Golden Rule

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Golden Rule
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{{short description|Treating others as one's self would wish to be treated}}{{Distinguish|Golden Law|Golden ratio|Golden Act}}{{Other uses|Golden Rule (disambiguation)}}{{redirect|Do Unto Others|the 1915 silent film|Do Unto Others (film)}}{{Use dmy dates|date=July 2012}}The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one's self would wish to be treated. It is a maxim that is found in many religions and cultures.ENCYCLOPEDIA, golden rule, Antony Flew, A Dictionary of Philosophy, Pan Books in association with Macmillan Publishers, The MacMillan Press, 1979, London, 134, 978-0-330-48730-6, This dictionary of philosophy contains the following quote under the entry for "golden rule": "The maxim 'Treat others how you wish to be treated'.Various expressions of the rule exist in the tenets of most religions and creeds through the ages, testifying to its universal applicability." (end quote).Walter Terence Stace argued that the Golden Rule was much more than simply an ethical code. Instead, he posits, it "express[es] the essence of a universal morality." The rationale for this crucial distinction occupies much of his book The Concept of Morals (1937). See:
, Stace
, Walter T.
, The Concept of Morals
, The MacMillan Company (reprinted 1975 by permission of Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc.); (also reprinted by Peter Smith Publisher Inc, January 1990)
, 1937
, New York
, 136, ch. 6
, 978-0-8446-2990-2
The Golden Rule can be considered an ethic of reciprocity in some religions, although other religions treat it differently. The maxim may appear as either a positive or negative injunction governing conduct:
  • One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself (positive or directive form).
  • One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form).
  • What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathic or responsive form).
The idea dates at least to the early Confucian times (551–479 BC) according to Rushworth Kidder, who identifies that this concept appears prominently in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and "the rest of the world's major religions".W.A. Spooner, "The Golden Rule," in James Hastings, ed. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 6 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1914) pp. 310–12, quoted in Rushworth M. Kidder, How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living, Harper, New York, 2003. {{ISBN|0-688-17590-2}}. p. 159. Simon Blackburn also notes the connection between Confucious and the Golden Rule. BOOK, Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, Simon, Blackburn, 2001, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 978-0-19-280442-6, 101, The concept of the Rule is codified in the Code of Hammurabi stele and tablets, 1754-1790 BC. 143 leaders encompassing the world's major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the 1993 "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic", including the Baha'i Faith, Brahmanism, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Interfaith, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American, Neo-Pagan, Sikhism, Taoism, Theosophist, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian.WEB,weblink Parliament of the World's Religions – Towards a Global Ethic, 12 September 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 11 April 2013, yes, dmy-all, According to Greg M. Epstein, " 'do unto others' ... is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely", but belief in God is not necessary to endorse it.BOOK, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, Esptein, Greg M., 2010, HarperCollins, New York, 978-0-06-167011-4, 115, Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be "found in some form in almost every ethical tradition".BOOK, Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, Simon Blackburn, Simon, Blackburn, 2001, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 978-0-19-280442-6, 101, Yet, as with any historically prominent maxim, the Golden Rule is not without its controversy (as seen in the Criticism section below). {{TOC limit|3}}


The term "Golden Rule", or "Golden law", began to be used widely in the early 17th century in Britain by Anglican theologians and preachers;Thomas Jackson: First Sermon upon Matthew 7,12 (1615; Werke Band 3, S. 612); Benjamin Camfield: The Comprehensive Rule of Righteousness (1671); George Boraston: The Royal Law, or the Golden Rule of Justice and Charity (1683); John Goodman: The Golden Rule, or, the Royal Law of Equity explained (1688; {{Google books|rjI3AAAAMAAJ|Titelseite als Faksimile}}); dazu Olivier du Roy: The Golden Rule as the Law of Nature. In: Jacob Neusner, Bruce Chilton (Hrsg.): The Golden Rule – The Ethics of Reprocity in World Religions. London/New York 2008, S. 94. the earliest known usage is that of Anglicans Charles Gibbon and Thomas Jackson in 1604.BOOK, Gensler, Harry J., Ethics and the Golden Rule, 2013, Routledge, 978-0-415-80686-2, 84,

