Alright, to continue venting the philosophical steam I’ve been gathering over the past few
days months, here’s another one.
“Nothing material, neither action nor object, is intriniscally good or evil/moral or immoral.”
Let’s start with objects. This one’s pretty easy.
Look at, say, a gun. Some may say a gun is intrinsically evil. OK, throw ‘em in a cage with a starving tiger, then shoot the tiger. Is the gun still evil?
I think’s it’s pretty obvious what I’m getting at. The morality of an object only exists when it is involved in an action.
Sounds simple enough. I’ll take this largely for granted, since most of the discussion about ethics here has been about the ethics of actions, not objects, like the morality of guns or pornography.
Now, let’s look at objects. To quote the eminent theologian and physicist John Khoo:
“[...]principle of double effect, promulgated by one St. Thomas Aquinas. Look at it this way. When I defend myself, I’m preventing someone from getting killed, with the secondary effect of possibly killing two would-be murderers. I intended to save my own life, but it results in the death of those two chaps. But when I go out into the street a fire of my gun hoping to kill a random passerby, that is wrong, even if I live in turn-of-the-century Nazi Germany and happened to kill Adolf Hitler (thereby saving a bunch of Jews). It would morally permissible, however, to save the Holocaust victims by killing HItler. See, the difference is in the intention. In the first one, I intend to commit, in a word, murder. In the second, I intend to save Holocaust victims. That’s the difference. Intention.”
Alright, ’nuff said. Morality of actions is based on the morality of the intentions behind them.
Since intentions are obviously not physical (I can’t take one out of my pocket and give it to you), the second part of the above premise is satisfied.
Since both parts are satisfied, the premise is true (duh).