Garfield is a great moral education in schools essay to live and work. Portal for all grades, progress reports and report cards.
Parent Portal to access report cards. Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. We may not always know it, but we think in metaphor. A large proportion of our most commonplace thoughts make use of an extensive, but unconscious, system of metaphorical concepts, that is, concepts from a typically concrete realm of thought that are used to comprehend another, completely different domain.
Such concepts are often reflected in everyday language, but their most dramatic effect comes in ordinary reasoning. Because so much of our social and political reasoning makes use of this system of metaphorical concepts, any adequate appreciation of even the most mundane social and political thought requires an understanding of this system. But unless one knows that the system exists, one may miss it altogether and be mystified by its effects. For me, one of the most poignant effects of the ignorance of metaphorical thought is the mystification of liberals concerning the recent electoral successes of conservatives. Conservatives regularly chide liberals for not understanding them, and they are right. Liberals don’t understand how anti-abortion “right-to-life” activists can favor the death penalty and oppose reducing infant morality through prenatal care programs.
They don’t understand why conservatives attack violence in the media while promoting the right to own machine guns. The reason at bottom is that liberals do not understand the form of metaphorical thought that unifies and makes sense of the full range of conservative values. To understand what metaphor has to do with conservative politics, we must begin with that part of our metaphor system that is used to conceptualize morality — a system of roughly two dozen metaphors. To illustrate how the system works, let us begin with one of the most prominent metaphors in the system — the metaphor by which morality is conceptualized in terms of accounting. We all conceptualize well-being as wealth.
We understand an increase in well-being as a “gain” and a decrease of well-being as a “loss” or a “cost. When two people interact causally with each other, they are commonly conceptualized as engaging in a transaction, each transferring an effect to the other. Thus moral action is conceptualized in terms of financial transaction. Just as literal bookkeeping is vital to economic functioning, so moral bookkeeping is vital to social functioning.
And just as it is important that the financial books be balanced, so it is important that the moral books be balanced. Of course, the “source domain” of the metaphor, the domain of financial transaction, itself has a morality: It is moral to pay your debts and immoral not to. When moral action is understood metaphorically in terms of financial transaction, financial morality is carried over to morality in general: There is a moral imperative not only to pay one’s financial debts, but also one’s moral debts. Each of these moral schemes is defined using the metaphor of Moral Accounting, but the schemes differ as how they use this metaphor, that is, they differ as to their inherent logics. Here are the basic schemes. If you do something good for me, then I “owe” you something, I am “in your debt.
We know there is a metaphor at work here partly because financial reasoning is used to think about morality, and partly because financial words like “owe,” “debt,” and “repay” are used to speak of morality. Even in this simple case, there are two principles of moral action. Thus, when you did something good for me, you engaged in the first form of moral action. Here the two principles act in concert. Moral transactions get complicated in the case of negative action.
The complications arise because moral accounting is governed by a moral version of the arithmetic of keeping accounts, in which gaining a credit is equivalent to losing a debit and gaining a debit is equivalent to losing a credit. Suppose I do something to harm you. Then, by Well-Being is Wealth, I have given you something of negative value. By moral arithmetic, giving something negative is equivalent to taking something positive. By harming you, I have taken something of value from you. By harming you, I have placed you in a potential moral dilemma with respect to the first and second principles of moral accounting. By the first principle, you have acted immorally since you did something harmful to me.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. By the second principle, you have acted morally, since you have paid your moral debts. But you would have acted immorally by the second principle: in “letting me get away with it” you would not have done your moral duty, which is to make “make me pay ” for what I have done. No matter what you do, you violate one of the two principles. You have to make a choice. You have to give priority to one of the principles. Such a choice gives two different versions of moral accounting: The Morality of Absolute Goodness puts the first principle first.
The Morality of Retribution puts the second principle first. As might be expected, different people and different subcultures have different solutions to this dilemma, some preferring retribution, others preferring absolute goodness. In debates over the death penalty, liberals rank Absolute Goodness over Retribution, while conservatives tend to prefer Retribution: a life for a life. Suppose again that you do something to harm me, which is metaphorically to give me something of negative value. Moral arithmetic presents an alternative to retribution.
By moral arithmetic, you have taken something of positive value from me by harming me. If I take something of equal positive value back from you, I have taken “revenge. Revenge is the moral equivalent of retribution, another way of balancing the moral books. If I do something harmful to you, then I have given something of negative value and, by moral arithmetic, taken something of positive value. I then owe you something of equal positive value.