Reclaiming the ‘science’ in Moral Science
A reflection of our physical contours in a simple mirror tells us how we are like – and unlike – our fellow beings. It is the first step towards deciding what, if any, we might do to make ourselves more attractive, presentable, and so on. To put it crudely, the purpose of a simple mirror or its equivalent is to gauge what we like about ourselves and what we do not, and therefore, what in our physical appearance may appeal, and what might make it more appealing, to other individuals. The others would include people who are close to us, people whom we might want to impress, and, indeed, the world at large. The process of making our physical selves suited to our own tastes as well as to each of the categories of others involves a complex thought process that draws on experience, hearsay and imagination. We accordingly add and/ or subtract accoutrements to achieve the physical transformation of ourselves, the reflection of which we are likely to once again scrutinise and reflect on.
Instead of the image of the raw physical self, consider reflecting on the reflection a moral mirror would reveal: an image of our intrinsic individual nature. What might contemplating on this image reveal? Might it not inform us about the qualities that make our individual self? And, assuming our individual nature is a sum total of these qualities, where on the moral scale might we place ourselves?
Just as engagement with the reflection of our selves in the simple mirror is voluntary, continual, and lifelong, and also takes it for granted that we can estimate the values that operate in the minds of others who are not likely to be very different from us, so too would have to be our engagement with reflecting on our reflection in the moral mirror.
[To be continued]