The Golden Rule and a Theory of Moral Reasoning

Thomas L. Carson

in Lying and Deception

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577415
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722813 | DOI:
The Golden Rule and a Theory of Moral Reasoning

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This chapter develops a theory of moral reasoning in the form of rationality conditions for moral judgments. The chapter argues that moral judges must be: 1) consistent, 2) adequately informed by knowledge of relevant facts (this requires vividly understanding relevant considerations, including the feelings of others), and 3) able to reason properly and have properly functioning cognitive abilities. The chapter argues that requirements of consistency commit us to the following version of the golden rule: “If I think it would be morally permissible for someone to do a certain act to another person, then I must not object to someone doing the same act to me (or someone I love) in relevantly similar circumstances.” The chapter answers several well-known objections to the golden rule and illustrate how it can be applied to cases.

Keywords: moral-reasoning; golden rule; universalizability; consistency; moral nihilism; R. M. Hare; Harry Gensler

Chapter.  13915 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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