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.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
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 (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220305 Ethical Theory
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441099 Sociology not elsewhere classified
50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5003 Philosophy > 500306 Ethical theory

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