Why be Moral? Morality and Dieting Glaucon's Challenge

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UW-Rock County

Ethics

UW-Rock County

Ethics

Why be Moral?

Why be Moral?

Stephen E. Schmid

1

UW-Rock County

Ethics

• •

Why bother worrying about being a moral person?

• •

Should one be a moral person for the consequences?

Should one be a moral person for its own sake, for the sake of being moral?

Are the consequences of being good alone justification for morality?

Stephen E. Schmid

UW-Rock County

Ethics

Glaucon’s Challenge

Morality and Dieting

• • • •

2

Is being moral like going on a diet?



Dieting is unpleasurable because it deprives us of things we enjoy, of pleasures.

Glaucon wonders if being moral really can be or should be pursued for its own sake.



Glaucon argues that being just or moral is pursued only for the consequences it brings:

Is acting morally unpleasurable?

• •

Do we act morally, like we diet, because we think there are beneficial consequences?

Stephen E. Schmid

3

it results in society’s approval with resulting rewards, and avoids society’s disapproval and punishments

Stephen E. Schmid

4

UW-Rock County

Ethics

UW-Rock County

Glaucon’s Ring Bearer

• •

Perfectly Unjust vs. Perfectly Just

• •

The Perfectly Unjust person has a flawless reputation in society

Ring-bearer analogy intended to support the thesis that being moral is an unpleasant, but self-serving pursuit motivated by results



Is Glaucon right, would most people act in this manner? Would they be unjust and immoral if they knew they could get away with it?

In this scenario, what’s the point of being moral? If the appearance of being moral brings more benefit than really being moral, why be moral?



Wouldn’t the Perfectly Just person be happier if they adopted the Perfectly Unjust person’s strategy?



If being moral should be pursued for its own sake, then what good is it?

Stephen E. Schmid

UW-Rock County

5

Ethics

The Perfectly Just person is misunderstood and maligned by society

Stephen E. Schmid

Ethics

Self Interest

Society’s Morality

• • •

6

UW-Rock County

Society’s Morality and Personal Morality



Ethics

Why does society need to be moral? Are there benefits to society being moral?

Personal Morality

• • • •

Why should one be moral?



Glaucon argues that one should pursue one’s immediate, narrow interests



Seems that being moral for its own sake requires that we look beyond these immediate, narrow self-interests



Living the good life. How do we get there from here?

Can one convince another to be moral for its own sake? How does one acquire a “moral point of view”? If one says that being moral for its own sake makes one a better person, isn’t one saying there are benefits to being moral? Isn’t this just Glaucon’s point?

Stephen E. Schmid

7

Stephen E. Schmid

8

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Why be Moral? Morality and Dieting Glaucon's Challenge

UW-Rock County Ethics UW-Rock County Ethics Why be Moral? Why be Moral? Stephen E. Schmid 1 UW-Rock County Ethics • • Why bother worrying a...

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