Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is Stupidity Immoral?


For the record -

A friend asked on Facebook: "Is stupidity immoral?"

I replied: "Intellect (or lack of it) precedes morality. So, stupidity is morally neutral."

Friend: "So do you think stupid actions committed which cause lots of damage can be forgiven because the person had no intention of doing so?"

Me: "No, I don't think that.

There's a distinction between the stupid aspect (lacking understanding) and the harmful aspect (causing harm as defined by a moral system) of an act. And a moral system is justified in dealing with the harmful aspects of an act whether stupid or otherwise.

Stupidity is neither sufficient nor necessary for immorality. A harmful act can be committed in the absence of stupidity. So stupidity is not necessary for an immoral act. Also, it is possible that an act devoid of understanding (and thus stupid) causes no harm in the moral sense. So, stupidity is also not a sufficient condition for immorality. The two, stupidity and immorality, are therefore different aspects of an act and a moral system can and should judge the latter and not the former."
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