(un)common ground

a commonplace book

What Is Moral Reflection?

If moral reflection consists in seeking a fit between the judgments we make and the principles we affirm, how can such reflection lead us to justice, or moral truth? Even if we succeed, over a lifetime, in bringing our moral intuitions and principled commitments into alignment, what confidence can we have that the result is anything more than a self-consistent skein of prejudice?

The answer is that moral reflection is not a solitary pursuit but a public endeavor. It requires an interlocutor… But we cannot discover the meaning of justice or the best way to live through introspection alone.

Michael J. Sandel, Justice (2009)

While Sandel discusses political philosophy in a necessarily civic context, the direction toward dialectical moral/philosophical reflection is a useful one in private contexts as well. Could God-via-the-Bible be conceived as that [I]nterlocutor? Certianly, since that word comprises a moral base; but insofar as the Bible, as a text, is subject to interpretation by its readers, the dialectical reflection is still necessary in order to avoid, as Sandel puts it, the “self-consistent skein of prejudice”–a phrase worthy of reflection itself, I’d say.


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This entry was posted on July 25, 2015 by and tagged , .
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