Self interest must be disregarded when deciding what actions are morally right’ Assess this view. If self interest was to be disregarded when deciding what actions are morally right would it mean that I must disregard myself when deciding which actions are morally right despite the consequences? Subsequently, whether I act without regard to myself has no effect on whether the action is moral or not. However, is it rational to not take into account the effect actions may cause? Is it possible to act in a way which also benefits me?
On that alone I was willing to support his perspective, but needed to critically evaluate it as a credible argument. I wanted to prove that through Fulbright’s argument there was an alternative to involvement in conflict. I learned in my critical evaluation that even though it is desirable not to get involved in war, and not sacrifice American lives, that Fulbright does not provide a reasonable alternative. It was a difficult conclusion to reach. I had to overcome my own bias on the issue and examine objectively each aspect and implication of Fulbright’s argument.
We are behaving morally, on the other hand, if we resist because we believe it is wrong to steal and that by stealing we would be treating someone else as a means to an end (e.g. for our own enrichment) which would be wrong in itself. Kant then goes on to argue that in an ideal world (one in which good was always rewarded and evil punished) moral behaviour (which would be in accordance with the categorical imperative) would always lead to happiness. In the real world, however, this does not necessarily happen. Therefore there must be
Normative moral cultural relativism (referred to in this essay as ‘moral relativism’ or ‘cultural relativism’) raises many questions in terms of both definition and logic to anyone who studies it, and herein I will try to demonstrate just one problem with the claims of relativists, namely that their premises create a contradiction when it comes to the claim of non-universal moral rules. James Rachels correctly points out that moral relativists make an invalid logical jump, claiming that what is is what ought to be. He then goes on to talk about the effects of moral relativism even if we ignore this problem. My analysis will differ from his in that he focuses on consequences of moral relativism that go against our instinctual beliefs, or that simply don’t seem to sit well with people. I will try to show some logical contradictions that occur even if we ignore this is-ought problem.
Secondly this essay will discuss the logical concept of absolute truth while highlighting a few weaknesses of relative truth. Finally, this essay will evaluate the entertainment factor of torture as wrong, based on the argument that a transcultural moral standard of what is right and wrong does indeed exist and how and why this argument is a convincing one indeed. Moral relativism is the theory that what is considered virtuous conduct and right and wrong varies between different cultural contexts and societal situations and is nonexistent in the general abstract. The disagreement argument accounts for the seemingly obvious fact that different cultures have different moral beliefs leading to moral disagreements demonstrating that morality is merely a product of personal or cultural opinion. However, while moral agreements may never be reached fully and are difficult to establish, mere disagreement does not mean there is no absolute truth to pursue.
In defense of Kant, I would start by pointing out that the formula of universal law is only the first one of the formulations he gives of the categorical imperative. It would be unfair to judge the whole of Kant’s moral theory by the incompleteness of the formula of universal law. As I understand it, Kant continued with the other formulations at least partly because because he recognized that the formula of universal law seemed incomplete as the sole categorical imperative. One problem with the formula of universal law seems to be that it can generate a contradiction (and so be a morally impermissible action to take) for something which actually isn’t a moral concern. This is an issue that has been raised by others, but now I’ll formulate a more personal example to illustrate this problem.
"According to act-utilitarianism, it is the value of the consequences of the particular act that counts when determining whether the act is right. Bentham's theory is act-utilitarian, and so is that of J.J.C. Smart. One objection to act-utilitarianism is that it seems to be ‘too permissive’, capable of justifying any crime, and even making it morally obligatory, if only the value of the particular consequences of the particular act is great enough. Another objection is that act-utilitarianism seems better in theory than in practice, since we hardly ever have the time and the knowledge to predict the consequences of an act, assess their value, and make comparisons with possible alternative acts.
William Graham Sumner is not correct to say that, “The ‘right’ way is the way which the ancestors used and which has been handed down.” These “Folkways” are not a good guide to moral truth. Cultural relativist, William Graham Sumner is not correct to say that, “The ‘right’ way is the way which the ancestors used and which has been handed down.” These “Folkways” are not a good guide to moral truth. Two arguments will be presented to support this thesis. Firstly, Sumner’s statement is invalid as his claim is self-refuting. Secondly, moral absolutes do exist.
Some people believe that culture is a way that morality can be established, but morality differs from culture to culture. In Doing Ethics, Lewis Vaughn talks about cultural relativism and lays out an argument for it. In the second premise it states “If people’s judgments about right and wrong differ from culture to culture, then right and wrong are relative to culture, and there are no objective moral principles” (Vaughn 26). He makes it clear that he does not support this premise and explains his points as to why this is false. Cultural relativism is the idea that the moral principles someone has are solely determined by the culture one lives in.
Immorality therefore is the violation of such law. Kant goes on to argue that the morality of any action can be seen, not by the desired consequences, but by the motive behind the action. Basically, Kant believes that we should act because of the motive not because we see the end results of the action. Consequences of an act are, for the most part, irrelevant to morality; we can control the motives but not control the results. Motives then can be measured by whether or not they can be turned into a universal maxim.