Category Archives: Moral philosophy

The Impossibility of Being Moral by Normal Human Reasoning and Choosing

The previous post in this series Human Reason is Inconsistent: Thanks be to God! argued that for humans to still have the destiny God willed for us before our original sin after our original sin, God had to allow us to have morality while rejecting it. At the deepest level where we focus on the purpose of human life, God’s allowing us to live with this inconsistency is a great gift from God. At the level of daily life, human history is a bloody tragedy of moral depravity tempered by moral nobility. This is how it is with humanity as a whole and each individual.

Much can be written about the agony of human life due to our rejection of morality while also acknowledging it. I will not write much about the actual human condition except in some subsequent posts bring out how this tension between morality and its rejection makes human sexuality a book of horror stories with a few chapters telling the most inspiring romances of love, fidelity and the nurturing of children. My emphasis is on the “logical” issues in building a conceptual model of the core Christian teaching that the incarnation of God as Jesus, Jesus’ suffering death and resurrection made it possible that human beings could attain the condition of being the way they ought to be even after original sin.

The conceptual question for this post asks: How is it possible for human beings to have the principle of being moral as the dominant principle while we hold a principle permitting us to override the demands of morality on occasion. Let me use the Kantian term “Good will” as standing for having the principle of choosing to do what is right because it is right regardless of any inclination to do otherwise. In religious terms a person has a good will if that person chooses to do what God wills simply because God wills. In other words, how is a good will possible.

A principle I assume holds: You cannot remove an inconsistency in thinking with inconsistent thinking.

To become a person with a good will we would have to eliminate the policy of setting aside morality to satisfy inclinations. We cannot set aside a policy of satisfying inclination over morality while still having such a policy. So, individually we cannot become consistently moral because the universal human reason we use is inherently inconsistent. Now we have to ask: If we cannot with our efforts become consistently moral which principle dominates: The principle of setting aside morality for inclinations or the principle of setting aside inclination satisfaction for the sake of morality. Given that we cannot eliminate the principle of setting aside morality to satisfy inclinations that means that in principle, in the principles of our thinking, there is a price , measured in terms of inclination satisfaction. If there is a price at which we will set aside any requirement of morality, the principle of setting aside morality is dominant in us.

Very, very good strong willed people can train themselves to place duty over inclination in almost every case we can think. Yet, despite all of their effort they still have a principle in the “back of their minds” that morality can be set aside. By our own efforts we cannot eliminate the fact that we have a price on our morality or fidelity to God. By our own reason and will power we cannot become people of good will and thereby the kind of people we ought to be.

For those interested, note that we have avoided the heresy of Pelagianism

Now we confront the following question. If humans cannot become beings who can choose with normal human reasoning their moral good, how can humans still have this moral good God wills for us? We have argued in the previous post that God still wills that we ought to become as we ought to be. “Ought” implies “can.” The answer has to be that in addition to allowing us to have morality after original sin, God also grants individuals power to choose to be morally good using more than normal human reasoning and willing. This capacity to choose what is right simply because it is right or in religious terms: To obey God simply because God wills it, is a gift from God which we do not earn or acquire by our moral efforts.

For those interested, I am proposing that what Kant calls respect for the moral law is a gift of God which takes us beyond normal moral thinking and choosing.

In the next post, I will illustrate how we use this gift, or grace, of being motivated to choose what is right because it is right in daily life. Then in other posts we will address questions about how God can give us the gifts of a moral destiny and a supernatural capacity of attaining it.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. My book illustrates how humans are unable to make their sexuality as it ought to be with normal human reasoning and willing.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

Human Reason is Inconsistent; Thanks be to God!

In the previous post in this series on building a conceptual model of the temptations of Satan and the original sin of humanity, we concluded that the hard problem connected with understanding how God could love human beings after original sin was understand how humans could have morality while rejecting morality. The argument went that for God to love humanity, God had to will the good for humanity. The good for humanity was to be as a human being ought to be. But a necessary condition for God to will this good for humanity is that human beings have morality which is the means to being how we ought to be. Unfortunately, by having original sin in our universal ways of thinking we reject morality and the end God wills for us.

