Though ethics is fundamentally opposed by juridics, juridics appears in most ethical theories. This is unfortunate. Juridics is a disposition about human action and life that believes that it is preferable to control human action from without (heteronomously) than to allow human values and life to self-organize. Ethics (or the axiographical ethics that is advocated here) is the opposite disposition: it allows that even values are self-organizational and that ethics as a human practices goes best when the number of legitimate lists is indeterminable. Juridics adheres to one ranking of human values, or universalizes one of those rankings. Ethics is open to multitudes of rankings of values in human lives. But ethics is admixed with juridics to the point of their being inseparable in most people's minds. The point of this part of the WikiEthica project is to make this admixing clear, but then to separate juridics from ethics and demote juridics as a way of bringing order to life.
Aristotle tells us that laws are needed to make most people good (=virtuous) because most people live in pursuit of personal pleasures and according to personal preferences. In this they tend either to pursue pleasure to the exclusion of other goods or to avoid pains (like physical exercise or intellectual practice) that, if they had endured them, would have led to higher pleasure (such as good health, strength or broad knowledge). Kant’s ethical theory develops a notion of being good through doing what is right, which he identifies with universally applicable laws of acting. Even Mill uses the laws of the state to ensure that goods are maximized and fairly distributed.
Furthermore, in our own time and culture, we have had 300 years to develop a system, attitudes, and culture of laws, rules, regulations, codes of conduct and obligatory do-don’t lists that keep us in line. These are the juridic controls that apply to our lives, and together they constitute the juridic load that we each bear as part of the culture, and over which we exercise no control (such prescriptions and proscriptions of behavior are developed in legislative and executive bodies or persons). We must conform to this prescribed way of living or suffer negative consequences (penalties) imposed from without (Aristotle thinks that the virtuous person is aware of the negative consequences that arise from within due to vicious action, and thus does not carry out such actions). Fortunately, there are two other ways of thinking about human activity
Early Daoists (in the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi) advocated non-coercively for letting life's order emerge out of the living itself, in place of imposing principles of order upon it. More recently, and in the west, anarchists think individuals and groups can be and have been good without laws; they soften laws into principles, and then multiply the principles that may be referred to in living life.
In this project, students have researched one typical area or activity of human life in the northern high plains west. What students have determined is the degree to which the chosen area of life is burdened by juridic controls on behavior.
Phase one involves basic research for and composition of the entries. In phase two we begin to identify types of juridic loads and common law forms and purposes in order to disclose the systemic nature of Juridics in keeping people in line and denying them self-determination. Phase Three is the extraction of a knowledge, procedures, and tactics for forming ethical alliances and engaging in ethical combat in the interest of unconventional values.