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Ethic of reciprocity

Ethic of reciprocity

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Encyclopedia
  This term refers to the maxim "do as you would be done by". For other uses, see Golden Rule (disambiguation).

The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim
Maxim (philosophy)
A maxim is a ground rule or subjective principle of action; in that sense, a maxim is a thought that can motivate individuals.- Deontological ethics :...

, ethical code
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, or morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...


that essentially states either of the following:
  • (Positive form): One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
  • (Negative/prohibitive form, also called The Silver Rule): One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.


The Golden Rule is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, in which each individual has a right
Right
Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory...

 to just treatment, and a reciprocal responsibility to ensure justice for others.

The notion that the Golden Rule pertains to "rights" per se is a contemporary interpretation and has nothing to do with its origin. The development of human "rights" is a modern political ideal that began as a philosophical concept promulgated through the philosopy of Jean Jacques Rousseau in 18th century France, among others. His writings influenced Thomas Jefferson, who then incorporated Rousseau's reference to "inalienable rights" into the Declaration of Independence. To confuse the Golden Rule with human rights is to apply contemporary thinking to ancient concepts

A key element of the Golden Rule is that a person attempting to live by this rule treats all people with consideration, not just members of his or her in-group. The Golden Rule has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.

The Golden Rule has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal, bilateral nature in various ways (not limited to the above forms). As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term
Terminology
Terminology is the study of terms and their use. Terms are words and compound words that in specific contexts are given specific meanings, meanings that may deviate from the meaning the same words have in other contexts and in everyday language. The discipline Terminology studies among other...

 "Golden Rule" (or "Golden law", as it was called from the 1670s).
The ethic of reciprocity was present in certain forms in the philosophies of ancient Babylon, Egypt, Persia, India, Greece, Judea, and China.

Statements that mirror the Golden Rule appear in Ancient Egypt in the story of The Eloquent Peasant
The Eloquent Peasant
The Eloquent Peasant is an Ancient Egyptian story about a peasant, Khun-Anup, who stumbles upon the property of the noble Rensi son of Meru, guarded by its harsh overseer, Nemtynakht. It is set in the Ninth/Tenth dynasty around Herakleopolis.-Story Summary:...

. Rushworth Kidder
Rushworth Kidder
Rushworth M. Kidder founded the Institute for Global Ethics in 1990, and is the author of Moral Courage and How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living...

 states that "the label 'golden' was applied by Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

 (551–479 B.C.), who wrote a version of the Silver Rule. Kidder notes that this framework appears prominently in many religions, including "Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

, and the rest of the world's major religions", and Simon Blackburn
Simon Blackburn
Simon Blackburn is a British academic philosopher known for his work in quasi-realism and his efforts to popularise philosophy. He recently retired as professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, but remains a distinguished research professor of philosophy at the University of North...

 states that the Golden Rule can be "found in some form in almost every ethical tradition".

Even though the Golden Rule certainly is part of the concept of reciprocity, one thing that separates and distinguishes it from the Silver Rule
Silver rule
The Silver Rule, "Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you", is a standard of behaviour found in the writings of amongst others Hillel the Elder. It is related to the ethical principle of the Golden Rule....

 and other similar concepts of reciprocity is that, whereas the Silver Rule simply serves as a prohibition against negative action, the Golden Rule actually serves as a motivation toward positive action. As Dr. Frank Crane put it, "The Golden Rule is of no use to you whatsoever unless you realize that it's your move!"

Ancient Babylon


Some early incarnations of the Golden Rule, found in the Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating to ca. 1780 BC . It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay...

, (1780 BCE), and in the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, dealt with ethical reciprocity
Reciprocity (social and political philosophy)
The social norm of reciprocity is the expectation that people will respond to each other in similar ways—responding to gifts and kindnesses from others with similar benevolence of their own, and responding to harmful, hurtful acts from others with either indifference or some form of retaliation...

 in ways, such by limiting retribution to only that which was equal and equitable, as they did concepts of retribution
Retributive justice
Retributive justice is a theory of justice that considers that punishment, if proportionate, is a morally acceptable response to crime, with an eye to the satisfaction and psychological benefits it can bestow to the aggrieved party, its intimates and society....

