I am in love with my brother's ex-girlfriend of 2 years. Over those 2 years, we

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I am in love with my brother's ex-girlfriend of 2 years. Over those 2 years, we became best friends and I developed feelings for her. My question is, now that my brother and her are no longer together, is MORALLY wrong to start a relationship with her? Here is what I have considered: From what I have learned about objective morality/ethics I could follow the Golden Rule "Treat other as you would want to be treated". I have dismissed this on the basis that yes, if I were my brother I would be annoyed by my brother dating my ex, but I would also want my brother to be happy and, after weighing everything on both sides, I would concede to allowing my brother to do what makes him happy. If I take an egoistic approach, I probably wouldn't be asking this question because I would do what is best for me. If I take a utilitarian approach I would consider everyone I am affecting equally, and do what is best for the majority and in that case, I would harm one person (my brother) and do what's best for the majority (me and her). So far, all I have gotten from people are opinions which range from "do what your heart tells you" to "That's wrong". Have not received a reason as to why it is wrong. P.S.: (1) I know she is not the only girl in the world that I can fall in love with, but fact is I am in love with her now and she is my best friend, (2) I don't want opinions, I want a reason as to WHY it is wrong that is not biased and that is based on some fundamental, objective moral standard, and (3) I am fully aware of the implications with my family and hers, I know their opinions on the matter (my brother personally says he doesn't care, but that he would be disappointed, but offered no reason for his disappointment). Thank you.

It's hard to see why it would be morally wrong. No doubt it would upset a few people for a while, but it's not clear that they'd be entitled to be upset. Beyond that. it's not clear what else might make it wrong. If both families are mortally opposed, then I suppose someone might say that one's obligation to one's family demands that you stay "just friends." But it's not obvious that we owe that sort of deference to our families' wishes, and it's certainly not obvious that our family members are entitled to make such demands on us.

Of course, I don't know the details of the story. Perhaps if I did, things would look different. But this brings me to what is the actual philosophical issue here. You say that you want the matter settled by reference to some "objective moral standard." But this makes me wonder: are you looking for some sort of derivation of the right answer from a maxim or two? There's not much reason to believe that moral wisdom works that way. The right thing to do is usually a matter of balancing different considerations. We think about who will get hurt. We think about long-term consequences. We think about loyalties we owe to other people. We think about fairness, kindness, courage. We think about whether we are being impulsive or whether we're being clear-eyed. And we may think about a good deal more. Theories like utilitarianism are attempts to tie all this up with a bow, but all such theories are controversial and post hoc.

Here's a nice quote I saw today. It's from C. D. Broad's Ethics and the History of Philosophy: "Moral philosophers, as such, have no special information not available to the general public, about what is right and what is wrong." Knowing moral theory or being able to cite abstract principles isn't even remotely guaranteed to make us better at sorting through complicated moral issues.

There is one question that seems relevant to all this, however: does this woman feel the same way about you that you feel about her? If not, the issue is moot. If so, then I'd think that there would need to be weighty reasons that you haven't mentioned to make it wrong for the two of you to begin a relationship.

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