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Conscience, the other and the moral community: A study in meta-ethics and tragedy

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(Project) M.A.
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How do we make moral decisions aboul: how to treat other people? Cllassic conscience theories suggest one set of answers, founded in the interplay between external moral authority and personal factors involving reason, emotion and instinct. This paper applies such concepts to three iconic Greek tragedies and the genocidal history of the early Spanish Caribbean - interesting applications of, respectively, Hellenic ideas about the role of reason in moral decision-making and a complex theology of Indian nature with roots in Aristotelian philosophy and scriptural interpretation. A common thread emerges. A moral agent may conceive the object of action as Other - subhuman or even nonhuman - entirely circumventing operations of conscience and moral decision-making. Fortunately, recent studies suggest that the instinctual inclination to view others as Other is considerably mediated by our capacity for abstract thought and by the influence of culture.
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