Chambers, David W
The Journal of the American College of Dentists 2010 Winter; 77(1): 35-43
A defining characteristic of humans is our capacity to create a better world through mutual action. Traditional ethics attempts to define and impose the one or several things we should all want. The alternative argued here is that we can retain our individual definitions of what matters and still work together for mutual improvement. Agreeing on common ethical principles is not a precondition for an effective moral life. This approach to morality is based on game theory, which holds that in purposely social interactions: (a) there are basic understandings, (b) individuals pursue their own interests, (c) we can judge others' interests, and (d) the distribution of benefits and burdens depends on the joint action of individuals, not on the action of individuals in isolation. In this view, immorality becomes a matter of cheating in the game of life. The three primary forms of cheating are deception (misleading others into thinking they are playing a game other than the one that is to their advantage to play), coercion (blocking courses of action others would normally be entitled to), and reneging (playing the game and then dodging the payoff if one does not like the outcome). These three evils are illustrated by Shakespeare's plays Othello, Richard III, and Antony and Cleopatra.
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