There are three overlapping “moralities:”
A. Individual “morality” – individual opinion
B. Society’s “morality” – social convention
C. Morality (the real deal)
For example: A plantation owner in 1850’s Alabama.
A represents the plantation owner.
B represents the laws and social standards of 1850’s Alabama.
C represents true morality.
1. Individual opinion only: The plantation owner believes that he
can do anything he wants with his own property, including his
slaves – something most of his neighbors find a bit extreme.
2. Social convention only: Slaves must be registered with the
state and, although most find this reasonable, it is something the plantation owner nevers bothers with.
3. Individual opinion and social convention: Slavery was accepted and permitted in Alabama, which the
plantation owner certainly agrees with.
4. Individual opinion and true morality: The plantation owner believes he has a moral duty to care for his
elderly father, even though most of his neighbors would be just as happy to see the old coot croak.
5. Social convention and true morality: The state – and most people of that time and place – says that all
human beings, slaves included, should be well treated. The plantation owner doesn’t always agree.
6. True morality, separate from both individual opinion and social convention: Slavery is wrong and should
be eliminated – even though that is something neither the plantation owner nor his neighbors nor his state
legislators find acceptable!
7. All three: There are laws against murder, following general moral principles, and the plantation owner
|Academic Level||College (1-2 years: Freshmen, Sophomore)|
|Number of Pages||4 Page(s)/1100 words|