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Black and white, or gray?


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One widely-encountered idea today is that there is no black and white when it comes to morality, only a kind of "gray area." This is often taken to mean that we really can't know with certainty what is right and wrong, allowing us to "push into the gray" as we make certain moral decisions that at first glance appear to be immoral.

The behavior of the semi-legendary figure of Robin Hood is sometimes mentioned as an example of this "gray area" phenomenon, since he was a character who would steal money (morally bad) for the purposes of helping the poor (morally good).

By focusing on the good intentions motivating our choices, and by arguing that morality is ambiguous and mostly "gray" anyway, a person can more easily justify and provide cover for morally problematic actions. When we begin to scrutinize the claim that morality is "gray," however, we encounter significant problems and contradictions.

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