Xenology: An Introduction to the Scientific Study of Extraterrestrial Life, Intelligence, and Civilization
© 1975-1979, 2008 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.
Robert A. Freitas Jr., Xenology: An Introduction to the Scientific Study of Extraterrestrial Life, Intelligence, and Civilization, First Edition, Xenology Research Institute, Sacramento, CA, 1979; http://www.xenology.info/Xeno.htm
22.3 Ethics and Law
While there is no consensus as yet, xenologists tend to view ethics as the general standards of social conduct and law as the specific rules of social conduct. Theories of ethics strive to ascertain umbrella principles of "proper" behavior, whereas law attempts (often using physical coercion) to recast and respecify theory in more concrete form. Each legal system thus serves some underlying theory of ethical behavior, but each theory of ethics may engender many different legal systems.
There is much confusion in the literature over the meaning of ethics, in part because of its frequent connection with religious values and local parochial moralities. It is certainly true that most religions provide elaborate ethical structures and legalistic proscriptions and taboos. But ethics and religion are distinct concepts. Many ethical systems are fundamentally nontheistic and require no religious validation. Ethics without gods is commonplace.3046 Popular examples of such "pure" ethical systems on modern Earth include Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Evolutionary Humanism, Confucianism, Civil Religion, and Secular Humanism. (See Cogley,810 Cole and Hammond,856 Humanist Manifestos I and II,3043 Kallen,854 Kolenda,3044 Kurtz,3042 and Rosenfeld.1860)
Last updated on 6 December 2008