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The Scales of Ethics

Updated on July 11, 2009

PART 1 & 2


Ethics and logic are very complex subjects by virtue of their nature. Moreover since they deal with constantly changing human behavior, the subject automatically emerges new every moment. For the same reason, it remains one of the most unchallenged domains. People often find controversies to one’s faith and prophecies. Philosophy, as always, is an inherent object of these, saying so; it necessarily does not make these two subjects any weaker. I believe, ethics and logic are two distinct core competencies of the human species; hence, an area where probably we should look more deeply into.

Although, I have coined the term scales, the subject in itself is abstract in nature and hence, necessarily the scales are ample so. Still, I have tried enough to materialize them into one of the most measurable terms. If still it remains unfathomable, I believe, it would be revised someday to make it more understandable. As a matter of fact, everything in this world starts with an abstract philosophy and slowly gets materialized.

I accept the fact that I have only a little knowledge of these vast subjects. More so, may be, because I hardly go through philosophies which have been already professed. I think, that really hampers my knowledge, but you would naturally accept that, on the other hand, it leaves me with ample space of mind to think and feed with new ideas.

Still, the areas are extremely important in an ever shrinking world. The less the barriers remain, the more would people tend to break rules, which, often constitutes with the topics that these subjects have. Thus, as we all know, the crimes would also get more complex. I believe, understanding the proper sequence of human decision making which is nonetheless dependent to these two core areas would entail us to better manage a world that is still becoming more interesting and peaceful, every new day.

The technology could never cease to expand its wings. At least, that is least desirable. Hence, what we could do is that we could increase our share of understanding of the logical thinking process of human beings so that at least we avoid mixing up crime with technological advancement.

It is also noticeable that the scales, if properly understood, have far-reaching effects in every other field of human intervention. Why so? It is so because of a simple reason that whatever we do is a result of reasoning and logic. And we think in a particular fashion. The fashion "en masse" constitutes, what we say, a generally accepted principle of social behavior, and along with that, paves the way to the creation of magnitudes for the topics of the two subjects that I touch upon.

Moreover, I am not brave enough to judge any person or the choices of anyone. My job here is just to scale the judgments without labeling them.



This paper is really going to be interesting. I have some bizarre findings and some are really worth a deep notice. I have found that though a large weight is given to logic and ethics in every social structure, people perceive the rules to be a “standard” and so they feel free to adjust themselves according to their own preferences and choices so that they could match up to the maximum of their own aspirations. In other words, there is no hard bound rule of ethics and logic.

Now, what I want to say is that though many epics and classics have constantly termed the limits of “goodness,” and have defined them (the basics of ethics or to be frank, the standards), most people think these standards to be idealistic than practical. Thus; though we perceive all the qualities of some “hero” (a standard character) to be really great. We consider them to be at a level best, the maximum and often a non-practical dilemma. Thus; there is no hesitation from people’s side to adjust the scale, when it comes to act as an ingredient in our pleasures or choices of living. The less of any particular scale of social standard has always been more pleasurable to us.

The diversion from a set standard is often a spontaneous process and it depends on the bearer to which extent he/she might go. While most people slide down and hide, some go overboard and become criminals* or psychologically affected. Thus; it is solely upon one’s intensions whether to stick to some principles considered to be ethical or to deviate from them, once, twice, or often.

This deviation in another way gives rise to the proposition that there must be a phenomenon of movement on a particular scale. Thus there should be a scale.

Now, when we consider a scale for our ethical concepts, many solutions to the legal and social problems come naturally. For example, if we put up the consideration: “stealing is bad” at a point 10 and “stealing is good” at a point 1, then 5 would give us a neutral point. We could term 5 to be “stealing is neither good nor bad.” Thus at 5, stealing becomes a phenomenon guided by external factors. (Refer to the photograph for better understanding)


It's obvious that the middle-most point is almost vulnerable to external factors, and unfortunately most of the time, most of the people are on that point only. However, there are plenty of examples of people who lie in the top positions of some particular scale. For example, Emmannual Kant himself and Adolf Hitler would definitely be suited to this dignity, although in different scales.

