Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 12, 2018


Tadeusz Buksiński
Pages 35-40

Conditional and Unconditional Morality

The paper describes the modern morality as conditional morality, represented by theories of social contract and utilitarianism. They conditionally impose the moral duties on people, if the other people fulfil moral duties, too. As a result they justify the use of the political power to compel the citizens to public morality, leaving a certain margin of freedom to individual morality in the private domain which is fairly inconsequential for collective life. Public morality, on the other hand, is rigorously regulated and precisely defined by statutory laws and political authority. An individual citizen thus becomes incapacitated in the public domain: reduced to accepting decisions adopted by the ruling group, perhaps also electing them once per several years. Unconditional morality, as represented by evangelical or Kant’s ethics, imposes rights, obligations and moral duties on individuals, requires compliance with them regardless of other individuals or groups. It may never constitute a foundation justifying violence, use of force, abuse of power, deception or restriction of liberty. Within this framework, such actions are considered immoral, irrespective of whether they occur in the institutionalized form or otherwise.