[Advaita-l] 'End' not 'Means'
garib_ram at yahoo.co.in
Tue May 2 19:51:56 CDT 2006
> On Fri, 28 Apr 2006, Aditya Varun Chadha wrote:
> > These ideas ofcourse have been encoded in
> > scriptures, but they are in the scriptures because
> someone saw them
> > pratyakSa. In the scriptures or not, all ethical
> dogma can be derived
> > purely from pratyakSa. Since pratyakSa is
> contingent on individual
> > perception, dogma may in varying contexts be
> proven of varying value.
While I am not a big fan of scripture based ethics, I
believe the above is taking things a bit too far.
At the core of the issue is age old debate whether
nature of ethics is cognitive or non-cognitive. A
cognitive stand would mean that ethical statements are
propositions (truth-apt statements) while
non-cognitive would mean that ethical statements are
non-propositions (non-truth-apt statements). However
starting from meta-ethics to normative ethics to
applied ethics both the stands seem to provide an
equally consistent approach.
To make things further complicated, language itself
seems to affect the nature of ethical statements. The
classic example is, consider the two paragraphs:
Eating meat is not wrong. Is eating meat wrong? I
think that eating meat is wrong. Joe doesn't think
that eating meat is wrong. I once thought that eating
meat was wrong. She does not realize that eating meat
Eating meat is wrong" is a false statement. Is "eating
meat is wrong" a true statement? I think that "eating
meat is wrong" is a true statement. Joe doesn't think
that "eating meat is wrong" is a true statement. I
once thought that "eating meat is wrong" was a false
statement. She does not realize that "eating meat is
wrong" is a true statement.
The analysis of the two types, leads to very different
ethical conclusions though from the usage point, they
convey the same idea.
Unfortunately, the debate between cognitivism vs.
non-cognitivism is far from settled. The only
reasonable conclusion is that taking one extreme at
the exclusion of the other is probably not true.
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