The question for this post is whether or not God can consistently will that we have morality while rejecting morality.

If God cannot consistently will that we have morality while rejecting it, then God cannot will that we have it because God cannot will what is logically inconsistent. If God cannot consistently will that we have morality while rejecting it, the God cannot love use when he have original sin. If God cannot love us when we have original sin, then God cannot redeem us because God would not love us with original sin.

To get a sense of the logical contradiction think of other ways of formulating a rejection of morality as a fundamental principle coupled with having morality. Man is the measure of all things yet there is a objective standard by which we can evaluate the correctness of all human opinions. All moral judgments are relative yet there are absolute moral rules.

Now God cannot think that any of these contradictions are correct. God’s reason in so far as we can even talk of God’s reasoning is consistent. However, it is not inconsistent to allow there to be rational or thinking beings who think and reason inconsistently. (I am here using “reason” and “rational” in their descriptive sense; not there evaluative sense as good thinking and reasoning.)

So, we have answered the question of this post by noting that God can consistently will that we have morality while rejecting it by allowing humans, both collectively and individually, to have a logically inconsistent way of thinking about morality.

God’s allowing us to have inconsistent moral thinking is a blessing of God because it allows us still to have the moral good God wills for us. If we had only consistent thinking about moral issues, we would, in effect, have no morality. With no moral end our fate would be that of any other being who comes into existence and passes away to non-being – nothingness.

So, thank God that we can have moral standards even if we inconsistently reject them.

However, there are costs to having inconsistent moral thinking. Subsequent posts will explore these costs and how we can attain the moral good God wills for us with our inconsistent moral thinking.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. My book illustrates how humans suffer from having and yet rejecting sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

Can God Love Humanity After Original Sin?

The gist of the post on the inheritance of original sin was that it is a part of the universal human culture. It is a thought in the human conceptual scheme that on occasion one may choose contrary to the moral law or God’s will. In the human conceptual scheme, there is a fundamental option to put human will over God’s will.

There are several ways to formulate the principle setting human judgment over morality or God. A profound way of expressing this corrupting principle in our universal human thinking is with Protagoras’s “Man is the measure of all things.” If we set human reasoning as the judge of all we assume the right for ourselves to be judges of whether or not we are bound by morality. If we allow ourselves to be judges of whether or not we are bound by morality, we set aside morality. So, because I am using terminology of moral thinking to build my conceptual model for Satan, original sin and later the core conceptions of Christian salvation theory -the Paschal Mystery-, I write of the original sin we have as rejecting morality. I do not want to go on-and-on trying to express maxim of original sin “just right.”

HOW BAD IS ORIGINAL SIN?
Humans willed not to have morality.
Morality is the means God gave humans to reach the good of being as they ought to be.
So humans have rejected the means for the good God has willed for them.
To reject the means is to reject the end.
Hence, humans have rejected the good God has willed for them.
Beings who have a way they ought to be choose not to be by choosing not to be as they ought to be.
(See Moral Harm and Non-Being)
Hence, by rejecting the good God willed for them, humans willed not to be.
By willing not to be, humans willed that they be a biological life form which comes into being and passes away. (We willed to be creatures with no normative end – no way we ought to be as we assume it to be with mosquitoes et al.)

Did God have to let the human condition stay as our fundamental principle for choosing entails?

DID GOD HAVE TO STOP LOVING HUMANS AFTER ORIGINAL SIN?
If God can still love humanity after original sin, then God has to will that humans have the possibility of being as they ought to be after original sin.
If humans have the possibility of being as they ought to be after original sin, then humans have to have morality after original sin.
But after original sin, humans have rejected morality.
So, God cannot love humans after original sin unless God wills that humans have morality after original sin.

Now we have a big issue with two problems: How can God will that humans have morality after humans have rejected morality? There is an easy problem about God’s end in so willing and a hard problem about God’s means in His choice.
Now God can will whatever God chooses within the constraints of logical consistency.
Can God consistently will that humans have morality after rejecting morality?

