The Fully General Moral Argument

What do you do when you are arguing against X or in favor of Y but can’t think of a rational reason why these choices are inherently objectionable?

Fall back on the Fully General Moral Argument. This says that doing X or not doing Y is bad because other people will object to it. Feelings will be hurt. Sometimes the division will be so great as to cause families to split up, friendships to end, possibly even the entire society to splinter into warring tribes. Social trust and the sense of charity will decay. Thus, it is better if everyone does X and doesn’t do Y.

Since it can be used to argue in favor of any position held by a significant proportion of society, it can support good as well as bad arguments. There is nothing inherently wrong with its use, in general, societies want to avoid splintering. The question you must ask is “is the only negative effect of doing or not doing something other people’s reaction, and is this reaction reasonable or is only the result of ideologies they’ve been taught?”

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