 ("an eye for an eye
An eye for an eye
The meaning of the principle, an eye for an eye, is that a person who has injured another person receives the same injury in compensation. The exact Latin to English translation of this phrase is actually "The law of retaliation." At the root of this principle is that one of the purposes of the...

, a tooth for a tooth").

Ancient Egypt


An early example of the Golden Rule that reflects the Ancient Egyptian concept of Maat
Maat
Maat is a naval rank of the German navy equivalent to the army rank of Unteroffizier. A Maat is considered the equivalent of a junior Petty Officer in the navies of many other nations....

 appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant
The Eloquent Peasant
The Eloquent Peasant is an Ancient Egyptian story about a peasant, Khun-Anup, who stumbles upon the property of the noble Rensi son of Meru, guarded by its harsh overseer, Nemtynakht. It is set in the Ninth/Tenth dynasty around Herakleopolis.-Story Summary:...

, which dates to the Middle Kingdom
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

 (c. 2040–1650 BCE): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you." An example from a Late Period
Late Period of Ancient Egypt
The Late Period of Ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period from the 26th Saite Dynasty into Persian conquests and ended with the death of Alexander the Great...

 (c. 664 BCE – 323 BCE) papyrus: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another."

Ancient Greece


The Golden Rule in its prohibitive form was a common principle in ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 philosophy
Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BCE and continued through the Hellenistic period, at which point Ancient Greece was incorporated in the Roman Empire...

. Examples of the general concept include:
  • "Do not to your neighbor what you would take ill from him." – Pittacus
    Pittacus of Mytilene
    Pittacus was the son of Hyrradius and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. He was a native of Mytilene and the Mytilenaean general who, with his army, was victorious in the battle against the Athenians and their commander Phrynon. In consequence of this victory the Mytilenaeans held Pittacus in the...

     (c. 640–568 BCE)
  • "Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing." – Thales
    Thales
    Thales of Miletus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Miletus in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition...

  • "What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either. " – Sextus
    Sextus
    Sextus is a common ancient Roman praenomen. It probably means "sixth" . Parallel praenomina are Secundus, Tertius, Quintus, Septimus, Octavius and Decimus...

     the Pythagorean
    Pythagoreanism
    Pythagoreanism was the system of esoteric and metaphysical beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans, who were considerably influenced by mathematics. Pythagoreanism originated in the 5th century BCE and greatly influenced Platonism...

    . The oldest extant reference to Sextus is by Origin in the third century of the common era.
  • "Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others." – Isocrates
    Isocrates
    Isocrates , an ancient Greek rhetorician, was one of the ten Attic orators. In his time, he was probably the most influential rhetorician in Greece and made many contributions to rhetoric and education through his teaching and written works....

  • "What thou avoidest suffering thyself seek not to impose on others." – Epictetus
    Epictetus
    Epictetus was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia , and lived in Rome until banishment when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece where he lived the rest of his life. His teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses...

  • "It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing 'neither to harm nor be harmed'), and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life." – Epicurus
    Epicurus
    Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism.Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus's 300 written works...

  • "...it has been shown that to injure anyone is never just anywhere." - Socrates, in Plato's Republic
    Republic
    A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

    . Plato is the first person known to have said this.

Ancient China


The Golden Rule existed among all the major philosophical schools of Ancient China: Mohism
Mohism
Mohism or Moism was a Chinese philosophy developed by the followers of Mozi , 470 BC–c.391 BC...

, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, and Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

. Examples of the concept include:
  • "Zi Gong asked, saying, "Is there one word that may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" The Master said, "Is not RECIPROCITY such a word?" – Confucius
    Confucius
    Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

  • "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." – Confucius
    Confucius
    Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

  • "If people regarded other people's families in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own family to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself." – Mozi
    Mozi
    Mozi |Lat.]] as Micius, ca. 470 BC – ca. 391 BC), original name Mo Di , was a Chinese philosopher during the Hundred Schools of Thought period . Born in Tengzhou, Shandong Province, China, he founded the school of Mohism, and argued strongly against Confucianism and Daoism...

  • "The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful." –Laozi
    Laozi
    Laozi was a mystic philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching . His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of Taoism...