Ancient history

Ancient Egypt

Possibly the earliest affirmation of the maxim of reciprocity, reflecting the ancient Egyptian goddess Ma'at, appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant, which dates to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BC): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to make him do."Eloquent Peasant PDF {{webarchive|url= |date=25 September 2015 }} "Now this is the command: do to the doer to make him do""The Culture of Ancient Egypt", John Albert Wilson, p. 121, University of Chicago Press, 1956, {{ISBN|0-226-90152-1}} "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do" This proverb embodies the do ut des principle.Eloquent Peasant PDF {{webarchive|url= |date=25 September 2015 }} "The peasant quotes a proverb that embodies the do ut des principle" A Late Period (c. 664–323 BC) papyrus contains an early negative affirmation of the Golden Rule: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.""A Late Period Hieratic Wisdom Text: P. Brooklyn 47.218.135", Richard Jasnow, p. 95, University of Chicago Press, 1992, {{ISBN|978-0-918986-85-6}}.

Ancient India

Sanskrit tradition

In Mahābhārata, the ancient epic of India, there is a discourse in which the wise minister Vidura advises the King Yuddhiśhṭhira

Tamil tradition

In Chapter 32 in the Part on Virtue of the Tirukkuṛaḷ (c. 1st century BC), Valluvar says: "Do not do to others what you know has hurt yourself" (kural 316); "Why does one hurt others knowing what it is to be hurt?" (kural 318). He furthermore opined that it is the determination of the spotless (virtuous) not to do evil, even in return, to those who have cherished enmity and done them evil (kural 312). The (proper) punishment to those who have done evil (to you), is to put them to shame by showing them kindness, in return and to forget both the evil and the good done on both sides (kural 314).

Ancient Greece

The Golden Rule in its prohibitive (negative) form was a common principle in ancient Greek philosophy. Examples of the general concept include:

Ancient Persia

The Pahlavi Texts of Zoroastrianism (c. 300 BC–1000 AD) were an early source for the Golden Rule: "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself." Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5, and "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others." Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29BOOK, Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer, Pahlavi Texts of Zoroastrianism, Part 2 of 5: The Dadistan-i Dinik and the Epistles of Manuskihar,weblink 2008, Forgotten Books, 978-1-60620-199-2,

Ancient Rome

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC–65 AD), a practitioner of Stoicism (c. 300 BC–200 AD) expressed the Golden Rule in his essay regarding the treatment of slaves: "Treat your inferior as you would wish your superior to treat you."BOOK, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters of Seneca,weblink 1968, Norton, 978-0-393-00459-5,

Religious context

According to Simon Blackburn, the Golden Rule "can be found in some form in almost every ethical tradition".BOOK, Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, Blackburn, Simon, Simon Blackburn, 2001, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 978-0-19-280442-6, 101,

