RECLAIMING THE ‘SCIENCE’ IN MORAL SCIENCE [An episodic essay]
When skills are auctioned, when emotions become commodities, when knowledge is enslaved by commerce; when plagiarism is acknowledged as literature, and political clout masquerades as concern – whenever these things happen, and they have become commonplace, ‘greed has grown beyond mere gluttony’ one may shrug and move on. It may seem incongruous that there is a failure to engage with these issues symptomatic of apparent deterioration in human values. But step back and consider: When Kerry Packer innovated the limited overs version in the game of cricket, and lured players from across the globe with mammon, several national federations suspended these cricketers. Later, when the Packer version of the game became par for the course, the inventor of this version of the game was forgotten, and so were the bans on the cricketers. Cricket, and cricketers, since, have become even more commoditized. Self-effacement was once a value among creative artists. Not unoften they were dead before their works became celebrated. Today, it is expected of even mockers and misrepresenters of these works to parade in the arc lights. Not long ago, mass movements were fed and funded, if at all, by the masses themselves; today, fund-raising for mass movements is a respected profession that employs personnel trained for the purpose and by promoting and advertising their ‘cause’, it seems the movements feed vicariously on the people they seek to represent. Under the circumstances, it seems morality cannot be a permanent standard: Times change and values change with time. How then can the science of morals aspire to be a ‘science’?
[More to come in the coming days]