The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 87–94 | Cite as

The Ethics of Common Decency

  • Yotam Benziman

Let’s begin with a few examples. The queue at the supermarket is long. My shopping cart is full of groceries. You are standing behind me, and your cart has only two or three items in it. I let you go ahead of me so that you can finish your shopping quickly.

A stranger in the street approaches you and asks you if you can light his cigarette. As a matter of course, you do.1

You help someone find his way in town, or assist an old woman to cross the road.2

A person entering the store ahead of you holds the door open for you so it does not slam in your face.3

Walking towards your car, about to leave the parking lot, you notice a driver searching in vain for a spot. You motion to her to follow you.

You and I are not acquainted with each other, but we happen to sit next to each other at a meeting. You are momentarily called out of the room and I cover your cup with a saucer, to keep the coffee warm.4

All of these are what I will call acts of common decency. The phenomenon I’ll be concerned...


Imperfect Duty Perfect Duty Parking Spot Decent People Wash Basin 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sapir CollegeNegevIsrael
  2. 2.Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Mevaseret ZionIsrael

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