Abrahamic religions

{{See also|Abrahamic religions}}


{{See also|Judaism|Jewish ethics}}A rule of altruistic reciprocity was first stated positively in a well-known Torah verse (Hebrew: {{Hebrew|ואהבת לרעך כמוך}}):.|{{bibleverse||Leviticus|19:18|JP}}}}Hillel the Elder (c. 110 BC – 10 AD),Jewish Encyclopedia: Hillel: "His activity of forty years is perhaps historical; and since it began, according to a trustworthy tradition (Shab. 15a), one hundred years before the destruction of Jerusalem, it must have covered the period 30 BC–10 AD" used this verse as a most important message of the Torah for his teachings. Once, he was challenged by a gentile who asked to be converted under the condition that the Torah be explained to him while he stood on one foot. Hillel accepted him as a candidate for conversion to Judaism but, drawing on {{bibleverse||Leviticus|19:18|JP}}, briefed the man:|Babylonian Talmud}}Hillel recognized brotherly love as the fundamental principle of Jewish ethics. Rabbi Akiva agreed and suggested that the principle of love must have its foundation in Genesis chapter 1, which teaches that all men are the offspring of Adam, who was made in the image of God (Sifra, Ḳedoshim, iv.; Yer. Ned. ix. 41c; Genesis Rabba 24). According to Jewish rabbinic literature, the first man Adam represents the unity of mankind. This is echoed in the modern preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.WEB,weblink Mishnah Seder Nezikin Sanhedrin 4.5,, 17 July 2016, WEB,weblink Tosefta on Mishnah Seder Nezikin Sanhedrin 8.4–9 (Erfurt Manuscript),, 2012-08-21, And it is also taught, that Adam is last in order according to the evolutionary character of God's creation:WEB,weblink ADAM,, 12 September 2013, Why was only a single specimen of man created first? To teach us that he who destroys a single soul destroys a whole world and that he who saves a single soul saves a whole world; furthermore, so no race or class may claim a nobler ancestry, saying, 'Our father was born first'; and, finally, to give testimony to the greatness of the Lord, who caused the wonderful diversity of mankind to emanate from one type. And why was Adam created last of all beings? To teach him humility; for if he be overbearing, let him remember that the little fly preceded him in the order of creation.The Jewish Publication Society's edition of Leviticus states:Thou shalt not hate thy brother. in thy heart; thou shalt surely rebuke thy neighbour, and not bear sin because of him. 18 Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the {{LORD}}.BOOK, The Torah, Jewish Publication Society, 19:17,weblink Leviticus, This Torah verse represents one of several versions of the Golden Rule, which itself appears in various forms, positive and negative. It is the earliest written version of that concept in a positive form.Plaut, The Torah â€“ A Modern Commentary; Union of American Hebrew Congregations, New York 1981; p. 892.At the turn of the eras, the Jewish rabbis were discussing the scope of the meaning of Leviticus 19:18 and 19:34 extensively:
am your God.|{{bibleverse||Leviticus|19:34|JP}}}}
Commentators summed up foreigners (= Samaritans), proselytes (= 'strangers who resides with you') (Rabbi Akiva, bQuid 75b) or Jews (Rabbi Gamaliel, yKet 3, 1; 27a) to the scope of the meaning.On the verse, "Love your fellow as yourself", the classic commentator Rashi quotes from Torat Kohanim, an early Midrashic text regarding the famous dictum of Rabbi Akiva: "Love your fellow as yourself â€“ Rabbi Akiva says this is a great principle of the Torah."Kedoshim 19:18, Toras Kohanim, ibid. See also Talmud Yerushalmi, Nedarim 9:4; Bereishis Rabbah 24:7.Israel's postal service quoted from the previous Leviticus verse when it commemorated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on a 1958 postage stamp.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2008, Sol Singer Collection of Philatelic Judaica, Emory University,


{{See also|Christian ethics|Great Commandment}}
missing image!
- Bloch-SermonOnTheMount.jpg -
Jesus taught the Golden Rule during the Sermon on the Mount.
The "Golden Rule" of Leviticus 19:18 was quoted by Jesus of Nazareth ({{sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Matthew|chapter=7|verse=12}} , see also {{sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Luke|chapter=6|verse=31}}) and described by him as the second great commandment. The common English phrasing is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". A similar form of the phrase appeared in a Catholic catechism around 1567 (certainly in the reprint of 1583).BOOK, Vaux, Laurence, A Catechisme / or / Christian Doctrine, The Chetham Society, reprinted by The Chetham Society in 1885, 1583, Manchester, England, 48 (located in the text just before the title, "Of the Five Commandments of the Church." Scroll up slightly to see a section saying: "The sum of the ten Commandments does consist in the love towards god, and our neighbor (Ephe. 4., Matt. 7.). In the first Table be three Commandments: which take away and forbid sin and vice against the worshipping of God. They forbid idolatry, apostasy, heresy, superstition, perjury, blasphemy, and move us to the pure and true worshipping of God in heart, word and deed. In the Second table be seven Commandments, which command us to give reverence and honor to every man in his degree, to profit all, and hurt none: to do unto others, as we would be done to ourselves."),weblink The Golden Rule is stated positively numerous times in the Old Testament: {{sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Leviticus|chapter=19|verse=18}} ("Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."; see also Great Commandment) and {{sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Leviticus|chapter=19|verse=34}} ("But treat them just as you treat your own citizens. Love foreigners as you love yourselves, because you were foreigners one time in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.").The Old Testament Deuterocanonical books of Tobit and Sirach, accepted as part of the Scriptural canon by Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the Non-Chalcedonian Churches, express a negative form of the golden rule:Two passages in the New Testament quote Jesus of Nazareth espousing the positive form of the Golden rule:}}A similar passage, a parallel to the Great Commandment, is {{sourcetext|source=Bible|version=World English|book=Luke|chapter=10|verse=25|range=-28}}The passage in the book of Luke then continues with Jesus answering the question, "Who is my neighbor?", by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, indicating that "your neighbor" is anyone in need.WEB,weblink John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on Luke 10,, 12 September 2013, This extends to all, including those who are generally considered hostile.Jesus' teaching goes beyond the negative formulation of not doing what one would not like done to themselves, to the positive formulation of actively doing good to another that, if the situations were reversed, one would desire that the other would do for them. This formulation, as indicated in the parable of the Good Samaritan, emphasizes the needs for positive action that brings benefit to another, not simply restraining oneself from negative activities that hurt another.Moore: Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era; Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1927–1930; Vol. 2, p. 87, Vol. 3, p. 180.In one passage of the New Testament, Paul the Apostle refers to the golden rule:}}


