Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moral Fortitude: Can it exist without Regulations?

The blog entry of "Many see President Obama as off the mark with Oil Speech" has morphed into a philosophical debate of moral fortitude. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines morality as (

  1. Descriptively to refer to a code of conduct put forward by a society or,
    1. Some other group, such as religion, or
    2. Accepted by an individual for her own behavior or
  2. Normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

While I believe in allowing Free Market forces to work unabated by regulations, I do recognize that Free Will and the lack of a common moral fortitude creates challenges for Free Market Forces. A Anonymous commenter mentioned that "Since we all have a different idea of what morality is, those with opposing morals can still carry them with fortitude, regulations are always necessary" and when on to pose the question of "And you mean your morals, correct?" James Rachels, in his book The Elements of Moral Philosophy, attempts to define morality by quoting Socrates, from Plato's Republic, "We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live."

Rachels goes on in the book to discuss Moral Relativism in regards that cultures differ as much as their moral standards do. "Should we eat the bodies of the dead or burn them?" Rachels posed. To which Rachels responds with, "If you were Greek, one answer would seem obviously correct; but if you were a Callatian, the opposite would seem equally certain." Now, does this say in the business world a standard of universal morality cannot be established? Are we not establishing those moral standards via regulations? If that is the case, why not remove the regulations while leaving the morality established by them in place?