Sunday, September 27, 2009


The other day in class someone, I believe it was Sam, asked whether someone could be born without a conscience. I found this question terribly interesting and I have been mulling it over in my mind the past couple of days. If someone was, in fact, born without a conscience, what would that mean for their humanity? Surely it would change the manner in which we, as philosophers, consider their actions and their motives. This train of thought led me to question whether we make too many assumptions when talking about humans and how we operate. Isn’t it a bit too presumptuous to assume that we can talk about all humans in a general manner? It's nice to think we can relate to all other people based on their humanity, as one does when they use the phrase “they’re people just like us”, but this idea presents problems. Obviously everyone is different, individual and unique, but do these differences only apply to our personalities etc.? Just as a person with a physical birth defect is different from one without, it should be possible for a person to be born with a “defect” of a less physical nature that might interfere with their moral capacity. In this way, an individual might appear to have the same ability for thought as any other average person, when they actually have a deficiency that prevents them from thinking morally or ethically. Every other day I hear of someone doing something which I fail to even begin to comprehend how their action could be thought of as right. Even worse than this are the people who perform a vile act and state that they knew it wasn’t the right thing but did it anyway. How do you do something that you know isn’t right, especially in relation to another person’s liberties, and think that’s ok? Maybe I’m missing something here. Is it fair to say there is something more than doing the moral and just thing? In my mind the most important goal is to act morally and follow the golden rule and it is very difficult for me to violate that. However, it appears as though other people are able to bypass this idea and do whatever they perceive is best for them self and to hell with everyone else. Am I the one with the deficiency because I fail to understand how one could operate in this manner? I would like to think this is not true, but it is difficult to grasp when it seems like the people who violate the golden rule tend to profit from, while I try to do what is right, regardless of what position it puts me in. So do we assume too much that all us humans can get along and operate together? Life isn’t a puzzle where every piece fits together perfectly so there are always going to be clashes between thought patterns.

1 comment:

  1. I find it interesting that you mention the golden rule, by which I assume you mean "treat others the way you wish to be treated." my problem with the golden rule is that it assumes that everyone wishes to be treated in the same way, that is every one wants people to be nice to them. this makes no allowances for masochist who want people to be mean to them or hurt them. with that in mind a person you consider immoral could act with in the golden rule as long as he was fine with others doing the same to him.


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