Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Why not "Treat people in the way that they've treated you"
sounds Satanist rather than Humanist
It's neither. Just human, and rather common. (Even, I suspect, among some humanists, just occasionally. Well, I'll admit it even if you don't.
) Whereas the Golden Rule is rather saintly, and I think very rarely applied with any degree of consistency. And I think that's worth considering. Mightn't there be a case for having an ethical rule that's not too difficult to apply? Perhaps a more realistic approach might be a hybrid of the two. Something close to the tit for tat strategy in game theory, which has the advantage of giving the highest scores in the iterated prisoner's dilemma. Maybe an ethical rule along those lines might give satisfactory ethical outcomes. Something like: Treat others as you'd like to be treated, unless they've already treated you as you didn't like to be treated." But you'd need to incorporate a quickness to forgive, which is important in tit for tat. The idea is not to start a vendetta, but to encourage others to treat you in the way they
'd like to be treated, rather than take advantage of your saintliness.
Still, please note I'm not advocating this, or any of the others, as something that should be widely applied as the
ethical rule. Just questioning the idea that the Golden Rule must
take precedence. There's no must
about it. People can and do take alternative approaches. And I think there might be a good case for a bit of pick and mix.
animist wrote:surely these are pompous, obscure or inferior versions of the GR? Apart from Adler, which is not helpful as it does not define what "best" is
I agree about Adler's, though it's not something I've looked into. But I don't think Kant's or Sartre's offerings are pompous, obscure or inferior versions of the GR. I agree that Kant's a little obscure, but Sartre's version is a big improvement. And I think the idea behind them is extremely important, because it says something extra, something the GR doesn't touch on. I wish there were a better term for it than the "Categorical Imperative", but I think of it as "What if everybody did that?" (WIEDT?). It's a common enough phrase, something my parents said to me loads of times when I was a child. That's how I learned that it was wrong to drop litter. Not by the Golden Rule. I think it has important applications for things like pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and using more than one's fair share of resources.
Again, I'm not saying that it must
take precedence. Just that it might be another useful tool for the ethical toolbox, along with the Golden Rule, or a modified Golden Rule, and a utilitarian slide rule, and various other bits and pieces.