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Does it render obsolete the Kantian emphasis on acting from a sense of duty as opposed to acting out of self-interest?Such questions fall under the rubric of a new field of research called Surveillance Impact Assessment.The reasoning is fairly simple: the better the surveillance, the more likely it is that moral transgressions will be detected and punished.
On this interpretation, God is a follower of the eighteenth century German philosopher Immanuel Kant.
(This would, of course, come as no surprise to Kant.) According to Kant, our actions are right when they conform to the moral rules dictated to us by our reason, and they have moral worth insofar as they are motivated by respect for that moral law.
Here is one way of thinking: surveillance edifies – that is, it builds moral character – by bringing duty and self-interest closer together.
This outlook would probably be favoured by philosophers such as Plato and Thomas Hobbes.
The result is fewer instances of moral failure, and patterns of behaviour conducive to social harmony.
A brief history of traffic surveillance illustrates the idea nicely: (‘the state of nature’): Do whatever you please – it’s a free for all. : Cops start patrolling the highways to enforce the speed limits.So what would be the right reason for not eating the fruit?Well, God is really no different than any other parent.Eve reaches her hand out – in paradise the fruit is always conveniently within reach – but at the last second she notices the CCTV and thinks better of it.Result: no sin, no Fall, no expulsion from paradise.The most likely explanation would be that God doesn’t just want Adam and Eve to make the right choices; he wants them to make the right choices .Not eating the forbidden fruit because you’re afraid you’ll be caught doesn’t earn you moral credit.After all, you’re only acting out of self-interest.If paradise suffered a power cut and the surveillance was temporarily down, you’d be in there straight away with the other looters.We don’t have to toil among thorns and thistles for the rest of our lives, earning our bread by the sweat of our brows; childbirth is painless; and we feel no need to wear clothes.So why didn’t God do that and save everyone a lot of grief?