Reclaiming the ‘science’ in Moral Science
As in the case of justice where our judgements are often pregnant with misgiving, so too are we often in doubt when giving voice to our notions of the rightness or goodness of acts. This holds true of assessments we may make in our personal or individual capacities or as groups of people – whether the group is a neighbourhood, a nation or the human race. And the nebulousness of the assessments prevails regardless of whether the appraisal pertains to us/ ours or to others/ theirs.
A major reason for the imprecision of our decisions and the consequent feeling of discomfort could be attributed to obligations of obedience: the exigencies of our times require us to comply with certain norms and conform to certain standards. We submit to them in the supposedly larger interest of orderly existence. Significantly, despite the tremendous impact of the norms, standards, etc. on our everyday lives, most of us are unlikely to have had a direct role in influencing their contours. Our behaviour is, therefore, conditioned by these stimuli that are external to us in every sense of the term till the responses become routine.
Given that morality is a desirable condition in individual nature just as healthiness is in an individual’s constitution, we must make an attempt to address the defects that obtain in our nature due to our conditioned consciousness just as we strive to make amends for shortcomings on the health front that result from lifestyle compulsions.
[To be continued]