Re: "To Be"

Jonathan D Raskin (
Tue, 31 Jan 1995 12:22:34 -0500 (EST)

I have really been enjoying the discussion about the way language
influences the way we construe the world and ourselves. Perhaps some of
the ideas being offered (esp. Jim Mancuso's insightful and humorous
comments in his last message) aptly apply to an area near and dear to me:
ethics and the psychology of morality. It seems to me that arguments
supporting a universal code of ethics (the idea that ethical positions
are "right" or "wrong" independent of human input and construction
processes) may indeed be encouraged by the essentialist ideas conveyed
when using the verb "to be." Rather than saying "I construe that X is
ethical" we actually say "X IS ethical"--implying that people do not
construct ethical systems but, instead, discover them.
Any thoughts on this?