Saturday, March 28, 2009

Moral Choice, Moral Responsibility, and the "Greater Good"

I was cleaning out my purse and I came across a synopsis of a lecture I attended Fall '07 about Free Will. I decided to blog about it, since it really "fell in line" with my previous recent posts.

C.A.Campbell in "Has the Self Free Will" (On Selfhood and Godhood, 1957), says that relevant acts for moral responsibility are "free acts of choice" rather than outer acts. These are acts that the moral agent is the sole author and are not "necessary acts of character". He argues that acts are choices of the "self" and are "creative acts". He is libertarian, as he believes that the nature of the "self" is not reducible to the "character" of the self. And I think with the little that the synopsis had about him, he may be thinking along similar lines that I am presently.

Religion presupposes what we "should be", as if what we are fall short of some "standard". What standard? a moral model? which one? a moral text? which one? Character is an absolute? Then, what is being gauged? Was Luther's questioning of the 'moral authorities of his day something that was deemed "bad" character? At the time, it was.

I think this is the primary point of our free government, "we are all created equal, with certain inalienable rights". The "greater good" argument is determined by someone outside of another's "self". This is why limited government is the ideal.

Perhaps, because we have become disconnected personally in our social interactions and in our business transactions, we have become less and less "identified" with the "other", as the "other has no "face". It is easier to dismiss and disengage our "self" from the other when that happens. Then, "self" is "free" to "do what it wants/wills". This is the loss of moral responsibility due to social/psychological disengagement. Leaders are especially prone to do this, as their position most times distances them from the "common man". It is imperative that leaders "give room" to those "under them" to have "free choice".

What is the solution? Perhaps, just as I saw in the Newsmuesuem, the media should be about the business of keeping the "other's" real face before our eyes. And we, all, personally, should hold each other accountable in our relationships.

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