An Exploration of “Ethics” in a Post-modern, Complex, Global Society

William E. Doll, Jr.


This paper is a foray, a tentative one, into the relation between moral acts and ethical principles, particularly as that relation is played out in our post-modern, complex, global society. The position taken here is that a traditional view of ethics sees an act being determined as moral (or not) according to its fit into a set of a priori principles. The alternative, post-modern view explored here is that the concept of ethics emerges from the acts themselves. The morality of these acts derives from the everyday decisions we make, decisions made with humility and uncertainty. From such decision making, the ethics that emerges is a provisional ethics. This is the nature of our being human; our decisions are never made with certainty. We are, though, responsible for the decisions we make.


Morals; Ethics; Complexity; Relations; Post-Modern; Wisdom; Teaching

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Open Journal Systems. ISSN: 1449-8855