Date of Defense



Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. E. Thomas Lawson

Second Advisor

Dr. Larry ten Harmsel

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Pritchard


"Because I said so." How many of us have heard this during our childhood? Parents frequently use this phrase to justify moral claims to their children. This "axiom" may be all the justification needed to explain to a three year old why he should not eat the cookie off the ground or hit the little sibling, but it certainly does not hold up well under any degree of philosophic scrutiny. However, another adage parents commonly invoke, does: "How would you like it if somebody did that to you?"

Variations of this question are used not only by parents, but by businessmen, politicians, attorneys, religious gurus, philosophers and the general population in an attempt to illuminate moral conundrums and separate the good decisions from the bad. The question is probably recognizable to most as a variant of what has come to be known as the Golden Rule. Perhaps more commonly seen is this form of the rule: "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you." This form is a passage from the Gospel of Mathew, but the rule is by no means a strictly Christian precept. All of the world's major religions and many prominent philosophers hold the Golden Rule in a high level of esteem, and many claim the rule is the premier principle for all moral decision making. In this piece we will examinejust how prevalent the Golden Rule is among the teachings of the world's religions and philosophers. We will then attempt to understand why the rule has been so widely accepted, and find that it may be explained by a theory this piece will advance called "Logical Morality." We will discover that Logical Morality has the power to explain why many moral arguments are advanced as they are, why certain behaviors are undertaken and to reinforce and augment traditional philosophies on political behavior. Finally, to finish the advancement of Logical Morality, we will combat objections raised against the rule, and, finally, see that the Golden Rule may point to an even more powerful moral precept than itself.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only