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.
We use this is help us choose the right moral action is situations. Aristotle and Aquinas both conclude that humans aim for some goal or purpose in life-but does not see this as eudemonia. Aquinas believes that humans are the ‘image of god’ therefore the supreme good must be the development of this image which is perfection. They did not believe that you could reach this perfection in this life but the afterlife. There are the three laws in Aquinas’ book which are eternal, natural and divine.
The relationship between a theistic God (considering there is one) and morality cannot be explained in simply a few sentences. One may immediately come to the conclusion that God decides what is moral and immoral. This is known as Divine Command Theory which says that morality is dependent on God’s commands. However, this gives rise to the other side that says an action is moral because God approves of it. This is known as the Autonomy thesis which says that morality is not dependent on God’s commands.
Perhaps more so than Emotivists, Prescriptivists see ethical language as fairly meaningful. They believe that the terms used are able to create absolute rules that everyone ought to follow. It would seem that ethical language is seen by many as very meaningful, although for varying reasons. However agent centred theories such as Virtue Ethics would argue that our main focus of morality should be on becoming as virtuous as possible, rather than deciding what is meant by ethical language. Therefore it would seem that perhaps morality should be more focussed on individuals’ actions rather then defining what is meant by ‘good’ and
It can be seen as a good approach to morality as it does not allow people from different denominations such as cultures or where you are born or in different situation they may find themselves to build their own moral rules and framework to life, it is personal but is guided by these innate rules. Religious people also share natural law ideas as they argue that there is an eternal unchanging part of morality which remains unchanged regardless of personal opinions and preferences. They believe that God created them with a purpose and that all the rules guiding them from natural law help them to fulfil this purpose. Christianity has a great deal of support for the view that there is a natural law of morality. The Christian understanding of this concept is based largely upon the work of Thomas Aquinas as he explained that faith and reason are closely related.
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.
However, if this link between religion and morality is criticised, then there are sufficient grounds for secularist and atheistic ways of life. Why is religion needed when it is not the source of moral guidance? Two famous critiques of the link between religion and morality are the Euthyphro dilemma and the many critiques od Richard Dawkins against religion. Both essentially come to the same conclusion; that we do not need God to be good. The basic concept of religion and morality, especially divine command theory, is very simple: what God commands is good, therefore only do that.
Examine the important concepts of two critiques of the link between religion and morality. For some religious followers there is a link between religion and morality due to the guidelines set by religion for morality, for example the Ten Commandments. However it is important to discuss whether or not there is a clear link between the two, as otherwise perceptions on what is moral may differ, causing conflict within society. The Euthyphro Dilemma is a classic discussion of this argument which was started by Plato. He based his argument on the statement “Does God will something because it is good or is something good because it is willed by God?” There are two ‘horns’ to this argument which stem from the statement; these both critiques of the link between religion and morality.
The answer to this question will vary. Some people are moral realists and hold that moral facts are objective facts that are out there in the world, these people believe that things are good or bad independently of us. Moral values such as goodness and badness are real properties of people in the same way that rough and smooth are properties of physical objects. This view is often referred to as cognitive language. Those who oppose cognitivists are called non cognitivists and they believe that when someone makes a moral statement they are not describing the world, but they are merely expressing their feelings and opinions, they believe that moral statements are not objective therefore they cannot be verified as true or false.
Many philosophers have tried to distinguish the source of our conscience but have all concluded with different theories. Some for instance believe the conscience to be the voice of God; others believe it to be a human faculty, a special moral sense or even the voice of reason. Some see morally ‘good’ behaviour as the practical answer to a moral dilemma. They would argue that the ‘right’ or ‘best’ course of action is seen through the use of what we call, ‘common sense.’ They would also regard the use of the conscience as the process by which this decision making, between ‘right’ and ‘evil,’ takes place. Some however may question, how do you name a conscience if it is not a physical matter and one cannot distinguish where it originates from?