Empathy and the Platinum Rule Essay

1964 Words Jun 28th, 2014 8 Pages
The Platinum Rule
Delvin KWA

Everyone knows the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This sounds like a sound starting point for an ethical approach. So sound that it has earned itself its golden title. Many philosophies and religions worldwide incorporate this rule, and it is not without surprise.
The Golden Rule might not be all-encompassing, and hence its negative form, the Silver Rule, which states: “Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you”, was born for complementarity. Together, these rules are based upon the importance of empathy and this ethic of reciprocity has been what many different cultures have resolved conflicts with. However, the Golden Rule is no panacea.
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The idea behind the saying: “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” is extrapolated to infinity in reality with there being many people in the world, as well as infinitesimal intervals in the spectrum between “meat” and “poison”. We kind of know all this already, and yes we do act with this in mind, but only sometimes. We should do it more, and in this paper, I will be discussing why this principle should be followed, as least much more so than the Golden Rule.
Compared to the Golden Rule, the potential rewards that the Platinum Rule would bring are far higher. By considering the needs and wants of others, we ensure that whatever is done for them is valued by them in relation to their expectations, or to put in other words, accords them the highest utility. Instead of giving people what you yourself want, which might very well be a case of “my meat but your poison”, the Platinum Rule seeks the utilitarian ideal where as far as possible, people are all given their meats, without any accidental stomach upsets.
One big assumption to be made, though, is that it is always possible to find out about what one likes and dislikes through enquiry. This is an important assumption since the premise of the Platinum Rule is such that the understanding of one’s preferences must first be established before any action.
The goal

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