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林巍《道德判断》英译

2015-12-08    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

林巍《道德判断》英译

道德判断

林巍

道德观念,对于人们可能并不陌生,而道德判断,则有些新颖,似乎颇具学术味道。

其实,在任何社会里,都离不开道德判断,它不过是对道德观念的一种具体体现与应用。

概括而言,道德判断可以理解为特定社会中一种以文化为依托的判断;即对社会上的一些作为或不作为,甚至意识、动机乃至性格等的对错、善恶、得失等所形成的观点、所作出的评估。因社会文化的不同,道德判断也是多样的。

在西方传统文化里,个人首先被看作是独立的存在,具有各种权利和行为自由,同时也对自己的行为全权负责。然而,不同个体之间的利益又会发生冲突,如何解决?这就需要遵守维护相互间利益的社会契约原则。

因而,个人自由理念和社会契约精神是西方道德判断的核心价值。在此社会里,判断一个人道德的标准,是看其行为是否侵犯了他人的权利;至于是否帮助别人,则是个人的自由选择,而非道德要求。

有西方社会学家认为,男人主要是在竞争权利中看待道德问题,试图通过理性和原则来解决问题;而女性则从人际关系中看待问题,希翼以沟通方式来解决问题。这一两性间道德判断的差别,是西方个人主义社会的典型范式。

相应而言,东方社会是以社会关系为基础的,强调社会责任的重要性、个体需求间的协调以及对整个民族和社会的贡献,因而其道德判断标准,多是责任的和人际关系的。例如,有研究表明,在面临作出某项道德判断时,美国人提出需要了解的多是当事人本身的背景和事情的客观结果,而日本人提出要了解的,则多是当事人的家庭关系和主观感受等。而且,在日本社会里,人们极不情愿就某种社会关系中的问题作出指责,认为那样对本身的文化体系是不当而有害的。因而,日本人道德判断的实质,是当事人行为的关联性与主观性,而非仅仅是行为本身。这与美国人重事实、讲原则的道德判断方式形成鲜明对照。

甚而言之,在日本法律制度里,若被告作出了深刻反省,其判决可被大大减轻。在美国,这是不可想象的。因为,在那里,判刑的依据不是被告的主观感受而是客观事实。

中国传统社会是儒家文化,其道德判断的“人际性”和“等级性”根深蒂固。在儒家的五种基本伦理关系中,有三项是家庭关系,两项是上下级关系,而在二者之间的领域,则是其道德规范的薄弱环节。同时,在这种道德判断中,又有着“圈内”与“圈外”的实质性区别。

那么,撇开不同的文化因素,世界上是否存在某些“普世”的道德判断标准?广义而言,有的。例如,尊重他人权利、守法、守规矩、责任心、公德心、互惠互利原则、契约精神等等。应当说,在某种意义上,这些已不再是某一特定文化或社会的专利,而是人类文明发展到了今日的共识。

译文:

Moral Judgment

Everybody is familiar with the term “moral”, but not “moral judgment” which seems to be novel and a bit academic.

As a matter of fact, moral judgment, as a specific manifestation of morality, is deeply rooted in any society.

Generally speaking, moral judgments may be understand as culture-bound evaluations in a society, that are the assessments or opinions formed as to whether some action or inaction, intention, motive or character is right or wrong, good or bad, beneficial or damaging. Moral judgments are naturally diversified given the cultural differences across societies.

In traditional western culture, individuals are primarily viewed as independent entities endowed with a set of natural rights, freedom and responsible for their actions. Different individual interests, however, may be at odds with each other from time to time. In resolving these conflicts, the principle of social contract is thus required to uphold interests based on consensus.

The idea of personal liberty and the notion of a social contract are therefore at the core of moral judgment in the West, where individuals are judged according to whether their actions violate the rights of others. Helping others, on the other hand, is discretionary and not a moral requirement.

As some sociologists point out, men are more likely to judge morality in terms of competing rights that can desirably be resolved through the application of reasoning and principles; whereas, women prefer to view the issue in terms of human relations that can hopefully be negotiated through communication. These differences between the genders constitute one of the paradigms of the individualistic western society.

Conversely, oriental societies are based largely on social relations, highly valuing the importance of social duties, compromise of personal requirements and sacrifices made to the nation and society as a whole. Their moral judgments are thus duty-based and interpersonal. Research has revealed that, for example, in making a moral judgment, American respondents requested information about the agent’s personal background and the related consequences, whereas the Japanese requested information about the family background and the feelings of the person. It was also found that in Japanese society condemnation in social relationships is extremely hesitant and normally considered to be inappropriate and potentially destructive to the cultural system. For the Japanese, thus, rather than being ontologically-orientated, their moral judgment is essentially interpersonal and subjective, in striking contrast with that of Americans which is based on facts and principle.

Moreover, in the Japanese legal system, a sentence may be substantially reduced if the defendant sincerely regrets is or her actions, which is inconceivable in American legal system where factual details rather than the mind-set of the defendant count.
Traditional Chinese culture is quintessentially saturated with Confucianism, where relationships and hierarchy dominate moral judgment. The fact that three of the five basic ethical relationships in Confucianism are in the family (father-son, husband-wife, elder-younger) and two of them stipulate position and rank in the society (superior-inferior and colleague-colleague), attests to moral weakness intersecting the two domains. Meanwhile, moral judgments are exercised discriminatorily between in-group and out-group members.

So apart from specific cultural elements, are there any “universal” criteria for moral judgments across all cultures? Macrocosmically, the answer is yes. These may, for instance, include respecting others’ rights, abiding by laws and regulations, accepting civic responsibilities, reciprocity, notions of social contract and so on. In a sense, these are in fact no longer the virtues of a particular culture or society: they are the common values of our civilized world that has been evolving up to now.

(林巍 译)



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