Moral Science: The Object and the Objective

Reclaiming the ‘science’ in Moral Science

Every discipline or area of study intends to better comprehend some ‘thing’. A discipline like Ophthalmology, for instance, seeks to better understand the eye, even more specifically, perhaps, the human eye. Nowadays, Ophthalmology has branched into sub-specialities such as neuro-ophthalmology and paediatric ophthalmology. Hypothetically, the possibilities for future branches and branchlets of the discipline are limitless. However, it is possible to trace the origin of all these disciplines and sub-disciplines to Biology, which is the study of living organisms. Morphology emerged from biology when certain persons began to concern themselves exclusively with the study of the form of living organisms. Anatomy  emerged from Morphology as dissection became a method to study the structure of living organisms  – or how they were put together, and Physiology specialized in the study of the functioning of the body parts – or how they worked together. Medicine can be described as an interdisciplinary study, which grew out of the intensive engagement with structure and functioning, and which concerns itself with how to address malfunctions in the physiology of living organism.

Moral Science, too, can be said to originate in Biology as it is essentially concerned with the living organism. However, the specific concern of the Science of Morals would be the nature of the individual.  What are the forces that impact this nature? How can these forces be managed so that the individual/s may reflexively do what ought to be done such that their thoughts, words and action are intrinsically moral, i.e. untainted by greed, hatred and/ or delusion?

[To be continued]


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