Normy moralne wobec konfliktów społecznych

Maria Ossowska


The common opinion is that moral principles act in social life like a lubricant which removes, or at least reduces, frictions occurring among men. The author analyses this opinion. For this purpose she takes into consideration successively: the conception of conflict, its kinds, and its function in the social life, as well as cases in which a moral norm can actually mitigate a conflict or even make it impossible. The author agrees with those views which emphasize the positive function of certain conflicts and which demand that it is by moral norms that we should determine which conflicts ought to be removed and which maintained. Another question is whether all ethical rules perform the pacifying function which is generally attributed to them. To this question the author is inclined to give a negative answer. In the first place, there exist two groups of rules which do not act as a lubricant, that is, rules granting to man some rights which are maintained with full determination, even if they lead to collisions, and other rules putting certain demands on people in relation to a personal pattern, rules which are not abandoned, even if they do engender conflicts.