The ethical dimension of human nature: a new realist theory

House, Ron and House, Gitie (2006) The ethical dimension of human nature: a new realist theory. International Journal of the Humanities, 3 (8). pp. 79-86. ISSN 1447-9559


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[Abstract]: Interactions amongst individuals and in larger organisations are intimately bound to the reality of the human being. From the simple fact that all sentient beings feel pleasure and pain, it follows that they must take action to avoid harm or promote benefit, in ways that suit their total reality. However, humans have a uniquely flexible mind and a language capable of communicating subtle or abstract thoughts. As a consequence, humans can ask questions on these matters with a depth that is revolutionary in terms of existence on this planet. This revolutionary new capacity must not be squandered by denying the objective and universal nature of the ethical discussion undertaken by individuals, groups and societies. Human goods are frequently intangible, but this should not mislead us into thinking that they are less real than material goods. In this analysis, ethics is the realm that connects individual human nature to societal realities such as laws. It does so in various conceptual dimensions. In the domain of willed action it recognises that human beings are neither infallible nor omniscient, and therefore cannot give effect to all their plans; so there must be a realm of unenforced obligation between what is compulsory (law) and what is completely free (personal preferences). In the realm of planning and understanding, ethics is the connective between the realities of individual human nature and those of social organisation. These are processes of mutual influence and feedback determined by reality, whether we understand that reality or not. Weaknesses in ethical theories can lead to laws and standards that cause great harm. For example, Aristotle's ethic contained no means of warning him of the evil of slavery - in this connection we examine one modern redevelopment of Aristotle. However, if there are ethical truths, grounded in reality, then unanticipated possibilities are opened for positively influencing human social and individual evolution. The Principle of Goodness is a new realist ethical theory which acknowledges truths about human nature and the vast web of interactions within which humans live and exercise their wills. Despite its simplicity, it has much to say about how people should act ethically, with influences both by and upon individuals. The trust and security that follows from treating every single one ethically as an individual will be conducive to the development of positive feedback cycles of care, concern, friendship, and compassion throughout the matrix of human interaction. The challenge, then, for those who desire a world free of inequity, conflict and insecurity is to re-examine every social field informed by this ethics, which is grounded in the inescapable reality of the human condition.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Authors retain copyright. Readers must contact Common Ground for permission to reproduce. COMMON GROUND PUBLISHING PO Box 463, Altona, Victoria, 3018, Australia.
Depositing User: epEditor USQ
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:33
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethics, Principle of Goodness, science and humanity, origin of ethics, personal ethics, individual development, human nature, social development, evolutionary psychology
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220305 Ethical Theory

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