General Applied Ethics

Considering ethical valuations; how to define ethical components, how to measure ethical value, how to predict outcomes, how to balance the combined valuations – these things are worth the effort of learning and advancing our ability to handle them well. But we also have a need to apply them routinely in our lives and to build mechanisms that can either aid that task or accomplish it outright. Historically, this has been mostly the domain of religions and moral codes. Since differences in these areas cause conflict in the name of ethical behavior, it makes sense to develop a “general” form of applied ethics.

Ethics begins with considerations of self and then moves outward to others, groups of others and different categories of groups of others. The first and most basic consideration of self ethics is to survive and this consideration generally outweighs any other single consideration, but can be outweighed itself by combinations of other ethical factors. Once survival of self is not being threatened, the primary consideration turns to sustaining a steady state of survival and then enhancing or improving the state.

  • keep yourself alive – SURVIVE
  • maintain your survival state – SUSTAIN
  • improve your survival state – ENHANCE

Eventually, the “self” that is doing the consideration begins to expand awareness beyond self and realize the existence of “others”. The same ethical considerations of SURVIVE, SUSTAIN, ENHANCE can be applied to an “other” self as the original self begins to realize that the ethics of an “other” may be connected to the ethical state of itself.

  • keep others alive – SURVIVE
  • maintain the survival state of others – SUSTAIN
  • improve the survival state of others – ENHANCE

Just as the “self” expanded awareness to include the concept of others, it can expand again to understand and consider the ethics of groups of others taken as a whole. There are simple, usually local groups, such as family, neighborhood, and community and there are also larger, more complex and more distant or distributed groups such as nation, species, or even all forms of life. The same basic triage of considerations can be applied to groups of others. The groups may also be ranked with some priority order, such as considering family to be more important then community or neighborhood more important than species.

  • keep groups of others alive – SURVIVE
  • maintain the survival state of groups of others – SUSTAIN
  • improve the survival state of groups of others – ENHANCE

An “algebra” of ethics must be developed to help balance combinations of ethical importance.

SEE ALSO:
Ethics vs Morals
Ethics as Prediction
The Logic of Ethics
Ethical Advisors
Ethics of Stoicism
Ethics of Confucius

Comments are closed.