral Psychology and Moral Philosophy. [/size] Dr. Fuller elucidates it as follows:

The latest essay by Dr. Marvin C. Katz is available for your reading pleasure HERE:

“The Beautiful Simplicity of Ethical Concepts”

myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/The%20 … ncepts.pdf

Addendum: Let it be noted here that in emergency situations, such as discovering that you are in a building that is burning down, or in a foxhole getting shot at, ethics is suspended. Survival will be your first priority. That is understandable. If you believe you are capable, in that burning building scenario, of rescuing a child whose voice you may hear in the background, fine. Attempt to do it. For that is the kind of person you are. It is preferable, though, for you to have rational reasons for believing that you can make that rescue.

Please let me know what you think with regard to this analysis of Ethical Theory.
What would you add to make the theory more complete?
Do you have some improvements, upgrades, or enhancements?

Since the brief essay alluded to in the first post was published, the second edition of it has this additional material that was added to the end of Chapter One. Insert it, in your printout of the document, at the bottom of p. 4. For your convenience here is a link to it: myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/The%20 … ncepts.pdf

…Does this additional discussion add value to the original writing? What are your views of the matter? Is this an adequate ethical theory? Does it cover what you think of as “Ethics”?

In the essay on ethical conceepts, when it discusses the intersection of Ethics with Political Science and Political Philosophy, it speaks of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He creatively proposed what he titled “The Four Freedoms.” Do you know what they are?

In a radio address, FDR said that Americans have an entitlement to four freedoms: the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

To hear his voice delivering the speech, go here:

Later on, he proposed a Second Bill of Rights. Wilipedia tells us that

Details may be found here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Bi … _of_Rights

He was in his day a member of the Super-Rich, an elite group of multi-millionaires. Yet he knew how to offer leadership. Who can do this today?

Your views…?

As I reflect on the ideas raised in this thread, two thoughts occurred to me while pondering the concepts:

  1. The inverse of rankism is humility; they vary inversely.

Humility is a great quality to have; those who are of good character possess humility. [The theory Katz proposes is centered around “character” rather than oriented about :action." Acts and action eventually follow, but the intentions and motives of the individual are what is important, as Kant realized way back when he wrote the Grundlagen – the Metaphysics of Morals.]

  1. Why study ethical theory at all? What good can result from it?

The individual appreciating the benefits and advantages of living ethically makes a personal commitment to ethics as a way-of-life, and a clear conscience is the result. One then has a better life than otherwise.

If one studies the little essay - safe to open - myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/The%20 … ncepts.pdf - an essay on the simplicity of ethical concepts - which is only 8 pages if printed out on both sides of the page - what can one do with it that would be ethical?

My response is: learn from it !

Become a role model, a mentor, or an instructor in Moral Philosophy. A person can be all three of these at once. Preferably teach philosophy on the high-school level or to children even younger.

How do you feel about this?

I feel morality is a play for young children , the other end trying to understand Morality Plays of long ago, and they we more instinctual

almost of feminine lore ; the mother should be the best teacher of moral philosophy

Thank you,Meno.

Here are some other points to think about:

Takers of surveys and pollsters often ask citizens “Is this country on the right track?”

Awareness of this led me to reflect: When are individuals, or countries, on the right track? As I thought about it, I asked myself: What would my Ethics theory suggest as responses to this query? The following is the result I came up with?

We are on the right track when we look for ways to be more:

respectful of one another
open and transparent
authentic rather than hypocritical
of good will
helpful toward the less fortunate

I also came to the conclusion that people like to have confirmation that they actually are on the right track - and that feedback at teach step along the way is a desideratum.

In that list of values that was offered, note the word "empowering…” The concept referred to is empowering the powerless, the miserable and destitute, from the ‘bottom up’ rather than waiting for something, some benefit or opportunity, to trickle down on them. The “Trickle-Down Economy” is to be rejected as counterproductive for the majority of the citizens. For us, the common people, it has NOT been helpful

The Greeks have a word for it
Are you acquainted with the Greek word philotimo?
If not, let me explain:

[pronounced phil-`lot-tee-moe] is a concept that permeates Greek culture.

