Monday, December 16, 2013

Inclusivist Morality as Spontaneous Order Morals

In the wake of the Renaissance, we saw the emergence of several distinct spontaneous orders, which we could identify as the liberal orders -- free markets, science, and democracy. In the Renaissance itself we saw the emergence of the artistic orders as free and independent spontaneous orders -- free and independent of the religious order, that is. With the Enlightenment, we saw the economy, science, and governments become increasingly free and independent of religion. No doubt part of this was the fact that religion itself -- in the Reformation -- became free and independent of the overarching hierarchical organization of the Catholic church.

In addition, though, we also see another spontaneous order emerging and coming into its own -- the moral order. The distinctive feature of the moral order is inclusive morality -- one extends fellow humanity, meaning moral standing is separated from group membership. As Allen Buchanan and Russell Powell argue in "Beyond the Paleo":
According to this inclusivist moral outlook, moral standing depends on the cognitive capacities of the individual, not the ability of the individual to reciprocate or otherwise contribute to co-operative goods. Even if non-human animals, or young children, or persons with disabilities lack strategic capacities, this does not deprive them of moral status. Likewise, if a minority group or weaker nation can safely be exploited without risk of retaliation, we nonetheless deem such behaviour morally unacceptable.

As with the other orders, once morality was able to develop into its own free and independent spontaneous order, it followed its own evolutionary logic independent of many of the elements of its foundations. As Hayek observed, though, this results in our living in "two worlds at once." The conservative moral philosophers discussed by Buchanan and Powell are not wrong about their observations and their concerns; neither, too, are Buchanan and Powell wrong about the existence of recently developed moral order. However, there is necessarily a tension between the two, as we will all too often feel the pull of each -- our evolved moral psychologies as well as the results of the moral order's inclusivist morality. That is the tragic tension present in each and every person participating in a spontaneous order.
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