A Morality for Sociopaths

Most moral theories attempt to determine how people ought to behave without considering whether or not people are capable of behaving in the ways they describe. Those that do consider whether or not their moral theories are too demanding do so only in minor ways. They consider perhaps whether or not the average person is capable of acting in the way they describe, or whether or not the average person could one day be capable, but they do not commit themselves to designing a moral theory that is universally feasible. What about morally abnormal individuals, who do not have the altruistic and social impulses many moral theories assume? Can they be incorporated into a moral theory? I not only think we can incorporate these individuals, but that we must do so, because if we do not, these individuals will act in harmful ways that our moral theories fail to anticipate. Our popular morality allows these individuals to gain by being immoral, to take advantage of those who do subscribe to the common morality. Only moral theories that expect the worst can be prepared to deal with the worst. Today I’d like to discuss how we ought to assimilate these people into a common moral theory, one that anticipates their inclinations and adjusts itself accordingly.

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