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Ethics in Society

“Live and let live. ” This sentence is almost synonymous to the golden rule almost everyone is familiar with. However, we have to acknowledge that Gert himself is questioning the real meaning of this golden rule. Thus, his statement about living and letting others live should be examined independently. Indeed this statement of Gert is excellent and I do not only agree to it but I have to say that I strongly agree with what has presented. As opposed to the rule of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” which is very ideal and could not be achieved by normal human beings, “live and let live” offers humanity a chance to be of morally virtuous character.

Morality should not be something very ideal or very utopian yet unachievable, instead, it should be something that humans can attain. As explained, morality should be a positive guide of life embodying the “lessening of evil”, not its elimination or the perfection of human values: as long as humans can live with each other in harmony, morality does not require more of it. However, a morally virtuous person tries to lessen every evil in his deed, thereby retaining the good or better side of his character.

In this situation, it is where a “better” morality is achieved, more than just passively living and letting others live. When the good moral agents act upon the virtuous character of a moral being, it makes him, as encouraged by those moral agents, act positively towards the achievement of more “lesser evil” as he helps out others around him. Thus, quoting Gert, “morality consist of more than requirements; it also encourages people to help others, to prevent and relieve the harms they are suffering.

” Morality, I agree with Gert, is not something that requires strict compliance to the ideals but to the achievement of the basic rules that govern co-existence among humans and not a set of severe ideal rules that require obedience. The applicability of morality is on everyone, thus, it should be inherent for morality to be achievable and can be followed by anyone. Morality is not a one-time guide for an action, instead, it is a guide for life letting each human live with each other.

Living with each other is not possible without their permission and efforts towards harmonious co-existence. Thus, one should not kill others because he does not want to be killed by others. But this is not as simple as this rule. Gert emphasized that this kind of rule must have reason behind it. The reason itself is morality. As previously presented in {I} the ten moral acts of a morally virtuous person do not allow him to kill, nor the rules allow him to hurt others. These guiding rules apply to everyone.

The ideas that Gert presented in his book, and in fact in all of his philosophical arguments on morality, it can be viewed that he has parallel ideas to that of John Stuart Mill. In Mill’s idea of morality and the moral worth of an action he has emphasized the importance of overall utility in having the greatest happiness and pleasure for the greater number of individuals. This argument runs parallel to that of Gert who pointed out that having pleasure is not wrong and one’s self interest is not necessarily in contradiction with his morality. One’s self interest is his pleasure.

Moreover, in Gert’s idea of “goods, evil and rationality” (Morality versus Slogans, 1989) he noted that it is evil to act and result to a “loss of pleasure” while under his arguments on moral rules, he stated that a person, to be act in accordance with these rules must not “cause pain” and must not “deprive pleasure”. It is to be understood however in the idea to “live and let live” that one’s pleasure must not cause pain to others. Therefore, what is important in the lives of human beings is that everyone can live happily in harmonic peace with each one, for all maintains their own pleasure without depriving the same from others.

“Live and let live”!


Broadway Danny Rose (1984). On-line. Available from http://www. imdb. com/title/tt0087003/plotsummary . Internet. Accessed 12 May 2008. Gert, B. 1989. Morality versus Slogans Paper Presented to the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Article on-line. Available from http://aristotle. tamu. edu/~rasmith/Courses/251/gert-paper. html . Internet. Accessed 11 May 2008. Gert, B. , ed. 2005. The Definition of Morality, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2005 Edition), Edward N. Zalta.

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