inappropriate_behavior_in_public_5835So, you have Alayna to thank for this week’s question. This is a question, and more generally an issue, that she recently brought to my attention. In general, it is broadly accepted that there are some things it is appropriate to do in private, but not in public, and vice versa. For instance, the vast majority of people will agree that it is inappropriate to have sex in public (though the members of the band Gwar seem to disagree). On the other hand, some people would say that it is inappropriate to have a fight with your spouse in public, but others will disagree. And practically no one would say that it is inappropriate to stretch in public, but some people would find this highly offensive.

Further, there is a contingent that argues that you should not do anything privately that you wouldn’t do publically. Now, this can range from people who believe it is acceptable to be nude and/or have sex in public to people who believe that it is unacceptable to be nude and/or have sex in private. However, both groups are using the same general rule: public and private behavior restrictions are exactly the same.

So, here is your question: What is the difference between acceptable public behavior and acceptable private behavior? How do you know? Why?

As always give me your response in a story of 1000 words. Have fun!

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One thought on “Philosophical Story Challenge of the Week

  1. The ethical (? not sure that’s exactly the right word) guideline for what is acceptable in both private and public should be the same. What I mean by that is that stealing is bad because it harms someone, not because we did it in public or private, while clapping our hands is acceptable because it (usually) doesn’t harm anyone, likewise regardless of public or private.

    There are then two concerns that an acceptable behavior (it is important that it first be acceptable) should be restricted to private. The first, which most everyone should understand, is that it is embarrassing, offensive, or the like. It may be perfectly safe to use a toilet that doesn’t have any walls in the middle of the mall, but no one (hopefully) wants to see it, and you (hopefully) don’t want them to see it. The other reason, that far too few people understand today, is because it is sacred. That’s kind of the opposite of the previous reason. It’s not that it’s so worthless that you don’t want to be publicly associated with it, but rather that it’s so valuable that you don’t want to share it. Sex and nudity fit in here. The human body isn’t shameful, but it is shameful to publicly expose it, just like it’d be shameful to toss the original Mona Lisa in a pig sty.

    There is also a concern that should prohibit us from doing something in private, and that is that it’s so important and so tempting toward corruption that we want to make sure EVERYONE sees you do it, and you KNOW everyone sees you do it, to make sure you don’t get tempted. This is why sessions of Congress are open to the public. As in, officially and historically why.

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