It connotes: generosity, good will, honesty, deep and wide respectfulness, living honorably. It is taught by mothers to their children. {Admittedly some teachers educate more effectively than others .}

Too bad we, in the USA, aren’t taught such a concept in our early formative years. It could perhaps aid in making the world a little more ethical.

The Question is often asked by students: Can morality be objective?

Let us make these observations on the theme of objective morality .
It is predictable that if one jumps off the edge of a 10-story building roof, one is likely to go in a down direction and will likely experience a hard landing.
It is also predictable that if one, in the realm of human interaction, and human relations (including to oneself), inverts, in his or her life, the Hierarchy of Value - explained in BASIC ETHICS - (discovered, not invented, by Robert S. Hartman), by placing Systemic value above Extrinsic value, or either of those above Intrinsic value, then it is likely that the individual who does that - or the loved ones he cares about - will suffer. The suffering may consist in living in a confused world, dysfunctional, and in varying states of dissolution and chaos, a world that could be so much better than it currently is. In such a world people;s lives tend to be in turmoil – and it is so needless!

These are objective facts.
In the same way as a text teaching Euclid’s plane geometry is objective - in the sense that it can be studied universally on this planet - a text teaching what is widely-agreed about Ethics is also objective. I take the concepr “objective” to mean: inter-subjective.

The so-called definition “happens independent of human perception” is questionable …since how do we know of it? For any histoical “fact” we take someone’s subjective word for it.

The formulas in Ethics as science can be displayed on chalkboards all over the planet, and in this sense they are objective; at the same time, since they are about human value-judgments they are, as you say, subjective.
Thus they are both at once.

So let us be careful to avoid dys-systemic thinking, i.e., black-or-white thinking, insisting that it’s got to be this or that! Let’s be aware of all the shades of grey, and even of the colors in this world and this universe.

There are (at least) two more ways for an individual to know if he or she is on the right track.

One is Do no harm. As Confucious put it - in a word roughly translated as “reciprocity” - Don’t do to anyone else what you don’t want them to do to you.

The second way to be on the right track is:
Continuous self-improvement! This implies the concepts that one would keep on growing in knowledge and in moral development throughout life. …the thought being that there is always room for further expression of ethics in one’s life.

As I thought about it, I asked myself: What would my Ethics theory suggest as responses to the question: When are individuals on the right track? Considering that Ethics is the kind of discipline where the practice of it is worth far more to us than the theory of it - where ethics applied in life is superior to ethics on paper - the set of values (personal ideals) listed in the original post were offered to the reader since these were derived by deduction from the R. S. Hartman/Katz ethical theory taken as a whole.
Those who want to be ethical may seriously consider adopting this cluster of values. Then, as you become a role model, see what happens both with regard to your social interactions and with respect to the kind of world you now live in after forming some new habits in your quest for moral growth.

Let’s take Peace …just as an example.
If there were more peace in the world, you’d know it without requiring an exact measurement of it. [Stephen Pinker, though ,in a recent book, presented actual statistics on the prevalence of war today, and also compared with earlier centuries.] The issue - from the point of view of Applied Ethics, as practice relevant to a life well-lived -is: are you working to make it more of a viable possibility? There are nonprofit organizations one could cooperate with that every day teach about world peace, and how to get it. See the resources available at this link: worldwithoutwar.com/

As you may know, a “meme” is a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition and replication in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes. The values mentioned earlier can, with your help, become memes, that can be taught, and spread via the internet. They can gain prominence in the culture. The question is, do you agree with these values? And if you do, are you living by them? (For ethics are principles that are to be lived and practiced, if they are not to be mere intellectual exercises) Assuming you do agree, the questions arise: Are you mentoring others in those values? Are you voting only for candidates who share these values? Are you volunteering your time and energy toward implementing these values to any degree? The “Ultimate Purpose” of a good discipline of Ethics (a body of useful knowledge) is to provide a Quality Life for all …not for just an elite few.


thinkdr : In a search for a true unification with instinctualism on one end and consequationalism at the other, where would the fulcrum be placed to attain balance? Can there really be unification without balance? (Intuition is grounded in instinct)

Instinctive-intuitive-simple terms

Finally, can intuitive and reasonable assessments ever go beyond some measure of difference? From the Greeks on , this can be safely said. Maybe in a sense, even if, this is beyond a resolveable issue, the black and white of logical certainty is based on such am instinctual need, so as to present higher structures of compatibility within relationships and perceptions linked with variable patterns of recognition.

