Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Meta immorality

I suggest a new term
"meta immorality"
this is to be used to define some what we might call moral relativism and it involves a person effectively arguing against morality itself generally by way of an argument against hypocrisy.

For example if I say the criminal should repay the money he stole" and someone else says "but the complainant did it too, therefore they should shut up" the implication is that at least in some circumstances there should be no consequences for theft.

Now it is possible that the argument is actually :there should always be consequences for theft". that would be legitimate but obviously meaning is determined in part by context.

there are two ways to look at it, what the person says technically and what they are achieving. In terms of what they are saying the statement is an appeal to self interest (or threat) followed by "they should shut up". It pretty unambiguous that that is in favour of tolerating theft. in terms of what it achieves it is probably to a degree a neutralization of the original argument (which is probably one based on justice) without actually engaging it. I.e. it is "anti-justice".

Now debating morality is beyond the scope of normal morality but at the same time it is in a sense immoral to undermine morality or to argue against morality. Thus we have meta-immorality.


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