Meaning in Action

pp 115-134

Moralities We Live by: Moral Focusing in the Context of Technological Change

  • Nicole KronbergerAffiliated withJohannes Kepler University Linz

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Westerners might wonder why people in India are starving when there are cows lined up at the roadsides. At first sight it looks as if values, or moral rules vary considerably. Often, however, such variation is not due to a difference in moral maxims but rather to a difference in beliefs (Rachels 1993), or moral focusing i.e., the implementation of a general rule in a concrete cultural context. Both people from India and the West agree that we should not remain hungry, suffer from malnutrition or starve to death; they may differ, however, in their assessment of whether the outdoor cow is potential food or a sacred symbol, a “holy cow”.