In his answer to question 2275 (from Sep 7th 2008), Thomas Pogge wrote: “Most political leaders do not act well, morally, and in most cases this is because they are not moral persons, not serious about morality. To be serious about morality, one must try to integrate one’s considered moral judgments through more general moral principles into a coherent account of morally acceptable conduct; one must work out what this unified system of beliefs and commitments implies for one’s own life; and one must make a serious effort to honour these implications in one’s own conduct and judgments. Those who are not serious about morality typically do not act well, morally...”
I am very interested in the notion of ‘moral seriousness’, and would be interested to know what the other panelists think about the nature of ‘being morally serious’, as opposed to that of merely ‘being moral’ – and whether they agree with Prof Pogge’s account.
I would also be grateful if you – Prof Pogge – could elaborate on your previous comment a little, explaining/illustrating what you mean by the various elements in your description. For example, what do you mean by saying that a morally serious person must have a ‘coherent *account* of morally acceptable conduct’? It sounds as though only philosophers – moral philosophers – can be morally serious, but I assume that you do not mean this...
Finally, has anyone written more extensively on this concept? I would be grateful for any references.
Many thanks (in particular to Prof Pogge, whose answers on this web site always strike me as very thoughtful, thorough, and... morally serious).