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Welcome to the New Ethics mini wiki at Scratchpad!
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The New Ethics is a level 2 subset of the New Philosophy. It is a critical and experimental ethics focussed on developing a method for living a good life, rather than expounding yet another specific this-is-what-is-best-for-you ethical theory. The goal is to pick us people up where we are at and help us to improve upon our current explicit or inexplicit ethical positions.
For the time being this new ethic is mostly a critical aristotelianism, but only because we need somewhere from which to start. Aristotle's virtue ethics, when stripped of its specific content, provides us with a basic framework within which to work and which we can gradually modify to suit our current purposes.
This New Ethics is divided into critical virtues, critical ends, critical goods and critical decision theory.
It is accepted that we require regularities according to which we might structure our lives; however, these regularities need not look exactly like aristotle's virtues, kant's maxims or whatever else human thinkers have come up with. Sometimes virtues are the best tool to achieve what we want, sometimes maxims and sometimes good old-fashioned rules.
A critical theory of the virtues is mostly concerned with how to decide which 'virtues' are best for me at this point of time and how to acquire these 'virtues' or follow these maxims/rules.
A critical theory of the virtues also accepts that the means of aquiring virtues or following rules can themselves be non-intellectual activities (such as yoga, sports, playing chess or go, etc.).
We must first of all question the standard assumption that we live towards one single definite end in life (usually called eudamonia, happiness or well-being). It is possible that we are living towards more than one end, which cannot be easily subsumed under one more general end. It must also be noted that some people might not live at all with specific ends in mind (ends are functionnaly equivalent to general maxims, the former giving the goal, the other a general direction; negative ends are often easier to formulate).
A critical theory of ends is mostly concerned with strategies for reconciling conflicting ends both within a person and between people.
The aristotelian final good (happiness) might not be the best formulation for the good of all goods. The best formulations might be of multiple goods (see critical ends, above) or of quasi-goods.
It might no longer be possible to explicitly define what are the goods i/we embrace. Goods might not be static entities (anymore), but rather moving targets. A critical good is thus a concept that we must continually re-define, knowing that each re-definition will cause us to change our behavior, which in turn will probably trigger yet another re-definition.