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Ethical Individualism

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  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
    DRSteiner in Ch. 8 writes:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2002
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      DRSteiner in Ch. 8 writes:

      << To this, a superficial judgment could perhaps object: How can an action be
      individually adapted to the particular instance and the particular situation,
      and yet at the same time be determined purely ideally by intuition? This
      objection is due to a confusion of the moral motive and the perceptible
      content of the action. The perceptible content could be a motive, and is one,
      for example, when an act is done for the progress of culture or out of pure
      egoism, etc., but it is not the motive when the reason for action is a pure
      moral intuition. My I naturally takes notice of this perceptual content, but
      is not determined by it. This content is used only to form a cognitive
      concept, but the moral concept that belongs to it, the I does not take from
      the object. The cognitive concept of a given situation confronting me is also
      a moral concept only if I base my view on a particular moral principle. If my
      viewpoint is limited to the general moral principle of the progress of
      culture, then I go through life along a fixed route. From every event I
      perceive which can occupy me, a moral duty also springs, namely, to do my
      best toward placing the particular event in the service of the progress of
      culture. In addition to the concept which reveals to me the natural law
      inherent in an event or object, there is also a moral label attached to it
      which contains for me, as a moral being, an ethical direction as to how I am
      to behave. This moral label is justified at a certain level, but at a higher
      level it coincides with the idea that arises in me when I face the concrete
      instance.
      Men differ greatly in their capacity for intuition. In one person ideas
      bubble up easily, while another person has to acquire them with much labor.
      The situation in which men live, which is the scene of their actions, is no
      less different. How a man acts will therefore depend on the way his capacity
      for intuition functions in the face of a given situation. The sum of ideas
      active within us, the actual content of our intuitions, is what, for all the
      universality of the idea-world, is individually constituted in each human
      being. Insofar as this intuitive content is directed toward action, it is the
      moral content of the individual. To let this content come to expression is
      the highest moral driving force and also the highest motive for the one who
      has recognized that ultimately all other moral principles unite in this
      content. This standpoint can be called ethical individualism. >>

      *******The man who looks at each specific situation and draws a moral idea
      from the ideal world by moral intuition and matches this to each perceived
      situation, is an Ethical Individualist.
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