More sloppy thinking about ethics: Thomas D. Fuller {"Is All Philosophy a Lie?" letters, Nov. 24} is eager to claim that the rightness or wrongness of an action is just a matter of popular opinion, but he cannot even state his own position without contradicting himself.

According to Mr. Fuller, rightness and wrongness depend on how many people agree or disagree, because "those things that over time are seen to result in the greatest good for the greatest number are regarded as good or moral." In a single sentence he has already surreptitiously slipped in an objective moral standard ("greatest good for the greatest number") and tacitly changed the subject (he is now talking about what is "regarded as" good, not what is good).

Mr. Fuller to the contrary, it takes no assertion of a "mysterious moral character" in actions to realize that a Saddam Hussein, an Ayatollah Khomeini or a Ku Klux Klanster cannot make something right or wrong solely by persuading a lot of people to agree with him. In fact, we pay special respect to the moral vision of those who can perceive where the majority is mistaken about right and wrong. Someone who really wishes to claim that such judgments amount to no more than public-opinion polls will have to offer arguments a good deal more compelling than Mr. Fuller's.