- What is Philosophical Ethics?
Perhaps one of the most important functions of philosophy is the inquiry of human behavior and the rationale behind it. Philosophers are concerned about the broad field of ethics, morality and the effects of morality and facets thereof. While the said facets morality is related, they are also distinct and concerned about unrelated thinking process in the pursuit of consciousness. Still, ethics has come be defined as the study of morality in the realms of philosophy. Usually, ethics refer to the analysis of values and the concepts such as good, evil, right, wrong and the role of responsibility. Even within ethics, there are three subdivisions. The first one is meta-ethics that focus on the study of ethics as a concept. The role of meta-ethics is the analysis of ethical attitudes, statements and judgments. The second aspect of ethics is normative ethics which is concerned with the acquisition of ethical values. The last aspect of ethics is the use of ethical values and is usually decried as ethical values.
Having understood the concept of ethics, it is perhaps in order to understand the concept of moral philosophy as used in the society. Moral philosophy also lies within three canopies. Each of the canopies plays an incredible role in the building of the other segment. Moral ethics also called morality focuses on man’s pursuit of the answer and the distinction between right and wrong. The first layer of the pursuit of right and wrong is the individual. The individual, also called individual conscience is perhaps the most powerful segment of the moral code. However, it must be understood that the moral code as attributed in the individual consciousness is independent of other facets. The individual conscience is also shaped by the systems of principles and judgments that a given community share. The differences in cultures and how they shape different societies perception of morality is governed by a relatively post modern philosophy called cultural relativism. The cultural relativists hold the view that-cultures differ substantially in what they value.
The third aspect is the role of culture is the formation of codes of behavior in a society. The values that a given society holds play a substantial role in the making of laws. If I use an example, the Native American society held strongly that human sacrifices were pivotal for the betterment of the community. Because of this, Native American societies made it a law that once year; a virgin girl would be sacrificed. The process included some form of pain and shedding blood. The society believed after shedding this blood, would appease the underdogs and bring good for the society. The systems of judgments have shaped how the society defined success. Compare this to western understanding of masculinity. Using old western movies, one can see a trend of masculinity as defined my conquest, bravery, macho-men and material possession. Morality thus was not defined by individual consciousness but by the experience- the one about conquest and the culture of male dominance.
Still, it is important to understand that everyone has their own philosophy. While the individual have a moral dispensation, the process of formation of the moral code that individual follow is often shaped by the person’s environment. Personal morality thus plays an important role in defining intentions, understanding of right and wrong as well as agreements about certain moral ethics. Because of this reason, it is possible to find people of one culture, religion, and geographical place disagree about a certain moral or ethic. In retrospect, people may agree on some little aspects of morality even when they share completely different philosophies about life. In summation, while studying morality, it is important to keep in mind that each and every individual has their own moral philosophy and their own morals. As a philosopher, it is important to keep this in mind while engaging in the debate of philosophy of ethic and the philosophy of morality.
Moral philosophy probes us to object the idea of truth of fact and trade it off for our personal values. By becoming clouded by values, moral philosophy thus commits the fallacy of moral claims. Factual claims and moral claims cannot be tested the same. Factual claims are tested by quantitative reasoning, by observation and experience. Moral claims are difficult to test because they are built on people’s values. As such, the use of cultural relative argument allows people to hide on cultural relative sense by appeasing cultural moral claims. Finding correct answers requires that one step out and removes the hat of ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism leads to bias because it makes people see the world as they understand it. In order to escape these fallacies, one has to be morally relative. Moral relativity is drawing lines across cultures on what is wrong and right. It is setting standards that are consistent, similar and disrespectful of the feelings or values of the affected community, society or individuals. The question on moral relativity is, how do we define the standards of what is wrong or right?
- Morality, Ethics and Politics: Utterly alien situation
Using the idea of cultural relativity, and the concept of rationalism, I would explore the action of the aliens in the utterly alien situation. I understand that I am in an absolutely unfamiliar place and that my orientation is a figure grounded and a sense of likeness. I am also aware that there is “someone” of my kind, but he is far from distance and out of range. Suddenly, that someone is captured and killed unquestionably by entities of some sort. From this point, I make a conclusion that the entities are rational beings.
The premise of my argument is from a cultural relativist point of view. I assert that “there is no standard of right or wrong other than the one provided by the cultural standard”. First, the killing of the earth-look alike unquestioningly points to the idea that I am using my values of what constitute murder to assess the situation. My claim is morally relative as defined my experience on earth. There is a chance that the standards of morality on this place are alien just as the people are. Practical wisdom theory advises us to concentrate on the characteristics and personality of the moral agents as opposed to their duties, rules or consequences. Because of relativity, the ground level moral principle becomes that because of the varying definitions of morality, some societies would kill other rational beings unquestionably if it is within reason for them to do.
The reason to do stems from moral pluralism. Moral pluralism holds that ethics and morality is based on the nature of natural beings. This means that if such beings value other things, then it becomes the obligation of the members of the society to follow suit. The argument would be PA, which refers to acting to foster autonomy of persons as in the principle of autonomy. The action of killing the other earth like creature is thus justified on the basis of cultural relativity and the rational reasoning of autonomy.
