His father was a master harness maker, and his mother was the daughter of a harness maker, though she was better educated than most women of her social class.
Environmentalists use the metaphor of the earth as a "spaceship" in trying to persuade countries, industries and people to stop wasting and polluting our natural resources. Since we all share life on this planet, they argue, no single person or institution has the right to destroy, waste, or use more than a fair share of its resources.
But does everyone on earth have an equal right to an equal share of its resources? The spaceship metaphor can be dangerous when used by misguided idealists to justify suicidal policies for sharing our resources through uncontrolled immigration and foreign aid. In their enthusiastic but unrealistic generosity, they confuse the ethics of a spaceship with those of a lifeboat.
A true spaceship would have to be under the control of a captain, since no ship could possibly survive if its course were determined by committee.
Spaceship Earth certainly has no captain; the United Nations is merely a toothless tiger, with little power to enforce any policy upon its bickering members.
If we divide the world crudely into rich nations and poor nations, two thirds of them are desperately poor, and only one third comparatively rich, with the United States the wealthiest of all.
Metaphorically each rich nation can be seen as a lifeboat full of comparatively rich people. In the ocean outside each lifeboat swim the poor of the world, who would like to get in, or at least to share some of the wealth.
What should the lifeboat passengers do? First, we must recognize the limited capacity of any lifeboat. For example, a nation's land has a limited capacity to support a population and as the current energy crisis has shown us, in some ways we have already exceeded the carrying capacity of our land.
Adrift in a Moral Sea So here we sit, say 50 people in our lifeboat. To be generous, let us assume it has room for 10 more, making a total capacity of Suppose the 50 of us in the lifeboat see others swimming in the water outside, begging for admission to our boat or for handouts.
We have several options: The boat swamps, everyone drowns. Complete justice, complete catastrophe.
Since the boat has an unused excess capacity of 10 more passengers, we could admit just 10 more to it. But which 10 do we let in?
How do we choose? Do we pick the best 10, "first come, first served"? And what do we say to the 90 we exclude? If we do let an extra 10 into our lifeboat, we will have lost our "safety factor," an engineering principle of critical importance. For example, if we don't leave room for excess capacity as a safety factor in our country's agriculture, a new plant disease or a bad change in the weather could have disastrous consequences.
Suppose we decide to preserve our small safety factor and admit no more to the lifeboat. Our survival is then possible although we shall have to be constantly on guard against boarding parties. While this last solution clearly offers the only means of our survival, it is morally abhorrent to many people.
Some say they feel guilty about their good luck. My reply is simple: The needy person to whom the guilt-ridden person yields his place will not himself feel guilty about his good luck.
If he did, he would not climb aboard. The net result of conscience-stricken people giving up their unjustly held seats is the elimination of that sort of conscience from the lifeboat.
This is the basic metaphor within which we must work out our solutions. Let us now enrich the image, step by step, with substantive additions from the real world, a world that must solve real and pressing problems of overpopulation and hunger. The harsh ethics of the lifeboat become even harsher when we consider the reproductive differences between the rich nations and the poor nations.
The people inside the lifeboats are doubling in numbers every 87 years; those swimming around outside are doubling, on the average, every 35 years, more than twice as fast as the rich. And since the world's resources are dwindling, the difference in prosperity between the rich and the poor can only increase.
As ofthe U.
Outside our lifeboat, let us imagine another million people say the combined populations of Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Morocco, Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines who are increasing at a rate of 3. Put differently, the doubling time for this aggregate population is 21 years, compared to 87 years for the U.
The harsh ethics of the lifeboat become harsher when we consider the reproductive differences between rich and poor.Responsibility. We evaluate people and groups as responsible or not, depending on how seriously they take their responsibilities.
Often we do this informally, via moral judgment.
Conscience is a cognitive process that elicits emotion and rational associations based on an individual's moral philosophy or value system. Conscience stands in contrast to elicited emotion or thought due to associations based on immediate sensory perceptions and reflexive responses, as in sympathetic CNS responses.
For Adorno, popular culture is not just bad art – it enslaves us to repetition and robs us of our aesthetic freedom. As Plato unified philosophy by its fundamental components, we’ve unified psychology by its fundamental components.
We distill the pseudoscientific mess of today’s psychology to its purified form. Moral Imagination: Essays [David Bromwich] on initiativeblog.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Spanning many historical and literary contexts, Moral Imagination brings together a dozen recent essays by one of America's premier cultural critics.
David Bromwich explores the importance of imagination and sympathy to suggest how these faculties may illuminate the motives of human action and the.
Immanuel Kant (–) is the central figure in modern philosophy. He synthesized early modern rationalism and empiricism, set the terms for much of nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy, and continues to exercise a significant influence today in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and other fields.