Ethics, Unnatural Laws, By Arthur A. Leff

1161 Words Feb 19th, 2016 5 Pages
Part One: Summary In the article Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Laws, Arthur A. Leff took an agnostic approach when determining what morality should be comprised of. He suggested that humans struggle with desiring to follow a predetermined and unchallengeable set of moral rules, while at the same time wanting the autonomy to create those rules.
If ethical rules are preordained, they would need to come from a supernatural being that was unruled, unjudged, and beyond question: God. If God exists, we are created to fit into His system and should therefore abide by His rules. God dictates the laws of the world through what Leff refers to as “performative utterances”. These utterances are essentially His will made into reality via His command. Performative utterances are the act of God creating the rules that govern the world. He is the only being who has the capacity to do this without facing the inevitable “says who” mentality.
This sort of attitude ensues when beings of equal rank differ in their opinions of what is right and what is wrong, with no overarching authority. It is this problem in particular that leads philosophers to despair; if there is no God, there is no steady ethical or legal system that can be put into place. There is nothing more correct or more flawed than anything else. There will never be progress, as you cannot progress from something you cannot deem to be less suitable. If there is no such higher being, we are all that is left to decide for…

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