Value free conception of rationality is present. The most obvious and visible value on rationality is our understanding of unquestionably. If unquestioningly refers to the act of killing without due process, then I am already value laden. I am imposing my laws of the land to a people foreign to me. I am also valued laden because I am not making factual claims, I merely using imagination when I say that the captured individual is earthlike and therefore closes to me. This observation could be wrong. First because I did not get too close to the individual to see them properly and also because I am making very quick declarations, I would be committing factual fallacies.
Like the United States founding fathers, most inhabitants of earth believe in the concept of a higher being that magically guides people towards some moral grounds. The belief on the role of a superior being as the mastermind of rationalism is exhibited by the writings of George Washington in his inaugural address where he said “inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the civil administration”. George Washington was a believer in the concept of a higher power that reigns over humanity, thus defining what was right and wrong. In one statement George Washington admits by saying “Almighty Being rules over the universe”. Being from the earth society, my concept of rationalism would therefore cloud the judgment I make when confronted by people from other places of the world.
- Deciding Designations – Palo-Alto California
The case is set in futuristic California (2035). There are multiple scientific methods for parents to have healthy and well functioning children thanks to advancement in technology and a super-liberal society. Michael and Rachael decide to have a child using the “easiest” mechanism and the most convenient for them. In the option of ® which is the use of genome constructed female and male germ cells with vitro festal gestation. Because of their personal values, Michael and Rachael prefer asexuality as a way of life. They consider sexual relations to be an unnecessary burden that comes with sexual relations. However, they accept the responsibilities that come with parenthood.
In Introduction to Virtue, “the relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or as they see it”, here truth is diverted from the original conception of higher being as the source of truth and reason, instead the fundamental American value of equality takes the principle of logic and ration. American societal ethics and its codes would that be arguably a function of Natural Law and slow transformation to accept relativity of truth, and solidified by the supreme law of the land that advocates for equality of mankind. Using this premise of moral pluralism, one would react to Michael and Rachael’s choice as a (PF), a response to honor commitment made as result of the principle of fidelity. Michael and Rachael have sworn to one another that they would raise a baby within their personal values of not committing to sexual relationships. (P1) states that professionals have a duty to assert the best foundations for moral decision making. The doctor has given them a go ahead and the availability of technology makes their choice possible. Jonathan Clover writes that “genetic technology give us control of genetic disadvantage that would come back to see as injustice”. We do not know the rationale behind the couple’s choices but we understand their fears and have respect for their rationalism.
My conclusion is that by standards of moral pluralism, Michael and Rachael have substantial reasoning and rational behind their decisions. Perfectionism being the principle of their argument as John Clover would put it.
- Moral and Political Knowledge and why
Moral and political knowledge is the preamble of ethics and morality in a society. Without political knowledge, rationality would be hard-nut to crack. From the experiences indicated in the case of Nashu and the example Michael and Rachael, I believe strongly that political awareness made a case for the decisions made. In the case of the girl that was sacrificed for her community, the rational argument was the wellness of the overall community. There was a belief, founded upon societal values that one person’s demise was capable of overturning the fortunes of the entire society. Compared to the case of Michael and Rachael, the individual desire is the centre of argument and stems from the understanding that ‘equality” of reason is embedded on the understanding of “personal values”. The differences are morally inclined and based on the values held by differing communities.
- How the Course Will affect my Life going forward
Value free means that the philosophy is not influenced by the society’s pressure. In essence, it is ethically neutral. The fact that the activity of philosophy is not "value free” is obvious even to the most casual observer. Value judgments influence the choice of problems to be investigated and the choice of the methods to be employed. Many conflicts involve disputes about facts and values. Despite important differences, facts and values are often confused -- a conflict of values may be thought to be a conflict of facts, or vice versa. Because of the nature of their differences, factual issues and value issues will contribute different kinds of problems to a conflict. The term "fact" refers to a truth about the world, a statement about some aspect of objective reality. However, values have some objectivity. Therefore, values depend on people’s evaluation and analysis of situations. Values are morally relative. Stepping out of the constraint of values require moral pluralism.
Secondly, from this class, I understand that previous knowledge of an individual an affect the way an individual or a society can see in that the inference sometimes can borrow greatly from the opinions. In real meaning, previous knowledge can instill value, affect methodology and generate ideology. With all these available, there is likelihood that the conclusion could be one sided, a mere experiment to justify an already existing theory and this could be objective. In his view, Plato posits that moral thinking works together with human emotions and ethics. Aristotle distinct himself from Plato ethical treaties that makes the argument ethics is not a theoretical discipline, but a combination of goods that are classified as either the good or highest good. The desirability good thus becomes the representation of ethical standard Aristotle’s virtue theory constituting four basic attributes. The attributes included: Strong reliance on some conventionally accepted virtues of character. Aristotle believed that an individual can only be morally upright after mastering basic values of life. Another aspect of virtue ethics relied on the presence of an active community that has certain moral guidelines. The community becomes a laboratory where ethics are nourished and practiced. The third aspect of virtue ethics posits that morality is not restricted to societal rules or guidelines. Morality of is at discretion of an individual to exercise judgment based on rationality and conscience. Successful recognition and imitation of role models is essential for propagation of morality within the community.
In conclusion, from this class I have learned that first, culture differ in values, and values affect the conclusion that people make as rational human beings, moral pluralism posit that human beings are rational and make decisions that best represent their interests.
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