Monday, December 03, 2007

6.422 The first thought at the setting up of an ethical law of the form “thou shalt….” is: And what then, if I don’t do it? It is clear, however, that ethics has nothing to do with punishment and reward in the ordinary sense. Therefore this question as to the consequences of an act must be irrelevant. – At least these consequences should not be events. Since something must be right in the putting of this question. There must certainly be a kind of ethical reward and ethical punishment, but these must lie in the action itself.

(And this too is clear, that the reward must be something agreeable, the punishment something disagreeable.)

“Ethics” here means ethics in the relevant sense. If anyone wants to talk of ethics in some other sense, that is not contradicted here but ignored. Why must there be something right in the question? Perhaps because its form matches the form in which the Thou shalt is expressed, so it is, as it were, called for. It must somehow, in some sense, be appropriate.

No comments: