Moral Philosophy Professors

Everybody hates moral philosophy professors. This is one of the few things I’ve learned while watching The Good Place on Netflix at a friend’s house, after taking a break from an extended period of “doing the thing(s).” “Doing the thing(s)” is our quiet code for combatting our depression issues by setting forth through uncharted territory and accomplishing goals that often lead to no sense of accomplishment. These thing, such as doing homework, cooking, eating, socializing, cleaning, organizing, and playing with a cat all culminate in the reward of a couch, and The Good Place.
The Good Place revolves around the ethics of being human, and what it means to be good in a complex world, but rarely have I thought about the ethical choices made when writing. Even while learning through osmosis what it means to be ethical through weekly classes with Chidi as my always enthusiastic guide, I still rarely think of the ethical implication behind my own writing. According to John Duffy, “Writing involves ethical choices because every time we write for another person, we propose a relationship with other human beings, our readers.” When writing, I often set out with a purpose, and while the goal I set out to accomplish is to have an effect on my reader, I’ve never actually thought of it in terms of it being ethical. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Kant, for example, believed that the question most important for any ethical person to ask is “What ought I to do?”, which is something I’m worried I lack in the messages I hope to convey and the questions I hope to pose through my rhetoric.
Crossing the threshold into understanding the ethical implications behind what I do with each keyboard stroke can be overwhelming, but at the same time, may be something some, if not most writers do naturally. I often think of the effect I wish to have on my readers, an emotional response I want to elicit, a question I want them to pose to themselves. Maybe, one of the benefits of being a writer is the fact that I get to pose the questions to people without always being there to hear the answers or hold the discussions that arise, because one a work is out there, it isn’t necessarily mine anymore.


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