Summary: Bronowski's central idea in his essay is that to be moral, people must care about others, accept them as important, and that any action we take must be judged by its consequences to them, as well as ourselves. This is the universal truth of morality, and while we are all different, we must follow our own conscience in every act we carry out.
The chain reaction that results, then gives off neutrons and radioactive rays, highly dangerous. This was what happened, when Slotin's screwdriver accidentally slipped, and the room began to fill with radioactivity. There were seven other people there, and Slotin pulled the plutonium apart with his bare hands, knowing this would kill him, but that his action would save his fellow-workers. He died, nine days after that date, the 12 May.
This man was a scientist who showed heroism and moral integrity in the way that he cared for others. He used his scientific judgment and intellectually evaluated the circumstances and the consequences to himself and others. Bronowski considered that these made up the two elements of "the highest morality: to combine human love with an unflinching scientific judgment.." (Bronowski, 1978). Though Slotin took a different path from the writer to use his skills, Bronowski ended by stating that no matter what people do, each individual, in order to be moral, must examine their conscience and act as it tells them to do. In effect, we all have it in us to be moral.
He showed the essential elements considered by Bronowski to "make morality". He cared, weighed up consequences and took decisive action. This demonstrated a high level of personal and social responsibility. He had made a mistake, causing danger to everyone, so his responsibility, as a moral person, was to put it right. This was described as "heroism in this case" but the morality involved is something "having the same anatomy the world over." This is something to aspire to, to be brave and make the right decision in any circumstances.
Michael Schulman, in his theory of 'How We Become Moral' (2002), stated that 'concern for others emerges spontaneously in very young children" and included empathy, moral connection to the goodness in others, and principles we all have about what is right and wrong. We do have the basic, innate ability to be moral. It seemed ironic that Slotin worked to create a bomb that destroyed many, but as Bronowski pointed out, people choose what they believe to be right, by following their conscience. Everybody develops an awareness of what is right for them, through upbringing, maybe religious or cultural belief, role models, learning and so forth. Moral integrity is when we look at how others would be affected by our actions; it is not about doing no harm, but about choosing to do good because others matter.
There are many examples to support this idea, as in the movie, 'Schindler's List', or those who helped the Jews during WW2, or the workers at the Twin Towers, on 9/11 - the list goes on. In caring about others, even when the consequences are not to our own advantage, we can try to make the right choices and achieve that level of moral integrity.
Bronowski, J. A Moral for an Age of Plenty. In: A Sense of the Future: Essays in
Natural Philosophy. Cambridge. MIT Press. 1978.
Schulman, M. 'How ...
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