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What if all Decisions Were Moral Decisions?

Updated on May 14, 2014

Rousseau, the man himself

When taking a look at Jean-Jacques Rousseau's deontological moral arguments, I came across an issue with his theories. He almost turns what should be a mundane every-day-life question, decision, or action into one of morality.

This got me thinking.

What if all decisions really were moral decisions?

What should I have for dinner?

Regular considerations:

  • What do I already have in the freezer?
  • How much money do I have in my wallet?
  • What can I afford to take out of the bank?
  • How much time do I have to eat?
  • Do I have any guests over for dinner?

Moral considerations:

  • Is the packaging on this pre-prepared lasagna eco-friendly?
  • Is the meat in this pre-prepared lasagna free range?
  • Am I a terrible human being for shredding a cow and eating it for dinner?
  • Should I spend the money donating to charity rather than buying a steak?
  • Should I buy this steak from a local store rather than a chain store?
  • Should I be supporting local restaurants instead of cooking my own meals?
  • Should I be hunting and gathering my own food so I don't feed into capitalism?
  • I should become a vegetarian because morality.

Consider this before you make an omelette!

Should I go to the cinema?

Regular considerations:

  • Do I have any work/chores?
  • Do I have enough money to visit the cinema?
  • Is there something else more fun and engaging I could be doing?

Moral considerations:

  • Should I be visiting my granny in hospital instead?
  • Should I be spending my time more productively, such as charity work?
  • Will I be putting people out of a job if I don't go?
  • Should I illegally download the film instead or would that be bad?
  • Should I invite friends and let them share in the enjoyment?
  • What if I meet a cute boy there, let one thing lead to another and end up facing the highly debated philosophical issue of abortion?
  • What if I accidentally step on a snail along the way?

Speaking of the cinema:

Okay in all seriousness, this is a genuine issue.

In the majority of cases we've no need to think about the morality behind what we do. Whether we go to the gym, whether we go on a diet, whether we buy a new video game, it's all up to us.

But there are times, and they usually occur daily, when we should think of the impact our choices will make on those around us before we actually make that choice.

Sometimes we forget the importance of morality, and even if it is just an abstract concept created by mankind it was created for a reason.

So think about that tomorrow.

Make your day a moral day.

Influence the world for the better, even in the smallest of ways.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love your final message. No man is an island...true words...everything we do has an impact, and woe is the man, or woman, who does not understand that. Wonderful article my new friend.

    • Amy Naylor profile image
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      Amy Naylor 2 years ago from England

      Thank you very much billybuc!

      I'm glad that message came across.

    • Shandala profile image

      Shannon 2 years ago from Canada

      Well said! You really got me thinking! I believe humans are certainly creatures of habit and we easily fall into the trap of auto-piloting our day to day decisions. We don't realize our seemingly innocuous routines could be affecting so much more than our daily lives. Thanks for the food for thought!

    • Amy Naylor profile image
      Author

      Amy Naylor 2 years ago from England

      I think it's very important to become mindful of all the things that enabled you in your action. There could be a whole host of things going on that you aren't aware of and a whole host of people who have placed us in a position of comfort. It's very easy to take that for granted. Once we become mindful, we become grateful, and once we become grateful we can truly appreciate how fortunate we really are.

      Thank you for your comment!

    • OdysseusMakridis profile image

      Odysseus Makridis 2 years ago from Netcong, NJ

      There is a distinction between descriptive and normative statements that seems ineradicable from language. Of course, language itself is prescriptive. Within modalities, deontic is not the only type. Here is an attempt to show this: think of the formula "if +p then p" where "+" is the modal. We want this for a modal called alethic: "if p has to be true, than p is true." But we don't want it for deontic modals: "if p is morally obligatory, then p is true." Unfortunately, this is not the case.

      This shows that alethic modals are different in their logical behavior from deontic modals.

      Your posting is interesting - it poses a challenge.

      What is Rousseau's point exactly?

      Is he a deontologist? Kant was influenced by him - so he said. The relevant part of Rousseau's theory here is his theory of the general will, I think.

      It is great to initiate a discussion about this. Although he is famous around the world, Rousseau's thought is not appreciated in the US. To the Founding Fathers, the influence of his work on the Robespierrian sections of the French Revolution was too radical to swallow.

      Did you know that, although well to the left, Rousseau would be introduced into "American" debates by ideologues we take to be reactionary -- Southern separatists, but, also, earlier, the Anti-Federalists.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      This was interesting Amy, it showed how easy it is to make a decision by the right or wrong choice. I do research and easily drop items/choices from a list (due to qualities, ingredients, prices, etc.) to make it shorter and easier to decide. There are some people who go through a whole list of choices and still come to an indecision. I gave this a thumbs up and shared it.

      Kevin

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker suzettetaos 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      Sorry, I have too many decisions to make in a day to turn them all into moral issues. I would never get anything accomplished if I did that. But, what you propose is interesting and with youth and energy I think you could probably do this. When I shop I try to be aware of the environment and how animals are fed and brought to slaughter. I buy as fresh as I can and freeze meats for later use. It is a shame that the better, fresher, and organic foods are more expensive than the rest.

    • Amy Naylor profile image
      Author

      Amy Naylor 2 years ago from England

      Thank you for the feedback and the share Kevin, I appreciate it.

    • Amy Naylor profile image
      Author

      Amy Naylor 2 years ago from England

      I agree with everything you say here. I was trying to highlight in the hub how ridiculous it would be if every mundane decision was turned into a moral one. But what I was also pointing out is that not all supposedly mundane questions are as mundane as they seem and there are often factors of morality that we should be aware of.

      Unfortunately yes, organic and free range foods are a lot more expensive than others.

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