The easy problem is Can God have a reason for willing that humans have morality after rejecting morality? Willing that humans have morality and hence the great good of having a way they ought to be, is to will a great good. No reason beyond this being a good is needed for God to have a reason to will that humans have morality after rejecting morality. (Similarly, God can will that Satan have his good after Satan’s rebellion.)

The hard problem concerns what God must do to bring it about that humans have morality after rejecting morality.

The barrier, logical barrier, comes from human morality. Humans have rejected it but it is still there with its demands. The demands of human morality have to be satisfied before humans can have it after having rejected it. For God to will the good of humanity God has to will that humans who have rejected morality still have it. The thesis is that humans both accept and reject morality.
The human empirical condition in human history supports a thesis that humans have morality and reject it at all times throughout history.

There is a warfare in humanity between our having morality and rejecting it. The on-going warfare on battlefields is only a manifestation of this more fundamental warfare which rages within each individual and community.

Subsequent posts in this series will confront the had problem of how God can consistently will that humans have morality while rejecting morality?

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. My book illustrates how humans suffer from having and yet rejecting sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

Inheritance of Original Sin Compatible With The Immaculate Conception

This post is actually a footnote to the previous post on the inheritance of original sin. The gist of that post was that the original sin of the couple, Adam and Eve, who chose to act on the maxim of occasionally setting aside God’s will to satisfy their inclinations was inherited as a principle in the universal human conceptual scheme which forms the core of human reasoning. This core is comprised of principals such as basic arithmetic operations, axioms such as equals added to equals gives equals and some moral principles such as treat equal cases equally. So the position being proposed in these posts is that the principle “On occasion we may set aside the morality to satisfy our inclinations” is as deep in our reasoning as basic arithmetic. This core of human reasoning is the inheritance of each human individual.

Recall that I am identifying the requirements of morality with what God wills. I am also using freely the names of characters in the biblical stories of original sin and the Annunciation.

Observe that this maxim is a way of expressing the principal that the end justifies the means. We are allegedly justified in setting aside the demands of morality to attain the end of the greatest satisfaction of human inclinations. Put this way it is not hard to accept that it is a universal principle of reasoning.

Now the first human couple committed the sin of adopting this maxim. Their sin of commission was a creative conceptual act of introducing this principle into human reason. They committed the original sin. Other human beings have the original sin by virtue of having the new conceptual scheme enriched, or rather fouled, by the principle which the original couple chose.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary was conceived without original sin. That means that God expunged the principle of setting aside His will from the conceptual scheme which she inherited.

On the surface, this does not seem to be a blessing. It is like being born without a basic component of reasoning. Indeed for those who believe that a fundamental principle for moral reasoning is that there are no moral absolutes, Mary lacked a fundamental capacity for moral reasoning.

However, Mary still had free will. There is no reason to fear that Mary could do nothing but accept God’s offer to accept the virginal conception of Jesus. Her moral reasoning capabilities were those of Eve before she chose the twofold sin of both satisfying an inclination against God’s will and thereby also choosing the maxim of setting aside God’s when so inclined. Mary could have chosen just as Eve chose. Mary had the choice to decline God’s offer in order to satisfy her inclinations for a normal woman’s life. If she had done so, she would also have chosen the principle she hitherto lacked of occasionally putting inclinations over God’s will.

However, Mary chose to do God’s will and let it be done unto her according to His will.

Having Original Sin vs. Committing the Original Sin:How Original Sin Is Inherited

In a series of posts on how Satan and God are in a warfare over whether or not humans go to hell, this post follows, Humankind’s Original Sin & the Emergence of the Human Soul in Evolution.

