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What is Minimal Ethics?

Minimal Ethics is a theory that reduces ethics to a bare minimum of principles. It provides a simple framework for assessing the morality of our actions.

It fights conceptions that see morality « everywhere » and pretend to dictate everyone how to live their lives. It was developed by the French philosopher Ruwen Ogien in the late 2000s.

The 3 principles of Minimal Ethics

Don’t do harm to others. That is, do not cause deliberately and directly unjust harm. This principle requires us not to harm living people and to intervene only if someone tries to harm them.

Consider everyone equally. Avoid the coarsest forms of discriminations and respect the fundamental rights of each individual. It’s a principle that invites us not to interfere in the lives of others for reasons that they would not accept.

What you do to yourself is irrelevant to ethics. Morality is only about our relationship with others. Actions that only concern ourselves (our body, our personal choices) have nothing to do with ethics.

And that’s it?

Yes, it is. Ruwen Ogien’s Minimal Ethics lies only in these 3 principles. A detailed explanation of each principle is available on the French version of the website. You can also read the english F.A.Q.

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