The golden rule of morality – an ethical paradox


This paper focuses on the dynamics of ethical perspectives that embody the Golden Rule of Morality. Based on critical analysis of this rule in various cultural and religious contexts, but also from the perspective of humanism, the author presents its paradoxical character, the essence of which is interpreted here in terms of a pointer to metaphysical reality. It turns out that social conditionality, as well as the self-referential concept as a starting point of any ethical reasoning, are serious epistemological challenges for the application of the Golden Rule in the position of universal normativity that this study addresses. On the other hand, Judeo-Christian cosmology and the related basis for ethical foundations is presented here as an inspirational space of ethical reasoning in which the paradoxical character of the Golden Rule becomes rather an indicator of a deeper metaethical interpretation of one's own particular ethical attitudes and outcomes than a practical guide to the discovery of ethical universals.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • BERGER, P. L. & LUCKMANN, T. (1996): The Social Construction of Reality. New York: Penguin Books.

  • BLACKBURN, S. (2013): Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • DUPRÉ, B. (2013): 50 Philosophy Ideas You Really Need to Know. New York: Quercus.

  • EPSTEIN, G. M. (2010): Good Without God: What a Billion Non-religious People Do Believe. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

  • FIRMINGER, T. (2008): Pahlavi Texts of Zoroastrianism, Part 2 of 5: The Dadistan-i Dinik and the Epistles of Manuskihar, trans. E. W. West. Oxford: Clarendon & Oxford University Press.

  • GANGULY, K. M. (2017): Mahabharata Anusana Parva, [online] [Retrieved December 15, 2017]. Available at:

  • GLUCHMAN, V. (2017): G. E. Moore and theory of moral/right action in ethics of social consequences. In: Ethics & Bioethics (in Central Europe), 2017, 7(1-2), pp. 57-65.

  • CHILTON, B. D. & NEUSNER, J. (2008): The Golden Rule: The Ethics of Reciprocity in World Religions. London & New York: Continuum.

  • JASNOW, R. (1992): A Late Period Hieratic Wisdom Text (P. Brooklyn 47.218.135). Chicago: The Oriental Institute.

  • KALAJTZIDIS, J. (2013): Ethics of social consequences as a contemporary consequentialist theory. In: Ethics & Bioethics (in Central Europe), 3(3-4), pp. 159-171.

  • KANT, I. (2017): Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. T. K. Abbott. Publishing.

  • LEE, A. & MUSINGS, E. (2013): A Decalogue for the Modern World, [online] [Retrieved December 10, 2018]. Available at:

  • LEGGE, J. (2017): Chinese Text Project, ed. D. Sturgeon, [online] [Retrieved November 20, 2018]. Available at:

  • NEUSNER, J. & CHILTON, B. (2008): The Golden Rule - Analytical Perspectives. Lanham: University Press of America.

  • POJMAN, L. P. & VAUGHN, L. (2013): The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • RHYS-DAVIDS, T. W. (1904): Gautama Buddha (B.C. 623-543). In: E. Singleton (ed.): The World’s Great Events in Five Volumes: A History of the World from Ancient to Modern Times, B. C. 4004 to A. D. 1903. New York: P. F. Collier & Son, pp. 124-135.

  • ROUBALOVA, M., ZALEC, B. & KRALIK, R. (2018): Meaning, Necessity, and Value of Obedience According to the Sidra “Lech-lech” in rabbinical tradition. In: XLinguae, 11(2), pp. 51-59.

  • TAVILLA, I., KRALIK, R. & MARTIN, J. G. (2018): A brief recollection of Kierkegaard’s testimony on Reformation 500th anniversary. In: XLinguae, 11(1), pp. 354-362.

  • WATTLES, J. (1996): The Golden Rule. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Journal + Issues