In that post, we started with a man and a woman who could distinguish right acts from wrong acts but, as was the case with all members of their species had no concept of becoming the kind of person who always chose the right act regardless of any inclination to do otherwise. The moral concept they lacked has a variety of descriptions. We could say that they had no concept of the moral good of always choosing the right act. They had no concept of a good will. We could say that they had the “local” moral concepts of the right acts to do but lacked the “global” moral concept of becoming the kind of moral person they ought to be, namely a person who always chooses the right act because it is right. We could say that they had concerned for doing right acts but not being a righteous person.*

God brought it about that this man and woman acquired this concept of becoming a morally proper person by having as their maxim for making choices to choose what is morally right,i.e. choosing what they have an inclination for only if it is in accordance with what is right. On a momentous occasion when they were tempted to satisfy an inclination to violate a moral law or command of God, Satan provided them with a second temptation. The second temptation was to adopt as a maxim the policy of occasionally setting aside the moral law in order to satisfy an inclination. The temptation was to set aside the goal of being a morally proper person or one in obedience to God’s will. The original sin is the choice of this maxim. For the line of thought that I am pursuing here, it must be emphasized that the original sin of the original parents was the choice of a maxim or policy of occasionally setting aside the moral law. The original parents committed the original sin. Having original sin is having this maxim or policy. I now argue that we can accuse a person of having original sin independently of accusing the person of committing the original sin.

In this post I speculate how this original sin is inherited. Suppose the man and woman were selected by God from all the homo sapiens at certain time to introduce a new moral concept which would be a cultural universal for all humans. They, “Adam and Eve,” were selected to be the creative geniuses who brought a fundamental concept to humanity along with a host of associated concepts. Whatever God let evolution give them so that they could have this thought will be passed on in their biological reproduction. Also whatever God allowed evolutionary processes to give them so that they could have the thought of setting aside a command of God will also be passed on in their biological reproduction.
Recall that concomitant with the concept of obedience to all the moral laws was the associated concept of occasionally setting aside the moral. Here, though, we are primarily concerned with sociological inheritance; not biological inheritance.

All humans contemporaneous with the “original sinners” can be said to have this defective moral character. For the couple with the concept of moral good but who yet succumbed to the temptation to set aside its pursuit belonged to the community of homo sapiens. Once a concept is introduced by some individuals it becomes a concept of the human community. For instance, when someone introduced the concept of zero, we had the concept of zero. That’s how creativity works. So every one has these concepts of moral good and setting it aside once “Adam and Eve and Satan introduced them.”

Which should we assume to be dominant?. Having the maxim of always obeying the moral law requires a lifetime to exhibit. Setting aside the moral law to satisfy an inclination is readily exhibited from earliest childhood. So the presumption is that every child inherits as its operative maxim the policy of occasionally setting aside a command of God. Thus it is a presumption that every child has the original sin of those original parents. This is not a judgment that every child has chosen to do a wrong act. It is a judgment that every child has a moral character that it ought not have. Discussion of restoration of moral character is for subsequent posts. Satan claims that because of the defective moral character of all human beings, they are all on his side and deserve his fate.

*If we say that being a person who has as a maxim always choosing what is right, is a righteous person, , we can say that a fundamental assumption about human beings is that none of us are righteous.

Subsequent posts in this series will focus on why God did not abandon us although none of us are righteous.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. The central thesis of my book can be interpreted as a temptation from Satan to believe that in principle any pursuit of sexual satisfaction is morally permissible.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Humankind’s Original Sin & Emergence of the Human Soul in Evolution

This post is in a series building a conceptual model of Satan and his warfare with God to bring all human individuals to annihilation. It follows Why Does Satan Want Us to Go to Hell?

How might this type of animal which Satan wants to bring to hell have arisen in the evolutionary process? Suppose a species of the genus homo had evolved far enough to do the type of thinking and feeling we now call moral thinking about the rightness and wrongness of particular acts. They are homo sapiens but innocent homo sapiens because they never think of themselves as good or bad people. They are aware of moral rules for what they ought not do and what they ought to do. Innocent homo sapiens are not conscious of a potential for being what they ought to be. They have moral concepts of ought-to-to but lack a concept of moral ought-to-be. Put another way: They have the concepts of right and wrong acts but do not have the concept of moral character formation.

For instance, they might have rules expressing moral inhibitions against killing, lying and stealing. Of course, they may not always follow these rules. But they lack the moral concept of the role of being someone who follows these rules. To say that the concept of this role is a moral concept is to say that it is thought everyone has an obligation to play this role.

