Kant wanted to put good will at the very centre of ethics in which he formed the equation GOOD WILL + DUTY = A MORAL ACTION. Good will is the motive that produces our determination to be good people and our practical reason helps us get there ‘good will, then, like a jewel, will shine by its own light, a thing which has its whole value in itself’. Kant’s moral theory looks at evidence and tells you what ought to be done. Reason is universal. However to act morally then we must be capable of exercising freedom or the autonomy of the will .The opposite of this is what Kant did not believe in and this is heteronomy and that is something is right because its satisfies some desire, emotion, goal or obligation.
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
But unlike earlier philosophers, such as Socrates who were concerned with how to live a good/ethical life, and famously said ‘the unexamined life is hardly worth living’, both Nietzsche and Sartre are concerned with being and existence. The first and most important tenet of Existentialist thought is that Man Is Free. Nietzsche believed that the ‘will to power’, was the primary drive and the source of all creative activity and the key to human freedom. It was the all-important way to achieve freedom of the individual and that absolute objective truth of the world was an illusion and our search for such a truth is bred from fear. While having much in common with Nietzsche, both are atheistic existentialists, Sartre proposed that man is nothing but what he makes of himself and therefore by taking responsibility for his actions he can change his life and create a new Man.
Personality and moral self explain how and why human beings make free choices. The libertarianism theory has been explained by CA Campbell, who said that human beings see themselves as free agents and therefore accept moral responsibility for their actions. Humans must accept responsibility for these actions and face any consequences that may come their way. John Stuart Mill - an influencal figure in Liberatarianism – believe we are free and morally responsible for all our actions. Mill believed it was extremely important that an indivduals free will should not be crushed by society.
I Definition This section will provide definitions of ethical theories, such as Deontology, Egoism, Utilitarianism, and Virtue Theory. Deontology (Kantianism) theory stipulates that people must decide for themselves what is rational. Personal desires outside of one’s principles are thought of as outside forces with the potential to thwart rationality. One who acts as a Kantian must be completely unwavering of these principles. Egoism is the ethical theory that people are largely consumed with their own self-interests, and all acts are pursued primarily out of self-interest and personal desires.
Wallace also strongly points out that we need to be “a little less arrogant” and not believe solely in our preconceived notions about things, because we usually tend to be wrong. We must be aware of our surroundings and learn how to control how and what we want to think. Wallace says that we get to decide what has meaning and what does not, and we must do this with awareness, an open mind, and give ourselves choices of how to view situations. Bertrand Russell tells readers in “The Problems of Philosophy” that unlike typical sciences where one discovers correct answers, we are constantly searching for the value of philosophy. Russell says that philosophy does not find right answers, but rather encourages thinking.
To use the limited to pursue the unlimited is simply foolish. While Confucius argued that the only way to achieve a successful and meaningful life was to learn as much as possible in order to find the way, namely by studying everything around you. This is the biggest difference between the two philosophies. Confucius believed that above all else; emphasizing personal and governmental morality and correctness of social relationships, justice, and sincerity is the most important aspect of life. Chuang Tzu believed that how we perceive things are directly related to each of our separate pasts, or our “paths”.
Natural Moral Law is a theory that is explained by Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle. It states that there is a natural order to our world that should be followed. It was originated in the philosophy of Aristotle and then developed by Aquinas. Natural Law is an absolute theory of ethics but it is not rooted in duty but in our human nature and our search for genuine happiness and fulfilment. Aquinas considered that by using our reason to reflect on our human nature we could discover our specific end purpose.
Ayn Rand’s Anthem I do not agree or disagree with Rand’s doctrine of ethical egoism. I believe that we should live in a society that is a combination of both, ethical egoism and ethical altruism. In my opinion Rand’s doctrine of ethical egoism seems to be self-centered, but on the other hand the doctrine of ethical altruism is not all that appealing in my eyes. If I have to work, I would rather work to benefit myself, and to fit my interests. At the same to time I think it right to help the less fortunate and to recognize every person as they are, a human being.
Unlike consequentialist views of ethics, Kant's philosophy has been focusing on the intention of acts rather than the consequences of acts. The formula of humanity as it ends in itself prohibits all kinds of manipulation and exploitation of individuals for selfish or even altruistic ends, and specifically demand to respect each and every one's interest. Kant claims that 'rational nature' or 'the human being and in general every rational being' exist "as end in itself", thus, valuing rational nature have the capacity to set ends for oneself. Rational human, is an autonomous and moral agents, who can act in accordance with moral law. Thus they are ‘above all price’.