Principle 1 of True Storytelling, What Is Truth? Here are four standpoints.
For Immanuel Kant (1785 Grounding For the Metaphysics of Morals), if a murderer comes to your door, and asks, ‘is your daughter home, I intend to kill her’ you must tell the truth. Why? His belief is we conform to God’s universal laws (commandments) and to lit is to interfere with God’s plan. Corporations and government agencies use codes of ethics, and each individual is expected to follow them, but codes are rarely enforced. Mikhail Bakhtin (1993, writing in 1919-1921) wanted to revise Kant’s categorical imperative so people would conscious conscious reflection (principle 7 of True Storytelling) of our own complicity in events happening here-and-now.
If you see a person lying on the sidewalk about to die, you are answerable to act, compelled to help because we are part of a larger system or relationship. Both Kant and Bakhtin did not abide utilitarian ethics, the idea that acting in self-interest works out in the end because of the invisible hand of market forces (Smith, 1776). Rosile (2016) and Cajete (2000) extend the focus of ethics from Western Ways of Knowing (WWOK) to Indigenous Ways of Knowing (IWOK). In IWOK ethical focus is one’s role in the community, and the community Being in balance with Nature and it’s spiritual ecology (even the rock, the tree, the mountain, and the water has a spirit). To WWOK, this is animism and only humans have spirit.
In True Storytelling (Larsen, Boje, & Bruun, 2020) we help people and organizations move from the top half to the bottom half of the chart, from categorical and utilitarian ethics to the ethics of answerability ethics and indigenous ways of Being-ethical in community and spiritual ecology.