It is widely perceived that there is a breakdown in social morality. I offer the simple three steps of moral thinking.
- CAN DO and OUGHT TO DO.
Some action may be perceived as a possible. It may be a novel possibility, or a familiar one. Simply, morality intermediates to ask whether what can be done, ought to be done. In the modern world, this question has been largely ignored by virtue of science and technology. Let’s do it, and see what happens. Without the ability to legitimate the question should we do it, there is no moral foundation.
- What is the moral system that regulates these actions?
- Deontology states that there is an objective and overarching law which regulates specific actions, either categorically or universally.
- Value Ethics relates actions to underlying personal or cultural values, and allows the assessment of whether the action is just, or compliant with a personal value. Asian thinking often invokes whether action is harmonious, which is merely value ethics originating in society.
- Utilitarianism suggests that the action be considered under the weight of the greatest good for the greatest number.
One’s personal actions need to be in conformity by, and driven by, one’s moral system. If one believes that they are Christian, but are unmoved by the moral imperatives of Christianity, then one is not a Christian in the moral sense. Since Christianity directly mandates the facility of conscience, one can be said to be conscienceless if one does not choose moral responses based upon faith.
- Moral decisions are coupled to will and action.
Conscience may exist as a separate mental functioning; but nevertheless, one may go about one’s life without acting on the conscience’s instructions. One often places temporizing mandates such as “It’s the will of the Party,” or “The system is so corrupt, I must play along.” These are common ruses for not engaging one’s conscience into action. They have been dragged out by Niemoller as exemplifying true moral choices – a denial of conscience – versus mitigating instructions.
That’s about all there is to actions and morality. No actions may be done by mature individuals without a moral choice. (mature, as opposed to infants, lunatics and the demented.)