Celebrating our
Common Moral Compass

Adrian Bishop

The Centre for Defined Ethics

Anti-ethical messages in society

The reason for this is that there are several clear anti-ethical messages being powerfully promoted throughout society:

  • There's no such thing as fundamental ethical principles at all.
  • Ethics are not about fundamental principles, but are merely a series of indeterminate, inconsistent, largely cultural guidelines for arriving at a personal and arbitrary decision.
  • The concept of fundamental ethical principles is simply not important and is all rather silly because it's just cultural conditioning.
  • Ethicists and philosophers argue that there is no such thing as fundamental ethical principles at all but then have difficulty in saying much else. They can't say they are: declining, need to be taught, need to be promoted, society doesn't have them, or anything else very much, because (obviously) they don't exist. Even discussing the idea of fundamental ethical principles is regarded as unnecessary.

The ethicists and philosophers argue, that ethics are not consistent, they are merely arbitrary beliefs constantly changing according to the sophistication of the individual, time, politics, religion, culture and place. They are simply a function of national ideology. Ethics are simply another word for enculturation.

They argue that even if there were such a thing as codified ethical principles there would always be so many exceptions to any ethical principle to make any principle invalid. The principles will also contradict each other in any ethical situation. Ethical principles are as such impossible to codify and any attempt to do this will only lead to collapse of any such principle when all the multifarious exceptions and contradictions have been pointed out.

Despite this, there are ethical organisations that purport to have a Moral Compass, but only in single word, generalist and totally non-prescriptive terms. For example, one says the Moral Compass is: "Fairness, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility" whilst another says, "Have Respect for Life, Deal Honestly and Fairly, Speak and Act Truthfully, Respect and Love One Another", whilst another says, "Love, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-Violence" whilst another says, "Integrity, Responsibility and Forgiveness" whilst another says, "Wisdom, compassion and Courage". All of which shows a remarkable lack of agreement.

The result is that the necessity of standing by ethical principles is substantially undermined by the lack of any agreement on what these ethical principles actually are.

The Moral Compass Project
The Moral Compass Project

   The power of fundamental principles


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