Last revised: Monday, 30 January 17 11:58:13 Europe/London
<LINK: Discussion of these pages>
It is important to be clear that this Project does not claim, or aim, to set out absolute ethical verities. It should be clear from the outset that there are particular founding positions, making clear the foundations from which the rest of the framework has been developed. At the same time, these should be as few and as broadly stated as possible - if there is an ambition for eventual broad acceptance, the foundations must not be unneccessarily restrictive.
These might include (NB: this list must be understood as a provocation for lively discussion!) :
- A strong commitment to freedom of action as the base assumption - that the purpose of the ethics is to enhance freedom of action by providing individuals / groups with confidence in their own judgement / values.
- Awkward but important NB: the philosophical underpinnings of this position are, as with most aspects of philosophy, the subject of continuing and continuous debate, with the writings of Plato and Aristotle still as much 'in play' as the most recent publications. One implication of this is that philosophy could become a rabbit-hole for this Project. At some point, this will have to be addressed. For myself, the discussion here seems to set the tone usefully enough. For a crude summary; whatever the actual status of 'identity', as a consciousness in the world, I am aware that my actions have impacts which are not neutral; that accepted, it is incumbent on me, for my own self-respect and integrity, to seek to understand how to act in such a way that these impacts are minimally harmful and maximally beneficial.
- A statement about secularity of intent / a broadly agnostic position - uninterested in beliefs, statements or propositions about issues which are fundamentally beyond material investigation - perhaps stated as a self-imposed limitation; deliberate avoidance of statements about spiritual belief, or, conversely a restriction to matters with real-world manifestation.
- A commitment to rationalism in its broadest interpretation [what I hope to imply by 'broadest interpretation' is that the rationalism applied must not be more reductive than strictly necessary - that a rational case is accepted, that humans are not adequately represented by eg binary logic propositions and relations].
- A commitment to working towards implementable / operable recommendations.
- A recognition that optimisation criteria should not be over-simplified.
- Clarity of intention to avoid being limited by 'rear-view mirror' understandings and reactions.
There must also also be a parallel statement about what the Project considers its purpose of its deliverables to be - a statement of Aims.