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The Bases And Philosophy Of Ethics - Part 6

10.2- Sartre's View

Sartre, who evaluates everything on the basis of personal option, says: there is no criterion for the ethical nature of an act outside man's existence. He, as well, believes in the relativity of ethics. He states: anybody who chooses an act assumes that his choice is good. And if another person chooses another act as good, then he has the right choice, Thus, an ethical act differs in the opinion of different people. Therefore, in this view, the criterion for an ethical act is the one who chooses and nothing else.

This view is wrong, however, since the one who chooses has selected an act because he has preferred it over other acts But do other people also believe that his choice was the best?

A murderer, a thief and a tormenter have, in fact, some rationale for their actions.

But having these preferences will not justify their wrong-doings.70

A Summary of the 10 views: A conclusion:

Each one of the views on the philosophy of ethics mentioned above, dealt with some facts, but ignored others. A survey of these views shows that if ethics were not based on the guidance of Prophets and Imams, it would definitely lead to people’s misery instead of their prosperity. How could schools whose criteria for ethical acts are "instant pleasure", "personal interests", "the spirit of time", "personal selection" and "economics and social evolution" lead man towards prosperity, sacrifice, honesty, philosophy and chastity?

Nowadays we witness an increase in wrong-doings, homicides, suicides and corruption in the world, especially in the west; sexual assault to children by close relatives is increasing and 95 percent of people are suffering from tensions.

The statesmen in these communities complain about the situation. Man has been placed in this plight because of the lack of right criteria of ethics.

Some time ago Reagan, the previous president of the United States, in a conference, talked about the horrible increase in murders in the United States: he said the number of victims of murder is beyond 23,000 a year.

Reagan added crimes hurt one third of the families in the United States and the loss in money is about eight billion and eight million dollars.

Reagan confessed that in the United States one person is killed every 30 minutes and nine women are sexually assaulted.

In the same amount of time 67 persons fall prey to theft, 97 persons are subject to assault and 389 houses are prone to the armed robbery.

He said: syndicated crimes done by corrupt statesmen are scandalous for the United States.71

More recently, the newspaper France ce soir in Paris has reported the number of crimes in France during the year 1989 as four million, 297 thousand and 123, which shows an increase of 7 percent over the previous year (1988).

The same newspaper reports the number of crimes during the first quarter of 1989 has been more than 580,000.

Now more than one billion of the world populations suffer from poverty and malnutrition and shortage of medicines. There are, however, billions of dollars spent for military purposes.

These are just small samples of disorders which are inflicted upon those layers of the world population who are exposed to corrupt schools of thought either in ethics, or in education, or in politics, or in economics or in other social affairs. For a complete picture of the disasters we should refer to relevant books and sources.72


70. Regarding this refer to Ustadh Mutahhari's Existentialism and the philosophy of Ethics, pp.99-100.

71. Jomhuri Islami, Newspaper 8/7/1360.

72. See The biggest disease of the twentieth century; Social calamities of our time; The time of Automation; The phase of western civilization.

Adapted from: "Imam 'Ali's First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education" by: "Zainol Aabideen Qorbani Lahiji"