"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Monday, February 02, 2009

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant....

Entirely as a thumbnail (and, not coincidentally as a post, a placeholder), and partially as a codicil to what I was trying to get at here, let's posit this distinction between "ethics" and "morality."

Ethics, from Aristotle through utilitarianism, is aimed at "me" and my class; that is, my place in society, my peers, the sociological group I identify myself as a member of; what have you.

Morality is directed toward the "other," and so directs me (if we must start with "me"; not as necessary a given as is often presumed) toward the other.

So we can say that "ethics" is about changing me to suit the world, and "morality" is about changing the world.

It's not a perfect distinction, but it may prove a useful one.


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