Monday, January 4, 2016

Distingushing between Right and Moral

I know I posted a short essay but here's a quandary I've mulling over for a little while.  If morality only involves consequences (involving pain to be specific) and not motivations is the bear who eats the goat immoral?  We have a tendency to say "no" because we recognize the bear is doing what's in his nature for survival.  A brief note should be added that though the animal will suffer since it will be killed to be eaten seems to be relatively small compared to living in a painful state for example, however some pain is involved and if this fact is our only significant factor we must concede, seemingly, the bear is being immoral.
Or rather that the bear is at-least doing something wrong - though perhaps not "immoral."  I think creating this distinction in concepts will help us see the truth of things.  All creatures are born in a state of "sin" for they can and inevitably will do wrong, by their nature, and will inflict pain on another creature fated both to be in pain and inflict pain on another.  Moral or immoral however should be references to a person's psychological state or the motivations for an individual action.  An action can be "moral" but wrong and also seemingly "immoral" but right.  A person can with kindness kill someone when killing them produces more pain (for others) than otherwise would have been produced - either due-to irrational people who morn, the death of a "cancer-curer" and therefore the lack of remedy for the pains of millions or any other factor or combination of factors that could produce pain from the death of someone.
Human beings are also born in "sin" doing their tendency towards egoism - this is something that Kant goes into with his conception of evil being simply a deficiency or a lack of good will, i.e. selfishness.  However, though doing some degree of "wrong" (producing pain) is incurable (at-least for the time being) performing "immoral" actions (actions without moral consideration for those affected) is "curable" or preventable - it is "cured" through the ascetic, selfless mindset of rejecting Egoism.  
So yes, it seems someone like Kant is, if there is validity to the aforementioned notions and their reasoning, right in saying that morality is entirely about one's state-of-being and not about the consequences.  However, he fails to understand that the only thing that matters in-and-of-itself is an actions consequence - the state of the world and the people (and animals which too carry moral weight, in that they are capable of suffering and therefore deserve our moral intentions just as much as a man or woman does) within it.  
 In terms of value-theory and deciding one's actions, what is right or wrong is determined entirely by the results of the action and will less pain exist because of the action than either through lack of said action or through an alternative course of action(s).  However, the "morality" of an action is determined by the sentiments or motivating factor(s) of the acting agent.  That is why we do not call the bear that kills "immoral" but still contend (especially if it killed a man in-part due-to our egos and speciesism) that it (or at-least I would) did something "wrong" by creating more pain in the world.  It is made especially excusable considering we know the bear is acting out of biological necessity and that if it decided (as if it could) not to eat it would suffer from hunger and undernourishment and then die.  As would all living things which require food but refuse to eat.  This is what the pessimists mean when they say we are stuck between a rock and a hard place - that nature is designed without our consideration and to live others must suffer and die.  Human beings however can use their reasoning to create a dietary scheme for themselves with as little suffering as possible.  This could even involve the consumption of flesh.  For killing an animal does not necessitate the animal suffering.  The animal living does but its life can but extinguished painlessly.  Dead things don't feel pain so the consumption of flesh is not wrong in my eyes; however, some facts about our food chain are (or could at-least be seen as potentially) wrong for they do produce more pain than the alternatives.  There will always be "wrong" but if we consider others (including non-human animals) as autonomous agents capable of feeling pain, there doesn't always have to be "immorality."  The "sin" of Nature will always exist but not the "sin" of will.

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