A message comes from God to a breeding pair of innocent humans. The message takes the form of the imperative: Become the kind of beings who have as their highest priority obeying these moral rules regardless of any inclination to do otherwise. Put another way: The new moral thought is the thought of a command that all plans for satisfying their inclinations, all maxims for how to get things done, need to be restricted to plans that do not violate these general moral rules. Having as one’s highest principle or maxim choosing to satisfy inclinations in conformity with what is morally right simply because it is right to do so is having a good will. A good will is a moral good because it is something to be chosen and it ought to be chosen. This thought of this moral good is a great gift because it brings with it the thought of having a purpose for life. The purpose of life is to become a morally good person.

For those familiar with Kant’s moral theory, it will be apparent that I am adapting Kant’s Categorical Imperative as the thought which makes animals capable of having general moral rules into human beings. But I am not interpreting Kant’s moral theory. If there is anything worthwhile in what I present and it comes from Kant, give Kant credit for it. Do not blame Kant for foolishness in what I write.

However, I am proposing that having the thought of a good will as a good is what gave a human soul to beings in the evolutionary process. A good will is having the character of always choosing to satisfy inclinations for non-moral goods restricted by moral rules. Non-moral goods are the satisfactions of the numerous inclinations humans can have. Since I am not here trying to present a secular account,I will interpret moral rules as God’s commands and thus interpret a good will as always obeying God what commands.

So we have this couple with knowledge of right and wrong plus the additional thought of making themselves into people who always do what is right because they is the way they ought to be. They have the new and overriding good or goal of always choosing what is right when they choose lesser goods. Now comes a temptation. This is a new temptation different from temptations to violate a moral rule. They have always had temptations to violate the moral rules. The new temptation is to set aside the imperative to have a good will as a good for the sake of a lesser good. Put another way: The temptation is to set aside a policy of always doing what God commands simply because God commands it. This is exactly the temptation to which Satan or Lucifer succumbed as we saw What is Satan’s Sin?. They succumbed to this temptation by attempting to justify some violation of a moral rule – some violation of a command of God. So the man and the woman have the policy or maxim of reserving to themselves the right of setting aside a moral law of God- if they so choose. Adopting this maxim is their original sin. Their original sin is not the choice of the act they try to rationalize. The original sin – the sin which is original in the pursuit of moral character- is choice of the policy of on occasion placing inclination satisfaction over obedience to the will or God which we are here identifying with the moral law.

In the next post in this series on Satan and original sin, I speculate on how this original sin is inherited.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. The central thesis of my book can be interpreted as a temptation from Satan to believe that in principle any pursuit of sexual satisfaction is morally permissible.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Moral Harm as the Natural Harm Which Ought to Be

In this post I modify the notion of moral harm in a post Moral Harm and Non-Being and in my book on sexual morality.* In those places the notion of moral harm was presented as too intellectual and individualistic. I presented moral harm as the mere status of an individual who had chosen contrary to the moral law and the damage done to him was the status of diminishing his being -what he is- by now being less than he ought to be. I am modifying it in in light of my post justifying the rationality of retribution. With use of the notion of retribution, the notion of moral harm is being expanded to include the natural harms which OUGHT TO BE brought about by violation of moral laws.

Let the term “bad moral consequences of an act” mean the natural bad things that ought to happen to human beings because of the choice of an act contrary to morality..

Consider some examples of moral thinking and thoughts of moral consequences. A person who knows that he has lied to make a good deal certainly does not think that he ought to be better off because of his lying. This is so even if he has lied to bring about better natural conditions for all concerned. He hopes that he will get the good things without getting the harmful things which ought to be for having lied.

But let me go beyond individuals to communities. Communities can suffer moral harm by virtue of having their decision making authority, however it may operate, choose what is contrary to moral law. U.S. citizens before the War Between the States were well aware of the injustice and cruelty of the enslavement of people of African origin. The devastation of that horrible war was regarded by many as some of the harm that ought to have been brought about by the slavery system. Because the notion of retribution by itself does not specify how much harm ought to occur, who should suffer it or who should inflict it we are still thinking that harms ought to be brought about for slavery and its residual violations of moral law in the racism remaining after slavery. To put it simply: A part the White Guilt felt by so many over slavery and its residual racism is a manifestation of its moral harm – the lingering expectation that some bad things still OUGHT to be inflicted upon us.

