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The Ethics of Suspicion

The Ethics of Suspicion 3 The Ethics of Suspicion ROBERT BERNASCONI Memphis State University Ethics is often defined, as Kant defined it, by the question "Was soll ich tun?" The ethical question is to be answered by a moral imperative, a prescription, an "ought," that may be freely chosen or refused. The moral imperative is supposed to direct us toward the right thing, whatever it is, and there is a widespread assumption that there must be a single proper course of action to follow, even in the case of a moral dilemma where there are conflicting duties. Furthermore it is generally believed that ethics can only demand of us what it is in our power to perform. It would appear, for example, that Kant was persuaded that one can derive "can" from "ought": "we ought to conform to it; consequently we must be able to do so."1 Just as one can be held responsible only for what is an effect of one's free choice (RV 694; RR 40), duty can only require what is possible (RV 720; RR 60). But what ought we to do? Legislative conscience is introduced as the final court of appeal. It dictates what should be done in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Research in Phenomenology Brill

The Ethics of Suspicion

Research in Phenomenology , Volume 20 (1): 3 – Jan 1, 1990

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1990 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0085-5553
eISSN
1569-1640
DOI
10.1163/156916490X00018
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

3 The Ethics of Suspicion ROBERT BERNASCONI Memphis State University Ethics is often defined, as Kant defined it, by the question "Was soll ich tun?" The ethical question is to be answered by a moral imperative, a prescription, an "ought," that may be freely chosen or refused. The moral imperative is supposed to direct us toward the right thing, whatever it is, and there is a widespread assumption that there must be a single proper course of action to follow, even in the case of a moral dilemma where there are conflicting duties. Furthermore it is generally believed that ethics can only demand of us what it is in our power to perform. It would appear, for example, that Kant was persuaded that one can derive "can" from "ought": "we ought to conform to it; consequently we must be able to do so."1 Just as one can be held responsible only for what is an effect of one's free choice (RV 694; RR 40), duty can only require what is possible (RV 720; RR 60). But what ought we to do? Legislative conscience is introduced as the final court of appeal. It dictates what should be done in

Journal

Research in PhenomenologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1990

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