{{See also|Islamic ethics}}The Arabian peninsula was known to not practice the golden rule prior to the advent of Islam. "Pre-Islamic Arabs regarded the survival of the tribe, as most essential and to be ensured by the ancient rite of blood vengeance"{{according to whom|date=May 2018}}BOOK, Th. Emil Homerin, Neusner, Jacob, The Golden Rule: The Ethics of Reciprocity in World Religions, 2008, Bloomsbury Publishing, 99,weblink 978-1-4411-9012-3, However, this all changed when Muhammad came on the scene:}}}}From the hadith, the collected oral and written accounts of Muhammad and his teachings during his lifetime:Ali ibn Abi Talib (4th Caliph in Sunni Islam, and first Imam in Shia Islam) says:
p. 350}}

Bahá'í Faith

{{See also|Bahá'í teachings}}The writings of the Bahá'í Faith encourages everyone to treat others as they would treat themselves and even prefer others over oneself:}}Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 71}}Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 30}}

Indian religions

{{See also|Indian religions}}


{{See also|Hinduism}}}}Also,


{{See also|Buddhism|Buddhist ethics}}Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama, c. 623–543 BC)WEB,weblink "Gautama Buddha (B.C. 623-543)" by T.W. Rhys-Davids, The World's Great Events, B.C. 4004–A.D. 70 (1908) by Esther Singleton, pp. 124–135,, 28 November 2012, 12 September 2013, WEB,weblink The Buddha (BC 623–BC 543) – Religion and spirituality Article – Buddha, Bc, 623, Booksie, 8 July 2012, 12 September 2013, made this principle one of the cornerstones of his ethics in the 6th century BC. It occurs in many places and in many forms throughout the Tripitaka.
by Elizabeth J. Harris (}}


{{See also|Jainism|Ahimsa in Jainism}}The Golden Rule is paramount in the Jainist philosophy and can be seen in the doctrines of Ahimsa and Karma. As part of the prohibition of causing any living beings to suffer, Jainism forbids inflicting upon others what is harmful to oneself.The following quotation from the Acaranga Sutra sums up the philosophy of Jainism:
Sutra 155–6}}
Saman Suttam of Jinendra VarniBOOK, Varni, Jinendra, Sagarmal Jain, translated by T. K. Tukol and K. K. Dixit, {{IAST, Samaṇ Suttaṁ, | publisher =Bhagwan Mahavir memorial Samiti | year= 1993 | location =New Delhi }} gives further insight into this precept:-


{{See also|Sikhism|Karma}}

East Asian religions

{{See also|East Asian religions}}


{{See also|Confucianism}}
"What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others."
Zi gong (a disciple of Confucius) asked: "Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?" The Master replied: "How about 'shu' [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?"
--Confucius, Analects XV.24, tr. David Hinton (another translation is in the online Chinese Text Project)BOOK,weblink Confucianism, The Analects, Section 15: Wei Ling Gong, (see number 24), Chinese Text Project, Chinese Text Project, 29 December 2011,
The same idea is also presented in V.12 and VI.30 of the Analects (c. 500 BC), which can be found in the online Chinese Text Project. The phraseology differs from the Christian version of the Golden Rule. It does not presume to do anything unto others, but merely to avoid doing what would be harmful. It does not preclude doing good deeds and taking moral positions.


{{See also|Taoism}}


{{See also|Mohism}}Mozi regarded the golden rule as a corollary to the cardinal virtue of impartiality, and encouraged egalitarianism and selflessness in relationships.

