Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Pavel Slutskiy

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There is a seemingly unbridgeable gap between descriptive statements of moral philosophy (ethics) and prescriptive statements of moral norms. The gap can be avoided by introducing a praxeological explanation of the utilitarian meaning of moral norms which treats them as manmade devices utilized for creating social circumstances that reflect universal subjective value preferences of members of society. The universally shared subjective preference not to be acted upon against ones consent is the reason for adopting a moral norm that prohibits such actions. Adoption of this norm is believed to result in things beneficial to human well-being. As soon as people realize that a norm is in accord with their subjective preferences, the norm becomes adopted by society and internalized by individuals via the communication that sustains it. Along with its internalization the universal norm can take a particular shape contained in background assumptions. The means utilized to ensure that a moral norm is obeyed is the creation of enforcement mechanisms that develop a system of punishments for violating the norm, which then gives way to the development of morally legitimate legal and political systems.

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