eHandout 4 - On The Golden Rule

eHandout 4 - On The Golden Rule - No. 4 eHandout Business...

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e Handout No. 4 Dr. David E. McClean On The Golden Rule (Ethics of Reciprocity) What follows was prepared by Dr. Jan Garrett (Western Kentucky University-Retired). A summary of a number of topics in normative ethics may be found at Dr. Garrett’s site: . I recommend that you visit it. It is a very “student friendly” collection of useful summaries. --------- All major religions appear to include an ethic of reciprocity , either in its positive form, as in Luke 6:31 or Mencius VII.A.4, or in its negative form, as in Doctrine of the Mean 13.3 or the Talmud . (See below for the texts of a few versions.) A positive formulation : "As you would wish that others should do to you, do also to them likewise." A negative formulation : "Do not impose upon others what you yourself do not desire." Researchers in animal behavior have found that nonhuman animals frequently cooperate with other animals in their own groups. Such cooperation clearly contributes to the ability of the group to survive in its particular environment. Something like the ethic of reciprocity may have been necessary for human communities to survive their first million years on earth as communities of social animals. A tendency to engage in behaviors corresponding to reciprocity appears to be "hard-wired" in us. Perhaps the major religions, which arose in periods of great social stress, 1 restated in words what humans have always instinctively known. It was likely important to state it because desperate circumstances tempt individuals to set aside this "wisdom of nature" and adopt excessively self-interested strategies. The Golden Rule is affirmed in societies that claim to value truth-telling, promise-keeping, respect for
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2012 for the course PHIL 201 taught by Professor Unknown during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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eHandout 4 - On The Golden Rule - No. 4 eHandout Business...

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