I think this simply put, brackets around the climax some experience when they are denied basic needs to underlying logical links. (Memes)

I agree that balance, and fitting in, and compatibility are important values when judging a new proposed theory of ethics.

I would appreciate hearing from readers whether you think the new paradigm proposed for Ethical Theory is adequate, logical, and suitable. Does it make a rational argument? Can you go along with it?

Let’s hear from you :exclamation:

Here is a link to the original “Unified Theory of Ethics.” It is dialog form as a literary device. The names of the characters do not matter. They are all the voice of the author. If you love Ethics, this may well prove to be of interest:

myqol.com/wadeharvey/A%20UNI … ETHICS.pdf

just keep in mind that not all climaxes are fun. in fact, some are anticlimactic.

Yes, EW, that is true. I confess I used th word to get attention for the thread.

The Unified Theory has four parts to it. After you have absorbed Part One (to which a link was offered in a recent post), a booklet in which terms like good," “bad,” “fair,” “approval,” “hypocrisy,” “conscience,” “morality,” and “integrity” are well-defined with precision – you may want to follow up by reading Part Two, entitled ETHICAL ADVENTURES
myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/ET … NTURES.pdf

and thPart Three, entitled ETHICAL EXPLORATIONS
wadeharvey.myqol.com/wadeharvey/ … ONS%20.pdf

All these links are safe to open…or the Moderator would not let them through.

Critiques and analyses of these papers are most welcome…

Aye, but for the record, me responding with what I did actually helped spur new avenues of thinking?

Thank you for that.

Just exactly what do you understand to be"new avenues of thinking"? Would you please clarify what you meant to say, and demonstrate how it is relevant to Ethics.
For Ethics, after all, is what this thread is about…

What do you like best about the new paradigm that is offered via the Unified Theory of Ethics? Do you have any suggestions for an upgrade of it? These questions are addressed to all readers of the posts in this thread.

Well, consider the fact that we, as humans, will think ourselves into recursive ruts of thinking. Throwing in a curveball from another aspect of life spurs new avenues of thinking that then become a ‘chain-breaker’ thought process, not exactly getting you to thinking in dirty terms, though innuendo was given, but along lines of thinking in terms of ‘refreshment’ or ‘breath of fresh air’ thought process introduced that then gets an individual or individuals over the hurdle of the ruts they were stuck in. This applies to situational ethics as well as situational emotionality in an ‘if-I-Feel-like-it’ standard of coinciding with a ‘if it crosses my path when I feel like it’ standard.

Then, what I said applies as those stuck in the rut had hit the anticlimactic climax of their own thinking, what they could do on their own and had to rely on an outside source to be able to, AND want to, be that missing link for them to break the chains binding them to the rut they had been entrenched in.

Is there anything in the new paradigm (the Unified Theory of Ethics) that fits in with what you think of as ethics?

Is this new paradigm creative? It does jar people’s thinking out of the rut they may have acquired by sitting through philosophy classes. It points toward personal commitment, toward actively living in a friendly cooperative constructive way. Then, even if you are “invisible” in a sense, you conduct yourself the same as if people could see you, watch you, judge you for your uprightness - or lack of it. You give up shoplifting, cheating, taking advantage of others, manipulating them for merely your own ends. You share, you care, you help others to rise. You give yourself away, so to speak.

Readers: Does any of this resonate with you?

What kind of a world do you want to live in? Speaking consequentially, is it worth diverting some funds to education and to after-school activities? Then the kids in your neighborhood may turn out to be the kind you want to be around, living in your neighborhood.

Let’s hear your views!!


:arrow_right: Nine years ago, before the era of Trump, something good was happening at some Business Schools, such as at Harvard and at Columbia.