Consider more examples for citizens of the U.S.. Part of the reasons we cringe when learning of our country’s unjust proxy wars during the cold war and the torture, targeted killings and reckless collateral damage in the war on terror is that we must admit that some bad things ought to happen to us because of how we as a nation have violated moral laws.

Relevant to these reflections is a suggestion about reporting on the achievements of those who have been the first member of certain groups who suffered some type of unjust discrimination to make such achievements. These are reported as “The first black who…” “The first woman who…” Such reporting calls to mind the thought of injustice for which harm ought to happen along with the thought of the individual’s achievements. The thought of harms which ought to happen are not pleasant thoughts. These unpleasant thoughts about bad things which ought to happen can diminish the pleasure of the thought of thinking about the splendid achievements of the individuals. The splendor of the achievement gets forgotten as the report as taken as more “political” reporting.

*Introduction of the retributive principle is developing the notion of moral harm which I used in my book. In my book I did not clearly enough link moral harm with natural harms
My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

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Retributive Punishment is Consistent with the Logic of Moral Thinking

Physical or mental pain for human beings is a bad thing. This is the way IT IS. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. This not the way IT OUGHT TO BE.

There are logical rules for thinking correctly about what ought to be done and what ought to be. These rules are called “deontic logic.” In this post I propose some fundamental rules of deontic logic which are so fundamental that they can be called axioms. In particular, I bring out that retributive punishment is in principle justified by axioms of deontic logic. Retributive punishment is inflicting mental or physical pain on human beings simply for violating a moral law. This infliction of pain is warranted regardless of any production or protection of human happiness brought about by such infliction of pain. Because retributive punishment is in principle justified by deontic logic it cannot be dismissed as a primitive way of moral thinking or based on amoral feelings of vengeance. In this defense of the rationality of retributive punishment I am arguing against views on punishment I previously held

The judgment that an immoral act ought to have bad consequences is as fundamental in moral thinking as a judgment that an act violates a moral law. Indeed the two moral judgments ” This act is wrong” and “This act ought to have bad consequences” are made together. This proposal is significantly different from the utilitarian outlook which proposes that if an act has bad consequences, then it is an immoral act. My proposed axiom states: if an act is immoral, then it OUGHT to have bad consequences. I propose further that the judgment that an immoral act ought to have bad consequences entails a further moral judgment that something ought to be done to bring about the bad consequences for an immoral act. This comes from a deontic logic axiom that something ought to be done to bring about what ought to be. What is entailed by axioms of logic alone is also a rule or principle of logic. So we have as a deontic logic principle the RETRIBUTIVE PRINCIPLE:

Something ought to be done to bring about the bad consequences for an immoral act.

All that is needed for the retributive principle to become activated in moral thinking are some moral rules such as: Do not kill! Do not steal! Do not lie! Do not commit adultery! Besides the rules there needs to be recognition of a violation of a rule. This first violation could be thought of as an “original sin.” With recognition of an original sin moral thought contains the judgment that something ought to inflict pain on human beings for violations of moral rules.

Here I will not pursue theological speculations about original sin. Here I want to emphasize that the moral rules such as Do not Kill! are not principles of deontic logic. Deontic logic gives for reasoning about moral rules and from moral rules. Moral rules need to be justify by rational thinking. But deontic logic is not sufficient to justify moral rules. However, the retributive principle is sufficient to show that retributive punishment is logically consistent in moral thinking. In fact I think that the retributive principle can be used to define punishment explicitly as: the bad consequences for human beings which ought to be brought about for violation of a moral rule.

In effect, “retributive punishment” is a redundancy. Punishment is retribution.