  • "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." –Laozi
    Laozi
    Laozi was a mystic philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching . His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of Taoism...


Global ethic


The "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic" from the Parliament of the World’s Religions (1993) proclaimed the Golden Rule ("We must treat others as we wish others to treat us") as the common principle for many religions. The Initial Declaration was signed by 143 respected leaders from all of the world's major faiths, including Baha'i Faith, Brahmanism, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Interfaith, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American, Neo-Pagan, Sikhism, Taoism, Theosophist, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian. In the folklore of several cultures{31} the Golden Rule is depicted by the allegory of the long spoons.

Bahá'í Faith


From the scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith:

Buddhism


Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 (Siddhartha Gautama, c. 563 - c. 483 B.C.) made this principle one of the cornerstones of his ethics in the 5th century BCE. It occurs in many places and in many forms throughout the Tripitaka
Tripiṭaka
' is a traditional term used by various Buddhist sects to describe their various canons of scriptures. As the name suggests, a traditionally contains three "baskets" of teachings: a , a and an .-The three categories:Tripitaka is the three main categories of texts that make up the...

.

Christianity


According to Simon Blackburn
Simon Blackburn
Simon Blackburn is a British academic philosopher known for his work in quasi-realism and his efforts to popularise philosophy. He recently retired as professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, but remains a distinguished research professor of philosophy at the University of North...

, although the Golden Rule "can be found in some form in almost every ethical tradition", the rule is "sometimes claimed by Christianity as its own". The "Golden Rule" has been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12, see also Luke 6:31). The common English phrasing is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". A similar form appeared in a Catholic catechism
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

 around 1567 (certainly in the reprint of 1583).
The Golden Rule also has roots in the two old testament edicts, found in ("Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself"; see also Great Commandment
Great Commandment
The Great Commandment, or Greatest Commandment, is an appellation applied to either the first, or both, of two commandments which appear in , and...

) and ("But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God").

The Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 Deuterocanonical books of Tobit
Book of Tobit
The Book of Tobit is a book of scripture that is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon, pronounced canonical by the Council of Carthage of 397 and confirmed for Roman Catholics by the Council of Trent...

 and Sirach
Sirach
The Book of the All-Virtuous Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira , commonly called the Wisdom of Sirach or simply Sirach, and also known as Ecclesiasticus or Siracides , is a work from the early 2nd century B.C. written by the Jewish scribe Jesus ben Sirach of Jerusalem...

, accepted as part of the Scriptural canon by Catholic Church
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

, Eastern Orthodoxy
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, and the Non-Chalcedonian
Non-Chalcedonian
Non-Chalcedonianism is the view of those churches that accepted the First Council of Ephesus of 431, but, for varying reasons, did not accept allegiance to the Council of Chalcedon following it in 451. The most substantial Non-Chalcedonian tradition is known as Oriental Orthodoxy...

 Churches, also express a negative form of the golden rule:
At the time of Hillel
Hillel the Elder
Hillel was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud...

, an elder contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth, the negative form of the golden rule already must have been proverbial, perhaps because of Tobit 4:15. When asked to sum up the entire Torah concisely, he answered:
Two passages in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 quote Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 espousing the golden rule:
A similar passage, a parallel to the Great Commandment
Great Commandment
The Great Commandment, or Greatest Commandment, is an appellation applied to either the first, or both, of two commandments which appear in , and...

, is
The passage in the book of Luke then continues with Jesus answering the question, "Who is my neighbor?", by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, indicating that "your neighbour" is anyone in need. Jesus' teaching, however, goes beyond the negative formulation of not doing what one would not like done to themselves, to the positive formulation of actively doing good to another that, if the situations were reversed, one would desire that the other would do for them. This formulation, as indicated in the parable of the Good Samaritan, emphasises the needs for positive action that brings benefit to another, not simply restraining oneself from negative activities that hurt another. Taken as a rule of judgement, both formulations of the golden rule, the negative and positive, are equally applicable.

One passage in the Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is a part of the open scriptural canon of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement...

 quote Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 a Revelation given through Joseph Smith. They are to love and serve the Lord and keep his commandments:

Confucianism


Rushworth Kidder attributes the "golden" appellation to Confucius: "Here certainly is the golden maxim: Do not do to others that which we do not want them to do to us."

