Pre-Note to Blog Posts on “Ethical” Subjects

7
Jan
Nick

Some of the upcoming blog posts will deal with “ethical” subjects and may include statements which can be considered controversial. This article should serve as a disclaimer for all those future posts in order to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.

They’re Just Ideas – Not Unalterable Opinions

First of all, nothing stated on this blog is written in stone. Rather, my writing merely attempts to add to the debate. I don’t cling to any single opinion and I don’t mind being proven wrong. Being wrong (many, many times, according to my experience) is the nature of progress, so it is best to accept it right from the beginning.

Maybe the points I put forward should not be called “opinions” at all. The word “opinion” is sometimes associated with an unalterable position that we must defend in order to avoid looking stupid or “losing face”. This may prove counterproductive in advancing constructive discussions. Instead, the “opinions” presented in this blog should be regarded as preliminary thoughts on which actions will eventually lead to most happiness.

Theory vs. Practice: The Wall of 1,000 Filters

When discussing ethical subjects, sometimes we must seek a highly simplified, theoretical ceteris paribus perspective to really understand the core of the issue. At that stage, no premature conclusions should be made regarding what to do in practice.

For example, when discussing abortion, a first step may be to assess the value of the unborn embryo, which seems to be the heart of the matter. This should be discussed openly without suggesting what we should or should not be allowed to do.

To propose a rule or action in practice (e.g., the legalisation of abortion), we must consider many other factors, including:

  • Would the legalisation of abortion lead to less respect for life, with nasty consequences in completely separate fields?
  • What effect would the legalisation of abortion have on potential rapists, who might believe their actions are less damaging if a resulting baby could be aborted?
  • Etc. (You get the idea.) 

In other words, before an action is proposed, it must be analyzed through many filters that consider all foreseeable effects of that action. If we analyse a stone (theory), we must assess the foreseeable effects of it being thrown into a lake.

Theory vs. Practice - Wall of 1000 Filters

Sorry for spending an entire post on this, but it will be worthwhile if it helps us avoid any misunderstandings.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe to my RSS Feed or Email newsletter

1.) I believe that this mindset, which separates emotions from logic, is beneficial for discussions. Emotions are an important result of our actions (the only important result, to be precise) but may prove counterproductive if they become part of the discussion.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>