Check this out: nytimes.com/2009/05/30/busi … dium=email

I wonder if this still goes on today ( :question: )

There are three ways that persons can be wronged:

  1. Their rights can be violated
  2. They may be treated unfairly
  3. They may be shown a lack of respect.

Furthermore, an individual can be wronged without suffering harm. An example frequently used is: an airline clerk refuses to sell an airline ticket to Bob because of the dark color or his skin. Bob does not know her motive, nor is he aware that he was discriminated against. The plane (of the flight on which he was scheduled to travel) subsequently crashes killing all aboard. The clerk thinks to herself: I did that guy a big favor. Bob may say to himself: I was lucky.
In this scenario, Bob was “wronged” but was not harmed.

Many Moral Philosophers argue that the point of morality is to make the world a better place. They concur on the view that more good is better than less good. It is generally agreed that a tragedy, such as an airline going down in midair, which kills many people is worse than a tragedy which fewer people die …if – in both cases - we do not know who the people were. [If it was your beloved daughter or your wife who was killed you may feel, and judge, otherwise.] There are serious problems with a strictly Utilitarian approach.

Let’s consider a different moral dilemma to see how the ethicists who are guided by the Unified Theory of Ethics would analyze it. Mr. M is entrusted with the care of a friend’s little young child. He was driving the toddler back to its campsite when unfortunately his car was crashed into by another car. The baby dies as a result since he had neglected to fasten her in securely into her car-seat. He has feelings of guilt; people consider him to be blameworthy. His friend feels scornful toward him.

Now Mr. U also was entrusted with a friend’s baby, also didn’t strap the child in securely, and also is hit by another car while driving with the baby in his car. The circumstances here are identical except for one thing. In U’s case the baby is not killed by the crash. Observers might say that Mr. U was” lucky.” However the Unified Theory of Ethics would see both M and U as irresponsible. It holds that “we make our own luck.” Both drivers had it in their control to do the right thing by the baby: fasten it securely. Both were negligent. The law should treat both equally, no matter what excuses they may offer. It is not the consequences that resulted, but rather the gross degree of irresponsibility on which judges ought to focus. In this ethical theory I’m proposing, character outweighs consequences.

As we see by this plausibly real-life example, Consequentialism, while having much to commend it, is inadequate as an ideal ethical theory. The new paradigm being offered here includes within its synthesis the best parts of Consequentialism, along with the best of other schools.

Your questions or comments are most welcome!

In regard to another aspect of traditional ethics, living the good life, and our well-being, we can review some points we learn from Aristotle. He claimed a human being lives well when he or she acts rightly, has a good character, and also pursues reliable knowledge. {Today we know that reliable knowledge is very-likely knowledge based upon scientific findings.}

Furthermore, a good character possesses traits such as courage, temperance and generosity. These, and a cluster of other good traits, are formed by habituation. By “temperance” is meant it is imperative not to overvalue nor to undervalue but to maintain one’s balance. Then one will not overdo things nor under-do them. If one does overvalue a quality or property one does so at the expense of other values that are pushed aside – thus causing an imbalance. An example would be deriding an individual for his faults without mentioning some good features or qualities he may have. If one does this constantly, one is out of balance.

The highest good a person can attain Aristotle spoke of as eudemonia, which – roughly translated – is happiness and excellence. Excellence is a high standard of workmanship, as well as upright conduct in general. This is developed by practicing a good quality - such as honesty - in daily life. In the case of honesty, you would tell the truth all day long, every day, until it becomes second-nature for you. Eventually you even get to a point where when you hear someone lie it ‘turns you off.’

The person of good character is able to satisfy both his/her inclinations and his rational desires because these are both aligned with each other. He wants to do what is right – and does it! As a result, he derives pleasure from good behavior. Doing what is right becomes habit over time.

My theory, in addition to all this, says we need to raise issues of Social Justice, and thus enable those who, due to forces beyond their control, are less fortunate than we are.

We need compassion and empathy as well as - or as components of - self-development. We also need political savvy in applying these good features. We need to exercise our voting privileges. Be sure to vote. If not, you may lose your right to vote.

Surely you have some opinions with regard to these matters :exclamation: Let’s hear them.