The same idea is also presented in V.12 and VI.30 of the Analects.

Hinduism



Humanism



Many different sources claim the Golden Rule as a humanist principle:

Islam



The Golden Rule is implicitly expressed in some verses of Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, but is explicitly declared in the sayings of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

.

Quran


The first verse recommends the positive form of the rule, and the subsequent verses condemn not abiding the negative form of the Golden Rule:

Hadith


Ali ibn Abi Talib (4th Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 in Sunni Islam, and first Imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

 in Shia Islam) says:

Jainism


In Jainism, the golden rule is firmly embedded in its entire philosophy and can be seen in its clearest form in the doctrines of Ahimsa
Ahimsa in Jainism
Ahiṃsā in Jainism is a fundamental principle forming the cornerstone of its ethics and doctrine. The term "ahimsa" means “non-violence”, “non-injury” or absence of desire to harm any life forms. Vegetarianism and other non-violent practices and rituals of Jains flow from the principle of Ahiṃsā...

 and Karma

The following quotation from the Acaranga Sutra
Acaranga Sutra
The Acaranga Sutra is the first of the eleven Angas, part of the agamas which were compiled based on the teachings of Lord Mahavira.The Acaranga Sutra discusses the conduct of a Jain monk...

 sums up the philosophy of Jainism:
Saman Suttam
Saman Suttam
Saman Suttam is the religious text created in 1974 by a committee consisting of representatives of each of the major sects of Jainism to reconcile the teachings of the sects. After a gap of about nearly two thousand years following composition of Tattvartha Sutra by Acharya Umasvati this was the...

 of Jinendra Varni
Jinendra Varni
Jinēndra Varṇī, , one of the best-known Jain scholars of the 20th century, is known for his pioneering five-volume Jainendra Siddhanta Kosha and Saman Suttam compilation, the first text accepted by all Jain orders in 1800 years....

 gives further insight into this percepts:-

Judaism


One concept of the Golden Rule originates in a well-known Torah verse (Hebrew: "ואהבת לרעך כמוך"):
This Torah verse represents one of several versions of the Golden Rule, which itself appears in various forms, positive and negative. It is one of the earliest written versions of that concept in a positive form. All versions and forms of the proverbial Golden Rule have one aspect in common, they all call for others the equal manner and respect we want for ourselves.

At the turn of the eras, the Jewish rabbis were discussing the scope of the meaning of Leviticus 19:18 and 19:34 extensively:
Some deputized the excluding opinion: "neighbor" only refers to Jews and proselytes. Others summed up Samaritans as the proselytes (= 'strangers who resides with you') (Rabbi Akiba, bQuid 75b) or Jews (Rabbi Gamaliel, yKet 3,1; 27a).

The Sage Hillel
Hillel the Elder
Hillel was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud...

 formulated a negative form of the golden rule. When asked to sum up the entire Torah concisely, he answered:
On the verse, "Love your fellow as yourself," the classic commentator Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 quotes from Torat Kohanim, an early Midrashic text regarding the famous dictum of Rabbi Akiva: "Love your fellow as yourself — Rabbi Akiva says this is a great principle of the Torah."

The Hassidic perspective of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi
Shneur Zalman of Liadi
Shneur Zalman of Liadi , also known as the Baal HaTanya, , was an Orthodox Rabbi, and the founder and first Rebbe of Chabad, a branch of Hasidic Judaism, then based in Liadi, Imperial Russia...

 based on the teachings of the Zohar
Zohar
The Zohar is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology...

 implores one to "repay the offenders with favors":
Israel's postal service
Postage stamps and postal history of Israel
The postage stamps and postal history of Israel is a survey of the postage stamps issued by the state of Israel, and its postal history, since independence was proclaimed on May 14, 1948. The first postage stamps were issued two days later on May 16, 1948...

 quoted from the previous Leviticus verse when it commemorated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...

 on a 1958 postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

.

Mohism


Mozi regarded the golden rule as a corollary to the cardinal virtue of impartiality, and encouraged egalitarianism
Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

 and selflessness in relationships.

