Monday, May 12, 2014

the moral and the moralistic

The moral and the moralistic -- this morning in email I found myself making a distinction and yet now, I'm not quite sure.

A moral argument or position brings together evidence surrounding a particular topic and through that presentation suggests a direction that could be called "good" or "better" or "right."

A moralistic argument likewise gathers or presents evidence that then insists on a particular course of action or direction.

What brought this to mind was the irritation I can feel in the company of those who distrust their own argument so much that they feel the need to have my agreement. The swirling addition of "you gotta believe" detracts from the issue itself and makes it more difficult for me to reach whatever decision I choose to reach. Is the issue "address the issue" or is it "love me?"

Whatever the case, the older I get the more irritated I become when someone brings up an issue I too take seriously and then injects what might be called a moralistic overlay.

I was content for a few minutes with my separation of "moral" and "moralistic" -- it had a certain fortune-cookie conclusiveness -- and then I wasn't quite so sure.

Even without the explicit insistence that anyone see the issue from a prescribed and moralistic point of view and even when evidence is collated without any apparent salesmanship in mind, still there is the choice of evidence being adduced. And of itself, that choice implicitly points in one direction or another.

So in the end, what is moral and what is moralistic both rest on the agreement of others -- an aspect that morality might claim to be free of.

Oh well ... wubba, wubba ... I guess I just dislike having stuff shoved down my throat by people who are convinced by their own morality.

And that reminds me to remind myself to watch my oh-so-moral step.

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