Of course, to use the retributive principle in reasoning about punishment many questions need to be answered. Some of the obvious questions are: What should the punishment be? Who should inflict the punishment? On whom should the punishment be inflicted? These questions reveal that the logic of moral reasoning leaves open the question on whom should the punishment be inflicted just as the logic of moral thinking leaves open the question of the degree of punishment. I am suggesting that the notion of another person suffering the punishment than the person who performed the immoral act is consistent with the logic of moral thinking. Much more could be written about applying the retributive principle. For instance, I have left open whether there is something like mercy which can eliminate or lessen the bad consequences.

But enough has been written so that I can continue with my project of writing blog posts to show that the notion of Satan is consistent with deontic logic. Look for more posts on the topic.
See There is a Satan in Opposition to God.

Introduction of the retributive principle is developing the notion of moral harm which I used in my book. In my book I did not clearly enough link moral harm with natural harms
My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

.

Are Masturbators Intrinsically Disordered?

The point of this post is to use an analogy that reminds us that to say homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered is not to say that men who are classed as homosexuals are intrinsically disordered.

Let’s say that a masturbator is a male who masturbates at least once a week. There is a lot of masturbators in our society. With the ready availability of internet porn, the class of masturbators is growing because almost all men have inclinations at least to masturbate when sexually aroused. There are far more masturbators than men who engage in homosexual acts on the average of once a week. Let’s call such men homosexuals. If the homosexuals are not wholly included in the masturbators, the class of homosexuals certainly overlaps the class of masturbators.

An act of masturbations is intrinsically disordered. It is wrong regardless of the circumstances and reasons why it is done.

Proving that an act is instrinsically disordered is not easy. There is a long Catholic tradition of making a case, in Thomistic philosopohy, that masturbation and homosexual acts are intrinscially disorder. I have tried to make the same case, in a Kantian way, in my book: Confronting Sexual Nihilism. Here is not the place to make that philosophical case.

Here is the place to remind ourselves that just as we would not classify almost all men as instrinsically disordered because they have strong inclinations to perform intrinsically disordered acts, we should not classify that subset of men who have strong inclinations to perform intrinsically disordered acts of the homosexual style intrinsically disordered.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Moral Harm and Non-being

I am beginning a series of posts the goal of which is to get some understanding of the basic Christian framework called the Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery is the teaching that the Incarnation of God as Jesus and Jesus’ subsequent suffering, death and resurrection radically transformed the human condition. These events restored the human condition from a fallen one in which at best human life had no greater destiny than that we typically attribute to bedbugs to an original one in which human beings rise after biological death to live eternally with God. Human beings were in the fallen condition because they had chosen some act which they ought not have chosen and so they were no longer as they ought to be.

The phrases with the moral terms are emphasized because they gave me the clue on how to clarify and modify concepts to become somewhat clearer about the Paschal mystery. Moral concepts will be those under closest analysis and modification. This post focuses on a notion of moral harm.

What is moral harm? Distinguish moral harm from natural harm which here I will treat as medical harm. I use “medical” to have a working definition of natural harm. The medical harm of an act is a physical or psychological condition brought about by an act for which the person has a high probability of being compensated by medical insurance. So if you assault a person and break his arm, that person can very likely win a suit for damages from you. Similarly, if a man seduces a boy into sexual acts medical professionals will almost certainly testify that the boy has suffered psychological harm for which he should be compensated.

Moral harm is not the medical harm which an immoral act causes. Certainly we cannot say that an act is not immoral if it causes no medical harm. Moral harm is the harm a person inflicts on himself when he chooses contrary to a moral law. For instance, there is a moral law that you ought not testify that you saw a man at the scene of a crime when you clearly realize that he was somewhere else. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor!” The moral harm he inflicts upon himself comes from choosing to break the moral law. Moral laws specify how we ought to be. By choosing to break the moral law he chooses to not be the kind of person he ought to be. Moral harm is not being as you ought to be. Harm can be called an evil. So a notion of harm or evil as non-being is being used: non-being as a departure from what ought to be. The non-being which is evil may be an actual state of affairs. But it is a state of non-being, moral non-being, because of its difference from what ought to be.

This notion of moral harm or evil as non-being will be fundamental in posts trying to get clearer about the Paschal mystery. This will include introduction of a notion of Satan!

My book explores the notion of moral evil in conjunction with an examination of male sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.