Platonism


The Golden Rule is a central concept in Plato's philosophy.

Quakerism


"Oh, do as you would be done by. And do unto all men as you would have them do unto you, for this is but the law and the prophet." Postscript to the Quaker peace testimony
Peace Testimony
Peace testimony, or testimony against war, is a shorthand description of the action generally taken by members of the Religious Society of Friends for peace and against participation in war. Like other Quaker testimonies, it is not a "belief", but a description of committed actions, in this case...

, signed by George Fox
George Fox
George Fox was an English Dissenter and a founder of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers or Friends.The son of a Leicestershire weaver, Fox lived in a time of great social upheaval and war...

.

Sikhism


Taoism


Wicca


Criticisms and responses to criticisms


Many people have criticized the golden rule; George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

 once said that "the golden rule is that there are no golden rules". Shaw suggested an alternative rule: "Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same" (Maxims for Revolutionists; 1903). Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

 wrote: "The golden rule is a good standard which is further improved by doing unto others, wherever reasonable, as they want to be done by" (The Open Society and Its Enemies
The Open Society and Its Enemies
The Open Society and Its Enemies is an influential two-volume work by Karl Popper written during World War II. Failing to find a publisher in the United States, it was first printed in London by Routledge in 1945...

, Vol. 2
). This concept has recently been called "The Platinum Rule" Philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

, Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, and Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

, have objected to the rule on a variety of grounds. The most serious among these is its application. How does one know how others want to be treated? The obvious way is to ask them, but this cannot be done if one assumes they have not reached a particular and relevant understanding.

Differences in values or interests


Shaw's comment about differing tastes suggests that if your values are not shared with others, the way you want to be treated will not be the way they want to be treated. For example, it has been said that a sadist is just a masochist who follows the golden rule. Another often used example of this inconsistency is that of the man walking into a bar looking for a fight.

Differences in situations


Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

 famously criticized the golden rule for not being sensitive to differences of situation, noting that a prisoner duly convicted of a crime could appeal to the golden rule while asking the judge to release him, pointing out that the judge would not want anyone else to send him to prison, so he should not do so to others.

Kant's Categorical Imperative
Categorical imperative
The Categorical Imperative is the central philosophical concept in the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant, as well as modern deontological ethics...

, introduced in Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, is often confused with the Golden Rule.

Responses to criticisms


Walter Terence Stace
Walter Terence Stace
Walter Terence Stace was a British civil servant, educator, philosopher and epistemologist, who wrote on Hegel, Mysticism, and Moral relativism...

, in The Concept of Morals (1937), wrote:
M. G. Singer observed that there are two importantly different ways of looking at the golden rule: as requiring (1) that you perform specific actions that you want others to do to you or (2) that you guide your behavior in the same general ways that you want others to. Counter-examples to the golden rule typically are more forceful against the first than the second.

In his book on the golden rule, Jeffrey Wattles makes the similar observation that such objections typically arise while applying the golden rule in certain general ways (namely, ignoring differences in taste, in situation, and so forth). But if we apply the golden rule to our own method of using it, asking in effect if we would want other people to apply the golden rule in such ways, the answer would typically be no, since it is quite predictable that others' ignoring of such factors will lead to behavior which we object to. It follows that we should not do so ourselves—according to the golden rule. In this way, the golden rule may be self-correcting. An article by Jouni Reinikainen develops this suggestion in greater detail.

It is possible, then, that the golden rule can itself guide us in identifying which differences of situation are morally relevant. We would often want other people to ignore our race or nationality when deciding how to act towards us, but would also want them to not ignore our differing preferences in food, desire for aggressiveness, and so on. The platinum rule, and perhaps other variants, might also be self-correcting in this same manner.

Alternate "Golden Rule" cited in business and politics


An alternative, more realpolitik
Realpolitik
Realpolitik refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ethical premises...

 definition of the "Golden Rule" cited in business and politics, with a distinct twist on the expected religious/moral definition, is "He who has the gold, makes the rules." Citation of the Rule under this meaning is often meant to make a naive, weaker party aware of the dynamics of an interaction in which one party has greater resources and therefore greater power than another.

