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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)

The fundamental problem with non-theistic ethics is that we risk coming down to premises that are nothing but matters of opinion (even if most "reasonable" people share them). We risk having nothing underwriting these basic assumptions: no way of reasonably arguing against someone who refuses to accept them.

  1. However, this risk does not set ethics apart from other areas of potential knowledge. It also applies to our choice of final vocabulary in other areas of enquiry, as has been noted in the body of this paper.
  2. With this in mind, we prepare ourselves to address the possibility that ethics is simply a matter of choice : that of a society deciding how it wishes to live, what its goals are to be and what it is to value.
  3. While this is not fatal to an ethical system, in that it simply makes it pretend to relative rather than absolute truth, it is fatal to the program we have set ourselves - that of finding a system of ethics that is universally acceptable - unless we can expand the scope of society to include the whole of the Earth's population.
  4. Since ethics is not a solitary matter, this Appendix relates it to the individual in the context of a society.
  5. Because any society is part of the world, and is constrained by the world, we can expect certain ethical principles also to be constrained by the world. Hence, we may hope that conformity to the world may add an element of absolute truth to an appropriate ethical theory.

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12/08/2007 10:17:46 430 (Non-theistic Ethics - Opinion) Non-theistic Ethics

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