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
Aquinas considered that by using our reason to reflect on our human nature we could discover our specific end purpose. Aquinas used the ideas of Aristotle and the Stoics as an underpinning for Natural Law saying- human beings have an essential rational nature given by God in order for us to live and flourish. Aristotle said even without knowledge of god, reason can discover the laws that lead to human flourishing. The Stoics said Natural Laws are universal and unchangeable and should be used to judge of particular societies. We use this is help us choose the right moral action is situations.
G.E Moore begins by rejecting ethical naturalism, the belief that ethical knowledge is based on empirical evidence. ethical naturalism observes that physical properties such as rough, smooth can be discovered through observations in the world around us; in the same way moral properties such as wicked or kind can be defined through observation. Moore felt to define an ethical statement as a factual one, is to confuse goodness with some other non- moral property. For example, to describe a knife as good is to confuse the term good with the term sharp. From this Moore claimed that it is impossible to derive an ‘is from an ought’.
All actions are related to an underlying principle. Kantian thought supports the idea that the actions are justified by a set of rules outlined in Kantianism. Utilitarianism is based on the idea of a greater good. Positive and negative consequences are quantified and the most positive consequence for the greatest amount of people is chosen, sometimes at the expense of others. For utilitarian school of thought, an individual strives to do the most good, even at the expense of the minority.
Therefore, deontologists follow the belief that certain actions are inherently good if they follow the stated rules even if the action has bad consequences, it can still be defined as moral. In contrast, teleological ethical systems focus completely on the outcomes and consequences of an act. Teleology is a theory of ethics according to which the rightness of an act is determined by it's end. Also known as consequentialism, actions that result in what can be considered as a good consequence must be good and so the end result will justify the reason that the act was committed in the first place. Both deontological and teleological ethical systems use opposing ethical guides yet they both have the same aim, to help people make moral decisions.
PHIL 2230 – Moral Philosophy The Views of Kant and Aristotle on Morality: the Categorical and Hypothetical Imperatives Immanuel Kant discusses in his Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals the idea of morality as abiding by moral laws – or categorical imperatives. An imperative is “the formula of the command” which indicates to a will – who does not always obey – what is good to do, and what is good to refrain from doing. Kant divides imperatives into two categories; hypothetical and categorical. The hypothetical imperative says “only that an action is good for some purpose, either possible or actual” and therefore an action is only good for its ends. However, the categorical imperative represents an action as “objectively necessary in itself”, with no end in mind.
The various forms present two major problems; the problem of justice, and the issue of having to predict the consequences of an action. One variant within utilitarianism is Hedonistic or Classic utilitarianism. Which looks at the view ‘what is good for an individual is what tends to promote happiness or pleasure to the individual’. This holds that the only intrinsic good is pleasure, and that the only intrinsic bad is pain. Everything else is good only insofar as it creates pleasure, and bad only insofar as it creates pain.
Summary of Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is a teleological theory as it looks at the consequences which also makes it a consequentialist theory. It focuses on the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Jeremy Bentham, one of the main ethicists that who believed in utilitarianism, believed that happiness is the greatest good. He defined happiness as pleasure minus pain. John Stuart Mill was a hedonist and accepted that happiness was of great importance and stressed that happiness is more important than pleasure.
Explain the concept of Relativist Morality. Moral Relativism is an ethical judgement. It is the claim that there is no ethical system better than another. It stems from the fact that to judge an ethical system, it must be judged by a moral standard. 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.
In order to make someone else happy, you must be happy with yourself. Life’s choices, treatment of others should be made with the best of intentions and cause no harm to others. Scalet and Arthur (2014) have suggested the quality of life is determined by activities and that a happy person will never do what is hateful and mean but will live life with dignity and always do what is best. Kant’s theory suggests that actions determine morality and one must not only act in accordance to duty but for the sake of