Giving and Taking Offence in a Global Context

Giving and Taking Offence in a Global Context

John Weckert (Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/jthi.2007070103
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This article examines the concept of offence, both its giving and taking, and argues that such an examination can shed some light on global ethical issues. It examines the nature of offence, what, if anything, is wrong in giving offence, the obligations on the offended, whether or not offence is objective, and offence in a global setting. It argues for the view that choice and context provide some way of distinguishing between offence which is a serious moral issue and that which is not. It is morally worse to offend those who have no choice in the area of the offence, for example race, than in areas where there is choice. Intermediate cases such as religious belief, choice depends largely on education and exposure to alternatives. Context is important in that offending the vulnerable is morally worse than offending those in more powerful, or privileged groups.

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