However, a more important point would be how we deal with the middle portion of the scale, because most of the people in our society, or so called the general man would be having a scale almost similar to that.

An important outcome of such a scale would be that people who lie at point 0 would be someone for whom the phenomenon or the subject of the scale is non-existent. Moreover, if we could imagine one or two more units over 10 we'd get very hardcore believers of some particular reasoning which can again be a disorder. However, again, this is not our concern, at least not predominant, as we're rather dealing with general conditions rather than extremity.

Now, you could see that apart from the beginning, middle and the end points on the scale, there are other points as well. If one lies between 0 & 5, he'd consider stealing not to be a bad activity, and could turn a thief any point of time in his life. However, the person who lies between 5 -10 (above 5) would consider stealing to be a bad activity and hence there is more probability that he never steals in his life. Still, it's not sure whether he'll remain in that region forever. That is so because, you'd come to know, that there are many scales at any given point of time and all of them are co-related. A given decision; thus, is never taken solely depending upon only one scale and the net result is a mutual outcome of addition from consideration of all the scales, at a given point of time.

I would like to term these other scales, which are not the major concern when we're taking up a particular scale as "external factors", about which I had mentioned in my Part 1 note too.

The meaning after all is that at any given point of time, no person can be ideally considering a situation lying on a single scale. This is so because life demands us to react to every stimulus. There are many stimuli pertaining to various needs, wants and demands of course at any point of time. Hence, in a person's day-to-day life there are many stimuli acting at any given point, so naturally the person would be considering many scales.

To give an example, let us think about a case when a person considers bribing for getting a job. While understanding this, please do think of all necessary pre conditions in that person’s life.

Now, the most important scale, or the case of ethical judgment, would be whether to bribe or not. In other words, he would take up the major "scale of bribery". However, at that instant of time when the person makes the decision, there might be some other scales acting upon the process. These minor scales would be discussed in later section of the paper.

Now let us consider the case when a person thinks bribery not to be a bad activity at all. In the scale that we have talked about if the person lies between 0 - 5 (not = 5) he/she would naturally tend to bribe without considering other factors (when this particular scale exists singly). Similarly, a person lying between 5 -10 won't bribe if only one scale acts upon his decision making process.

Now, we must also consider the fact that the person seeking a job may belong to a family which has its own needs. Thus the person also takes into account the "need" factor. Now the person's 'Ethics "need" Scale' would be an external factor while the person considers the primary scale. But when the person starts thinking about his family needs, he is also influenced by some secondary scales.

This segmentation of scales is important because they could predominantly affect the decision making process. moreover, it is generally found that a person would soon provide more weight age to the scale which is in secondary segment ( as soon as it comes into play) than the primary provided his score in the secondary segment is higher than the primary one ( that is the score in primary say, is 2 and the secondary is 8). Similarly, a common man would provide more emphasis on a tertiary scale segment ( if it exists) if his score in that scale is much higher than the primary and secondary ones. But as it is obvious, if the need factor is more important the person would have a stronger score in the secondary scale than the primary one. Thus, a person, in a normal situation, would bribe given that he needs a job ( tertiary preference) and his family would gain substantially from it (secondary segment) rather than thinking that if he bribes, he is snatching someone else's opportunity who might be unable to bribe and hence needs the job more than himself (primary segment).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Note: Segments are different from the scales, while scales act upon the decision making process single, the segments are broader in sense. The segments classify the thinking process of a person. If he thinks about himself or about his immediate relatives he's in the primary segment. Similarly, if he thinks about his friends and immediate cousins he's thinking in the secondary segment. But if a person thinks about someone he hardly knows about it's in tertiary segment.


Thus, we can not think of solitary existence of any scale. At any given situation, all the three segments would co-exist. Importantly, the number of scales in any particular segment would decide the ultimate decision. Thus, when there are more scales in the primary segment, than the other two segments, the person is going to decide in favor of the primary segment.

Generally, the number of scales in the primary segment would be the maximum and hence, we would find that a person would try to satisfy his/her motives first. By that sense, we'd say that "most of teh people , most of the times are selfish."

Now, we are able to justify that all external factors, as we had termed earlier, would necessarily be some scales in themselves, lying in some particular segment.


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