In the cognisance which an animal may take of his surroundingsand surely all animals take such cognisancethe subjective and moral character of his feelings, on finding himself so surrounded, does not destroy their cognitive value. These feelings, as Locke says, are signs: to take them for signs is the essence of intelligence.
This collection of essays of notable Catholic bioethicists addresses the Pope’s statements, the moral issues surrounding artificial feeding and hydration, the refusal of treatment, and the ethics of care for those at the end of life.
Hence the earnestness and honesty with which the defenders of free-will assert at once two incompatible things: indetermination and power. They are expressing the life of matter, which is indeed not determined exactly to reproduce its previous forms, but tumbles forward to fresh collocations; and the power in it is truly internalnot a compelling magic exercised by any fixed form, energising either out of the past or out of the future, but indeed a potentiality or propensity within the substance concerned, a part of that blind impulse and need to shift which is native to existence; and as this universal dance was groundless in the beginning, so it remains groundless at every stage and in every factor, whether the figures of it be novel or habitual. This groundless pervasive power, with its tireless inner monotony and its occasional outward novelties, is matter thumping in the hearts of free-willists much more loudly than in those of their opponents. Believers in necessity have caught sight of some essencea law or habit or rule of some kindwhich they make haste to clap upon nature, as if nature had no further depth, and they had touched bottom with their proverbs; as knowing people are always incredulous of things not within their experience or their books. At some depth, and in terms not at all on the human scale, nature may very well be mechanicalI shall return to this question in its place; but each factor in that mechanism would remain perfectly spontaneous; for it is not the essence illustrated here than can produce the essence illustrated there. One configuration cannot even suggest another, save to an idle mind playing with the rhymes of appearance; but substance throughout continues groundlessly to shift its groundless arrangement. One inert essence after another is thereby embodied in thingsessences inwardly irrelevant, and associated even in thought only when thought has been tamed and canalised by custom. The method of this transformation may contain repetitions, and to that extent it will be mechanical; but it will never become anything but a perpetual genesis of the unwarrantable out of the contingent, mediated by a material continuity impartial towards those complications. So the common man feels that he is the source of his actions and words, though they spring up in him unbidden; and he weaves a sophisticated moral personage, all excuses, fictions, and verbal motives, to cover the unknown currents of his material life. Philosophers are not wanting to do the same for mankind at large, or even for the universe.
Finally, I will examine how these moral principles have shaped the United States bishops' approach to public policy on climate change and how other members of the Catholic Church are translating this call to care for God's creation into action.
To this end, Scola considers 1) the question of the existence and nature of an elementary moral experience, which allows us unambiguously to receive the light of moral insight as capable of generating an objective common morality, respectful of liberty, history, and cultures; 2) how, by virtue of its salvific power, the Christian, concrete universal, the event of Jesus Christ, shows the true nature of moral insight and favors a common morality; and 3) how reference to a common morality like this is to be understood in a plural society constructed according to a principle of consent.
To say that all standards of value are arbitrary is not to say that you have nonethat you have given up the practice of estimating the relative worth of things. All you have done is to admit that this worth depends on a standard proper to you, and that the same things have a different value according to other standards. To perceive that your ideal is one of many which are actual, and of numberless ideals which are possible, is not equivalent to giving it up. The unemancipated are like the children who think the angels talk English: but there is no contradiction in going on talking English when you discover that the little angels don't. English doesn't become less necessary when it becomes less heavenly. So I go on using my moral languagetalking about good, bad, beautiful, ugly, right and wrong. I suppose you to understand my language: if you don't, why, you are a foreigner, and I will respect you as such and wish I could understand you better. I take for granted that my good is your good: should your good happen to be my evil, why, I will say you worship the devil,and admit your perfect right to do so, else I should be authorizing you to deny my right to worship God.
Some of the greatest economists of earlier eras, like Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, regarded themselves as moral philosophers, as analysts of the moral foundations of society. Few contemporary economists see themselves in such a light. If they do take moral considerations into account, it is typically as parameters for subsequent economic analysis.
As a result, the powerful normative elements of economics tend to be driven underground. Economists today become moral philosophers, a point the University of Illinois economist Deirdre McCloskey . Most economists, for example, regard economic growth as a main goal of the economic system, and seek to assess the desirability of public policies by the extent to which they are efficient or inefficient toward that end. Whether growth should itself be a paramount objective, and whether efficiency should therefore play such a critical role in distinguishing between good and bad policy, typically receives little sustained attention among mainstream economists, with few exceptions (such as Herman Daly in his 1996 book ).
It challenges the separationof science and ethics, trying to reform a science that finds nature valuefree and an ethics that assumes that only humans count morally.
Haidt’s basic point, buttressed by research that tapped the belief systems of literally hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world, was that the moral framework from which most well-educated Western Europeans and particularly educated upper middle class liberal Americans make their judgments is WEIRD compared to that of the rest of the world. WEIRD is an acronym that stands for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic.
Haidt had fastened upon what sociologists call an individualistic point of view versus a collectivistic point of view. The emphasis upon individualism is associated with moral principles that emphasize autonomy and the rights of individuals. The concentration on autonomy as the basis for morality in Western culture, according to Haidt, has led to a narrow focus upon just three moral dimensions: liberty/oppression, care/harm and fairness/cheating. People should be free to do whatever they want so long as it does not harm anyone else and as long as everyone else has the same opportunity to do the same thing.
But Haidt pointed out that the narrow focus on autonomy as the basis for morality among WEIRD people leaves out other major themes of morality. His own research across different cultures identified six moral dimensions. What I found both interesting and surprising were the dimensions that are not usually valued by the WIERD culture but are highly valued in many of the non-Western European cultures of the world, and it turns out, among many American conservatives. One of these is the Loyalty/Betrayal dimension. Loyalty/Betrayal may be attached to one’s nation, school, sports team, race, religion, community or even language group (e.g. French-speaking Quebec). It fosters indignation toward those who are viewed as unsupportive of one’s cause and it is valued more highly by American conservatives than by American liberals.