Iranian religions

{{See also|Iranian religions}}


Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself. – Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29

New religious movements


{{See also|Wicca}}


{{See also|Scientology}}The Way to Happiness expresses the Golden Rule both in its negative/prohibitive form and in its positive form. The negative/prohibitive form is expressed in Precept 19 as:BOOK, The Way to Happiness: A Common Sense Guide to Better Living, Hubbard, L. Ron, 2007, L. Ron Hubbard Library, Los Angeles, 978-1-59970-036-6, 59, }}The positive form is expressed in Precept 20 as:BOOK, The Way to Happiness: A Common Sense Guide to Better Living, Hubbard, L. Ron, 2007, L. Ron Hubbard Library, Los Angeles, 978-1-59970-036-6, 61, }}

Traditional African religions


{{See also|Yoruba religion}}


{{See also|Odinani}}

Secular context

Global ethic

The "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic"Towards a Global Ethic – Urban Dharma – Buddhism in America (This link includes a list of 143 signatories and their respective religions.) from the Parliament of the World’s ReligionsWEB,weblink Parliament of the World's Religions,, 16 August 2013, 12 September 2013, WEB,weblink The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions,, 16 August 2013, 12 September 2013, (1993) proclaimed the Golden Rule ("We must treat others as we wish others to treat us") as the common principle for many religions.Towards a Global Ethic (An Initial Declaration) – Under the subtitle, "We Declare," see third paragraph. The first line reads, "We must treat others as we wish others to treat us." The Initial Declaration was signed by 143 leaders from all of the world's major faiths, including Baha'i Faith, Brahmanism, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Interfaith, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American, Neo-Pagan, Sikhism, Taoism, Theosophist, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian.WEB,weblink Parliament of the World's Religions – Towards a Global Ethic, 12 September 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 11 April 2013, yes, dmy-all, In the folklore of several cultures the Golden Rule is depicted by the allegory of the long spoons.


{{See also|Humanism}}In the view of Greg M. Epstein, a Humanist chaplain at Harvard University, " 'do unto others' ... is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely. But not a single one of these versions of the golden rule requires a God".BOOK, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, Esptein, Greg M., 2010, HarperCollins, New York, 978-0-06-167011-4, 115, Italics in original. Various sources identify the Golden Rule as a humanist principle:WEB,weblink,, 12 September 2013, WEB,weblinkweblink yes, 14 September 2002,, 15 March 2008, 12 September 2013, }}}}


{{See also|Existentialism}}}}

Other contexts

Human rights

According to Marc H. Bornstein, and William E. Paden, the Golden Rule is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights, in which each individual has a right to just treatment, and a reciprocal responsibility to ensure justice for others.Defined another way, it "refers to the balance in an interactive system such that each party has both rights and duties, and the subordinate norm of complementarity states that one's rights are the other's obligation."BOOK, Bornstein, Marc H., Handbook of Parenting, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002, 5, 978-0-8058-3782-7, See also: BOOK, Paden, William E., Interpreting the Sacred: Ways of Viewing Religion, Beacon Press, 2003, 131–132, 978-0-8070-7705-4, However Leo Damrosch argued that the notion that the Golden Rule pertains to "rights" per se is a contemporary interpretation and has nothing to do with its origin. The development of human "rights" is a modern political ideal that began as a philosophical concept promulgated through the philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau in 18th century France, among others. His writings influenced Thomas Jefferson, who then incorporated Rousseau's reference to "inalienable rights" into the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. Damrosch argued that to confuse the Golden Rule with human rights is to apply contemporary thinking to ancient concepts.BOOK
, Damrosch
, Leo
, Jean Jacques Russeau: Restless Genius
, Houghton Mifflin Company
, 2008
, 978-0-618-44696-4

Science and economics

{{further|Reciprocity (social psychology)|Reciprocal altruism}}There has been research published arguing that some 'sense' of fair play and the Golden Rule may be stated and rooted in terms of neuroscientific and neuroethical principles.Pfaff, Donald W., "The Neuroscience of Fair Play: Why We (Usually) Follow the Golden Rule", Dana Press, The Dana Foundation, New York, 2007. {{ISBN|978-1-932594-27-0}}The Golden Rule can also be explained from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, sociology, human evolution, and economics. Psychologically, it involves a person empathizing with others. Philosophically, it involves a person perceiving their neighbor also as "I" or "self".BOOK, The Golden Rule, Wattles, Jeffrey, Oxford University Press, 1996, Sociologically, "love your neighbor as yourself" is applicable between individuals, between groups, and also between individuals and groups. In evolution, "reciprocal altruism" is seen as a distinctive advance in the capacity of human groups to survive and reproduce, as their exceptional brains demanded exceptionally long childhoods and ongoing provision and protection even beyond that of the immediate family.JOURNAL, Vogel, Gretchen, The Evolution of the Golden Rule, Science, 303, Feb 2004, In economics, Richard Swift, referring to ideas from David Graeber, suggests that "without some kind of reciprocity society would no longer be able to exist."JOURNAL, Swift, Richard, Pathways & possibilites, New Internationalist, 484, July/August 2015, July 2015,


Philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche,WEB,weblink Only a Game: The Golden Rule,, 24 May 2007, 12 September 2013, have objected to the rule on a variety of grounds. The most serious among these is its application. How does one know how others want to be treated? The obvious way is to ask them, but this cannot be done if one assumes they have not reached a particular and relevant understanding.

Differences in values or interests

George Bernard Shaw wrote, "Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may be different."BOOK, Shaw, George Bernard, Man and Superman, 1903, Archibald Constable & Co., 227,weblink 23 February 2018, This suggests that if your values are not shared with others, the way you want to be treated will not be the way they want to be treated. Hence, the Golden Rule of "do unto others" is "dangerous in the wrong hands",Source: p. 76 of How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time, Iain King, 2008, Continuum, {{ISBN|978-1-84706-347-2}}. according to philosopher Iain King, because "some fanatics have no aversion to death: the Golden Rule might inspire them to kill others in suicide missions."Source: p. 76 of How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time, Iain King, 2008, Continuum, {{ISBN|978-1-84706-347-2}}.

Differences in situations

Immanuel Kant famously criticized the golden rule for not being sensitive to differences of situation, noting that a prisoner duly convicted of a crime could appeal to the golden rule while asking the judge to release him, pointing out that the judge would not want anyone else to send him to prison, so he should not do so to others.Kant, Immanuel Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, footnote 12. Cambridge University Press (28 April 1998). {{ISBN|978-0-521-62695-8}} Kant's Categorical Imperative, introduced in Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, is often confused with the Golden Rule.

Responses to criticisms

Walter Terence Stace, in The Concept of Morals (1937), wrote:}}Marcus George Singer observed that there are two importantly different ways of looking at the golden rule: as requiring (1) that you perform specific actions that you want others to do to you or (2) that you guide your behavior in the same general ways that you want others to.M. G. Singer, The Ideal of a Rational Morality, p. 270 Counter-examples to the golden rule typically are more forceful against the first than the second.In his book on the golden rule, Jeffrey Wattles makes the similar observation that such objections typically arise while applying the golden rule in certain general ways (namely, ignoring differences in taste, in situation, and so forth). But if we apply the golden rule to our own method of using it, asking in effect if we would want other people to apply the golden rule in such ways, the answer would typically be no, since it is quite predictable that others' ignoring of such factors will lead to behavior which we object to. It follows that we should not do so ourselves—according to the golden rule. In this way, the golden rule may be self-correcting.Wattles, p. 6 An article by Jouni Reinikainen develops this suggestion in greater detail.Jouni Reinikainen, "The Golden Rule and the Requirement of Universalizability." Journal of Value Inquiry. 39(2): 155–168, 2005.It is possible, then, that the golden rule can itself guide us in identifying which differences of situation are morally relevant. We would often want other people to ignore any prejudice against our race or nationality when deciding how to act towards us, but would also want them to not ignore our differing preferences in food, desire for aggressiveness, and so on. This principle of "doing unto others, wherever possible, as they would be done by..." has sometimes been termed the platinum rule.Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 2 (1966 [1945]), p. 386. Dubbed "the platinum rule" in business books such as Charles J. Jacobus, Thomas E. Gillett, Georgia Real Estate: An Introduction to the Profession, Cengage Learning, 2007, p. 409 and Jeremy Comfort, Peter Franklin, The Mindful International Manager: How to Work Effectively Across Cultures, Kogan Page, p. 65.

Popular references

Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies (1863) includes a character named Mrs Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By (and another, Mrs Be-Done-By-As-You-Did).WEB,weblink Mary Wakefield: What 'The Water Babies' can teach us about personal, 22 October 2011, The Independent,

See also



External links

  • {{Wikiversity-inline|Living the Golden Rule}}

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