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How to address the enigmas of everyday life

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Here are some hard questions: Is the value of human life absolute? Should we conform to the prevalent values? What do we owe our country? Is justice indispensable? How should we respond to evil? Is it right to forgive bad actions? Is shame good? Should we be true to who we are? Do good intentions justify bad actions? Are moral evaluations overriding?The questions are hard because each has reasonable but conflicting answers. When circumstances force us to face them, we are ambivalent. We realize that there are compelling reasons for both of the conflicting answers. This is not an abstract problem, but a predicament we encounter when we have to make difficult decisions whose consequences affect how we live, our relationships, and our attitude to the society in which we live.I consider these questions from a point of view that is practical, not theoretical; particular, not general; personal, not impersonal; and above all concrete, not abstract. The questions are asked and answered from the point of view of actual people who face actual predicaments whose resolution has implications for the rest of their lives. There are reasonable answers, but they depend on the evaluation of the relative importance of the reasons for and against the conflicting answers. Such evaluations must take into account the character, attitudes, experiences, and the possibilities and limits of the social context of those who face the questions. They vary, and that is why reasonable answers to hard questions must be personal, not theoretical, and be based on comparisons between the conflicting answers given by two people for whom a hard question has arisen in their context.Some examples of such comparisons are between a Japanese kamikaze pilot who gave up his life for his country and an American draftee who refused to serve his country; between a young girl who endured and survived the horrors she had to endure when she was forced into daily prostitution and humiliation that lasted for more than. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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