A 'Good Society' Supports Dutiful Action

Mary Midgley:

Claire Mac Cumhaill and Rachel Wiseman, presenting (with quotes from) Mary Midgley’s thesis outline: “Without a good society, ‘the sequence of events becomes entirely irregular’ and when an individual acts ‘the traditional result does not necessarily follow.’ When the relation between means and ends breaks down, the questions of how to be a good person, and how to do one’s duty, become pressing. I want to help my friend by sending her a food parcel, but if the postal service is run by crooks and gangsters, all I can do is deliver parcel to the post office and hope for the best. A judge who does her duty in a corrupt society will find no connection between doing what is right and doing good. ‘In such situations the coincidence of varying moral motives, on which optimistic systems rely, vanishes.’”

Metaphysical Animals, p. 177