Scientific research


There has been research published arguing that some 'sense' of fair play and the Golden Rule may be stated and rooted in terms of neuroscientific
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

 and neuroethical
Neuroethics
Neuroethics is the ethics of neuroscience, and the neuroscience of ethics.The ethics of neuroscience deals with matters as a subclass of bioethics...

 principles.

See also

  • Double standard
    Double standard
    A double standard is the unjust application of different sets of principles for similar situations. The concept implies that a single set of principles encompassing all situations is the desirable ideal. The term has been used in print since at least 1895...

  • Hypocrisy
    Hypocrisy
    Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie....

  • Brotherly love (philosophy)
    Brotherly love (philosophy)
    Brotherly love in the biblical sense is an extension of the natural affection associated with near kin, toward the greater community of fellow believers, that goes beyond the mere duty in to "love thy neighbour as thyself", and shows itself as "unfeigned love" from a "pure heart", that extends an...

  • Deontological ethics
    Deontological ethics
    Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty"...

  • Golden Rule (fiscal policy)
    Golden Rule (fiscal policy)
    The Golden Rule is a guideline for the operation of fiscal policy. The Golden Rule states that over the economic cycle, the Government will borrow only to invest and not to fund current spending. In layman's terms this means that on average over the ups and downs of an economic cycle the government...

  • Harm Principle
    Harm principle
    The harm principle holds that the actions of individuals should only be limited to prevent harm to other individuals. John Stuart Mill first articulated this principle in On Liberty, where he argued that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized...

  • Live by the sword, die by the sword
    Live by the sword, die by the sword
    "Live by the sword, die by the sword" is a saying derived from a Biblical parable to the effect that if you use violence, or other harsh means, against other people, you can expect to have those same means used against you; "You can expect to become a victim of whatever means you use to get what...

  • Norm of reciprocity
    Norm of reciprocity
    The norm of reciprocity is the social expectation that people will respond to each other in kind—returning benefits for benefits, and responding with either indifference or hostility to harms. The social norm of reciprocity often takes different forms in different areas of social life, or in...

    , social norm of in-kind responses to the behavior of others
  • Reciprocity (cultural anthropology)
    Reciprocity (cultural anthropology)
    In cultural anthropology and sociology, reciprocity is a way of defining people's informal exchange of goods and labour; that is, people's informal economic systems. It is the basis of most non-market economies. Since virtually all humans live in some kind of society and have at least a few...

    , way of defining people's informal exchange of goods and labour
  • Reciprocity (evolution)
    Reciprocity (evolution)
    Reciprocity in evolutionary biology refers to mechanisms whereby the evolution of cooperative or altruistic behaviour may be favoured by the probability of future mutual interactions...

    , mechanisms for the evolution of cooperation
  • Reciprocity (international relations)
    Reciprocity (international relations)
    In international relations and treaties, the principle of reciprocity states that favours, benefits, or penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens or legal entities of another, should be returned in kind....

    , principle that favours, benefits, or penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens or legal entities of another, should be returned in kind
  • Reciprocity (social and political philosophy)
    Reciprocity (social and political philosophy)
    The social norm of reciprocity is the expectation that people will respond to each other in similar ways—responding to gifts and kindnesses from others with similar benevolence of their own, and responding to harmful, hurtful acts from others with either indifference or some form of retaliation...

    , concept of reciprocity as in-kind positive or negative responses for the actions of others; relation to justice; related ideas such as gratitude, mutuality, and the Golden Rule
  • Reciprocity (social psychology)
    Reciprocity (social psychology)
    Reciprocity in social psychology refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions. People categorize an action as kind by viewing its consequences and also by the person's fundamental intentions. Even if the consequences are the same, underlying...

    , in-kind positive or negative responses of individuals towards the actions of others
  • Serial reciprocity, where the benefactor of a gift or service will in turn provide benefits to a third party
  • Silver Rule
    Silver rule
    The Silver Rule, "Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you", is a standard of behaviour found in the writings of amongst others Hillel the Elder. It is related to the ethical principle of the Golden Rule....

  • Three Wise Monkeys
    Three wise monkeys
    The Three Wise Monkeys , sometimes called the Three Mystic Apes, are a pictorial maxim. Together they embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"...


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