PROBLEMS WITH RULE-BASED ETHICS
- There can never be enough rules to cover everything
we recognize as an ethical situation.
- Due to the complexity of life, the promulgation of rules as
the entirety of the ethical dimension can encourage an “exception” or loophole
mentality…ethics becomes manipulation.
- Rules can conflict. Do we create more rules to adjudicate
conflicts among rules? What if these rules conflict?
- All rules need interpretation.
- Focusing on rules and actions makes think of
ourselves in terms of what we do, and not who we are.
So do we simply forget about rules?
- We really cannot do without some rules. Everyone has them
no matter what.Not to follow any rules is itself a rule!
- Rules are essential for understanding the difference between
right and wrong—the main parameters of what is expected of everyone.
Thus they coordinate human behavior in a rough and ready way.
- Rules function as helping guidelines or synopses of cumulative
moral experience and wisdom.
- Rules can clarify fundamental issues at stake in a practical