For example, if it is morally wrong to lie, then everyone should never lie. Even if the consequences of a lie are great, it must not be done. Kant’s theory is cold and unemotional. However, Kant viewed this as the best way to make ethical decisions. Kant’s view uses a categorical imperative, in which ethics is based upon an absolute, objective, deontologcial theory, in which intentions are more important than consequences.
Meta ethics tries to make sense of the terms and concepts used in ethical theories such as Utilitarianism and Natural Law. Some people believe that ethical language is extremely meaningful as they argue it is essential to be able to define terms such as “good” and “bad” before we can even begin to discuss ethical theories. However others disagree with this and argue that moral statements are subjective so are meaningless, as they cannot be described as either true or false. Those who hold cognitive theories about ethical language would argue that ethical statements are not meaningless as they are about facts, and can therefore be proved true or false. Ethical Naturalism is a cognitive theory of meta ethics which holds the belief that
What is Psychological Egoism? Are we selfish as humans or not? This is the question to ponder. I believe that Psychological Egoism is morally wrong in relation to other theories like Utilitarianism, Kantian, and Divine Command Morality. Psychological Egoism as a moral theory describes self-centeredness.
Virtue ethics is agent-centred ethics rather than act-centred; it asks ‘What sort of person ought I to be?’ rather than ‘How ought I to act?’ The Aristotelian approach shows to give an account of the structure of morality and explained that the point of enrolling in ethics is to become good: ‘For we are enquiring not in order to know what virtue is but in order to become good since otherwise our enquiry would be of no use.’ (Nichomachean Ethics, Book 1, ch. 2) Quite importantly, Aristotle’s distinguishes between things which are good as means (for the sake of something else) and things which are good as ends (for their own sake only), Aristotle seeks for one final and overriding end of human action, one final good – eudaimonia (or final happiness). Philosophers of the 20th century brought about a revival of virtue ethics as many were concerned with the act-centered ethical theories. Virtue ethics is able to do something very different to other ethical theories – rather than focus on the act of a person, virtue ethics will focus on the person itself. The modern development of virtue ethics is often linked back to a paper by G. E. M. Anscombe entitled ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’.
From this Moore claimed that it is impossible to derive an ‘is from an ought’. This criticism became known as the naturalistic fallacy. In addition to this G.E Moore claimed that naturalism was not able to stand up to the open question argument. ethical naturalism claims to be based on moral facts, it would therefore seem logical that these facts should stand up to scrutiny. Yet, if we observe that pleasure is good, we should be able to ask is good pleasure.
According to hard determinism we are not free in the sense required for moral responsibility, and therefore, what happens cannot be affected by choices that are free in the sense. But what happens may nevertheless be caused by the decisions we chose and the choices we make. A reaction to hard determinism is that if it were true, we would have no reason to attempt to accomplish anything, to try and improve our lives because our decisions and choices would make no difference. If everything we do is pre determined then why try hard to achieve anything, if you are meant to do a certain something, it will happen, it is already determined for you, so the hard determinist would say. In the hard determinist’s judgement, this feeling of freedom is an illusion.
One major strength of virtue ethics is that it allows the moral agent to make ethical decisions based on his or her moral well-being, not just based on what is legally right. Therefore this ethical system can be seen to have a greater weight over others as someone who follows it are doing so because they believe it’s right rather than following rules. This then also acknowledges that morality is complex and so rejects simplistic maxims as a basis for moral truths. However, this can also be seen to be one of the weaknesses of virtue ethics. Robert Louden stated that as virtue ethics is focused on the individual, it neither resolves nor attempts to resolve big moral dilemmas.
For utilitarian school of thought, an individual strives to do the most good, even at the expense of the minority. Utilitarianism and Kantianism find the basis of their differences in the idea that the ends justify the means. Utilitarian beliefs support this idea while Kantian philosophy rejects this. Modern ethics were devised from these two basic ethical beliefs in an attempt to combine the best aspects. Generally, the morally “right” action benefits the majority while affecting the fewest amount in a negative way.
Duty theory is a moral theory, especially connected with Kant, according to what actions are right or wrong because of their inherent content, and the motive from which they are done. Stealing is wrong principally because we can't make taking property a universal law. In general, philosophers usually call duty-based ethics deontology. It focuses on the act and not its consequence. The morally binding nature of a deontological norm derives from the person’s obligation to perform some act in some specified manner, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes it is not.
Since every ethical system should evaluate itself as the best and only moral system, and every other system is flawed and immoral, it is assumed that moral judgements about ethical systems are meaningless. Moral Relativism rests on the belief that values are subjective. It is holds the belief that there is no objective morality, that there is no such thing as right or wrong, good or evil. Only that, moral systems are just made up and supported by the circumstances of the action. Moral Relativism cannot and does not accept the idea that an objective moral system exists.