The Moral Scale

Sponsored by Solicitors based in London

  • As considering whole range of moral issues, we may conveniently imagine a kind of scale or yardstick which begins at bottom with most obvious demands of social living and extends to highest reaches of human aspiration.
    • “Somewhere along that line there is an invisible pointer where the pressure of duty leaves off and the challenge of excellence begins.”[10]
    • War of moral argument is over location of this pointer.
    • To find it, must know what is perfect life – if you accept this, then drawing line is pointless because MOD must borrow standards from MOA.
      • This view has led to diametrically opposed conclusions concerning the objectivity of moral judgments.
        • One side: Fact of experience that we know and agree on what is bad, thus must follow that we have shared picture of what is perfectly good (Platonic Socrates)
        • Other side: Men do not agree on what is perfectly good, our apparent agreement of what is bad is perhaps an illusion, born of social conditioning, habituation, and shared prejudice.
        • Both rest on idea: must know good to know bad
  • In whole field of human purpose, we find rejections of idea that we must know perfectly good to identify the bad
    • E.g No human tool is perfectly suited to any task, but designed to accomplish indefinite range reasonably well.