is-for-ought-law

behold “the ladder of ethics” – a.k.a. an explorative conceptualisation of the steps we take (consciously or subconsciously – considered or assumed) when we deal with ethics/morals/laws/etc.

A while back, I did a post called ‘ontos|telos|ethos‘, and I’ll build on that, adding the codification of law (greek: nomos) to the scenario, hence, ontos, telos, ethos and nomos – or οντος → τελος → ηθος → νόμος.

  • Laws (good or bad, subjectively or objectively formed) are based on
  • ethical principles/opinions (good or bad, subjective or objective) which are based on
  • goals or ‘ends’ (good or bad, subjectively or objectively formed) which are based on
  • essence or nature – including what the thing is worth (good or bad, subjectively or objectively formed)

This is a strictly philosophical accounting of ‘the ethical ladder’ (as I understand it currently).  One can give a scientific or empirical accounting of laws, ethics, goals and nature – but it would of course be restricted to scientific (and thus prescriptively indifferent) modes of analysis.  No sorting a good law, principle, goal or nature from a bad one.  Just indifferent, numerical, statistical quantities.

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P.S. – Interestingly, Christianity can be seen in terms of this ‘ladder’ with each rung being revealed through Love.

  • Laws  = the highest Law: Love
  • ethical principle  = do what is Loving
  • goals or ‘end’ = to become like God who is Love
  • essence or nature: all reality grounded in God who’s essence/nature is Love

One thought on “is-for-ought-law”

  1. just realised the ‘for’ in the title is left unexplained:

    what something ‘is’ (including it’s value/worth) determines what it is ‘for’ (which is its purpose/end/goal/telos), which determines how it ‘ought’ to function (the domain of ethics/morals), which is often codified into a ‘law’.

    Thus, is>>for>>ought>>law (or ontos>>telos>>ethos>>nomos to try and lend more authority to the ladder by ‘going greek on it’)

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