Should I Follow the Golden Rule?


You should treat others in the way you would like them to treat you.

Q1 Analysis

This may be a Q1 violation if there are some people you wouldn’t treat well.

Q2 Analysis

This is not a Q2 violation unless you don’t want people to treat you as they would want to be treated (for example, if you think you deserve special treatment for reasons other people might not agree with).


The Golden Rule has been around for centuries and it seems to almost be an embodiment of Q2. However, it is more narrow than Q2 in that it deals only with behavior and not with the thought behind that behavior.

The Golden Rule is also vague in some areas and has the potential to be misleading. For example, by a literal reading of the Golden Rule:

Some of these examples point out that the Golden Rule only works if applied honestly and with all significant factors in mind. Perhaps the Golden Rule would be more globally valid if it were phrased, "You should treat others in the way you would like them to treat you if you were in their place." Would you agree with the Rule in that form?

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at and See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on June 29, 2010 at 10:19 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

3 Responses

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  1. Written by yoyoma111
    on June 29, 2010 at 11:38 am
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    The “new” golden rule is a mouthful. Try shortening it and then I agree :)

  2. Written by ed42
    on June 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm
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    Perhaps the negative is also apropos: “Do NOT unto others what you want NOT to befall you.” This I think is a nature outgrowth of the non-aggression principle: “Do not initiate force nor fraud”.

  3. Written by Zach
    on June 30, 2010 at 5:04 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Even in the longer form, the Golden rule has to be applied generally to be truly universal. For example, if your spouse died and you knew he/she wanted to be buried, but you knew when you died you wanted to donate your body to science, the Golden rule taken specifically would say, “If I were in his/her place, I would want my body donated to science,” whereas the Golden rule taken generally would say, “If I were in his/her place, I would want my wishes carried out.” I think the latter is much more in keeping with the idea behind the Golden rule.

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