Archive for the ‘ethics’ Category

Ethics by Calvin Klein

August 7, 2009

Be good. Be bad. Just be.

slogan for the ‘fragrance for people’ (be)

Ethical subjectivism in Sartre

August 7, 2009

To choose to be this or that is to affirm at the same time the value of what we choose, because we can never choose evil. We always choose the good, and nothing can be good for us without being good for all.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions (lecture), 1966

He says that our choices are what we would want all men to be as an attempt to avoid radical relativism. But it is what ‘we’ want and so it ends up being an ethic of subjectivism and even of solipsism since we can only choose the good.

Eastern Religion and ethical distinctions

August 7, 2009

“Good and evil,” says the Buddhist, “are both fetters: the perfect one became master over both.”; “what`s done and what`s not done,” says the man who believes in the Vedanta, “give him no pain; as a wise man he shakes good and evil off himself; his kingdom suffers no more from any deed; good and evil – he has transcended both” – an entirely Indian conception, whether Brahman or Buddhist.

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals,Third Essay: What Do Ascetic Ideals Mean?, 17


If you want to get the plain truth, be not concerned with right and wrong.  The conflict between right and wrong is the sickness of the mind.

Zen master Yun-Men, quoted in Alan Watts, Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen (San Francisco: City Lights, 1959), p. 10.

Rationality and Ethics

August 7, 2009

Reason cannot establish values, and its belief that it can is the stupidest and most pernicious illusion.

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, p.194

Atheism overthrows morality

August 7, 2009

When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole. It stands or falls with faith in God.”

Nietzsche, in Walter kaufman, ed., ‘The Gay Science,’ in The Portable Nietzsche (NY: Viking, 1954), p.515

Bertrand Russell’s misunderstanding of Christian ethics

August 7, 2009

Is there any standard of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, except what the man using these words desires?…At this point, religion has, at first sight, a simple answer. God determines what is good and what bad; the man whose will is in harmony with the will of God is a good man. Yet this answer is not quite orthodox. Theologians say that God is good, and this implies that there is a standard of goodness which is independent of God’s will (my emph.). We are thus forced to face the question: Is there objective truth or falsehood in such a statement as ‘pleasure is good’, in the same sense as in such a statement as ‘snow is white’?

Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, p.133

Russell, like Hume before him, is wrong to conclude that the statement, ‘God is good’ implies a standard of goodness outside of God. (He wanted this to be so for personal reasons so he could carry on his sexual infidelities.)

The God of the Bible defines goodness and is not held up to it as if it were an external benchmark to Himself. To object to this line of reasoning, as if God were defining goodness arbitrarily, would be to judge God by some standard of ‘goodness’ that cannot be substantiated.

Russell himself, when pressed by Coplestone could only distinguish ‘good’ and ‘evil’ with this answer, ‘…on the basis of my feelings’. Which is what it tends to come down to when God is rejected as the standard of good and evil.