# Are Ethical Statements (Axioms) Different From The Statements Of Science?

1157 words - 5 pages

"Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Truth is what stands the test of time."- Albert EinsteinFirst of all, we have to understand what exactly the term 'axiom' or saying is. Axioms are "self evident truths" or "universally accepted principles or rules." The first definition can be applied more closely to ethical axioms while the latter more closely to the scientific ones.In this sense, an ethical axiom can be "It is wrong to take someone's life," and a scientific axiom can be "Every object continues in its state of rest or uniform speed in a straight line unless a force acts on it." The first example shows an obvious truth that is universally accepted by people with 'healthy' minds. This conclusion must have been reached like a scientific axiom -- by observation -- that is, by seeing that killing someone arouses strong emotions and counter actions in people related to the victim in some way. A widely accepted test to see if an action is ethical is to try to see if one would like the same thing done to oneself. When this test is applied, the immorality of killing someone is supported. Now let's look at the example of a scientific axiom, called a law. It was stated that every object continues in its state of rest or uniform speed in a straight line unless a force acts on it. This example is known as Newton's first law of motion. This law has been reached through careful observation of objects in motion, and with the recognition of friction as a force. Recognition of friction is crucial since when friction is present, objects slow down and eventually stop. However, friction can be minimized for experimental purposes. A puck on a hockey rink will move nearly at a constant speed and in a straight line unless a force acts on it, that is, when someone hits it.In both examples, the axiom was reached by generalizing observations, and later a small test was done to show how they apply. The way these axioms are reached and tested appears similar up to this point. However, when the tests are further examined, it can be seen that the test for morality requires asking oneself if one would want others to act in the same way. The answer is self-explanatory and subjective. There may not be much question about being murdered, but people clearly have differing views about euthanasia. There are even cases where this test may not apply, such as capital punishment. On the other hand, the test for Newton's first law of motion shows clearly that as much as senses can perceive, the law holds true. For further precision, the test can be repeated taking the small friction into account, and using instruments that will provide more precision than our sensesIn cases where there are exceptions, scientific and ethical axioms are treated quite differently. The initial example of an ethical axiom, that it is immoral to kill, still stands. Killing would be "acceptable" if one was being attacked, and it might be acceptable to put one...

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