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Discussion Questions: Moral Character Through Social Norms

Date:  2021-05-31 21:40:03
8 pages  (2058 words)
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1. The meaning of ethics

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Mind tyrants are perceived to be individuals who have the belief that perfection in moral character can only be obtained through social norms, traditions and customs. In other words, for the mind tyrants, norms, concepts customs and traditions that are present in the society dictate what is perceived to accurate. If an individual does not abide by the rules present in the society, then he or she is perceived to be imperfect or immoral. The norms in this case refer to the rules or principles in the society that guide the people conduct (Ewing 2012). On the contrary, there are individuals that base their perspective on moral actions on the ability of man to think rationally. Rather than adhering to the present norms, they perceive that mans rational ability to distinguish between right or wrong is what develops the moral concepts in man (The meaning of ethics). In regards to the significance of mind tyrants on ethics, an example is given of Socrates whereby he is questioned by Mento on his view on ethics. Ethics refer to the principles that guide the behavior of individuals such that they relate to each other adequately. The question states, "Can you tell me Socrates whether virtue is acquired by teaching or by practice; or if neither by teaching nor practice, then whether it comes to man by nature, or in what other way?" (The meaning of ethics). Socrates responds by stating that he is not aware of what virtue entails. The question brings into perspective on what ethics entails in regards to their significance in the society. Also, the basic argument is whether ethics is innate or defined by the rules found in the society. Therefore. The significance of the mind tyrants in ethics is that they allow one to analyze the issue of mans morals being influenced by the rules present in the society. The mind tyrants present one viewpoint in ways that shape mans morals (The meaning of ethics). An example of a mind tyrant is the concept of boys associating with girls especially in the Indian community in Asia whereby in some communities, boys and girls are expected not to interact expect when the situation is unavoidable. It is considered immoral for girls to walk or engage in conversations with boys publicly such that they are separated even when attending classes. It is believed that the separation allows both boys and girls to develop moral grounds such that they do not engage in behavior such as sexual immorality which may affect their lives. Another moral tyrant is the issues of marriage in some communities whereby it is found immoral to have children out of wedlock or rather when not married. Some individuals, mostly women, receive criticism when they get children without being married. The expected rule is that people should get babies only when they are married.

2. Thomas More

The choice made by Thomas More not to agree to take part in the kings oath represents the aspect that man is able to stand for self when it comes morals. More is perceived to be full of pride when he states, "I will not give in because I oppose it...I do... not my pride, not my spleen, nor any other part of my appendage, but I, I, Thomas More, (The meaning of ethics). Even when his daughter pleads with him to sign the oath, he still refuses to sigh the oath by telling her, When a man takes an oath, he holds himself in his own hand, like water. If he opens his fingers, then he needn't hope to find himself again, (The meaning of ethics). And is later persecuted for his beliefs. It can be perceived that Thomas More rationally thought on the actions of the king such that he saw them as wrong in regards to his moral beliefs. He stands by his beliefs such that he sticks on his moral grounds and prefers being persecuted rather than attesting to an issue that he does not believe in. His example puts into perspective the issue of man making decisions on what is right and wrong basing individual moral standards. In other words, an action cannot be right even if it is a decree from the authority. Socrates response to Mento on his view on virtue is perceived to be relative whereby he explains that despite Mento viewing him to be well acquainted with the acquisition of virtue, he lacked knowledge of how it is acquired. Socrates answer in relation to Sir Thomas More is that virtue can emanate in regards to how they are viewed by individuals. More can be perceived to have viewed the oath on the basis of what is right or wrong instead of following the rules put in place by the authority (The meaning of ethics).

3. Pecks Analogy of life being like a map

Peck begins with the view that what is perceived to be false is untrue and that more clarity in reality makes it possible for people to have good grasp of what surrounds them. The same analogy applies with less clarification such that less clarity feels people with falsehoods and misconceptions such that their approach to life is narrow or rather full of uncertainty. Peck describes the map of life as the perception on reality that involves the direction of an individuals life. He explains that is the map is in order, an individual will know his or her place in life such that if one is aware of where their life is heading, and it becomes easier to identify the means to get there. He explains that despite the view being clear, it is a concept that most people ignore with the view that it not impossible to achieve reality. Peck explains that people are not created with maps but rather have the duty to create them and the need for efforts in creating them. He explains that the more immense the effort, the high chances for one to have an adequate map such that it can easily be followed. He highlights that moist people stop creating the maps at the initial stages of adolescence whereby most of the maps becomes narrow and are perceived to be impractical. He also explains that by the time people are in the middles ages they feel that they are completely aware of their map such that they deal with what is available to them. Peck brings into perspective the issue of revising maps life whereby he explains that the biggest issue is reviewing the map whereby theres need of frequent revision rather than starting from scratch. He explains that the review is significant as the worlds keeps on changing. The perception towards the world keeps on changing and hence the need for reviewing the maps such that they are in line with the changes. Also, the fact that responsibilities keep on increasing as one progresses with ages also calls for a review of the map. He asserts, The process of making revisions, particularly major revisions, is painful, sometimes excruciatingly painful. And herein lies the major source of many of the ills of mankind, (Pecks). He puts emphasis on the need for openness when it comes to challenges for the purpose of maintaining accuracy in maps.

4. How Plato shows that ignorance of our biases influences one to reject reality

Plato perceives that ignorance bounds man into chains such that it is impossible to have a good grasp of reality. The bonds make it impossible for them to identify the shadows of reality that pass by them as focus is put on the fetters. The inability to move (perceive reality) is affiliated to living in a cave. The aspect of removal of the bonds or fetters is put into perspective in association to mans ignorance (Rouse, 1961). The question of whether man would turn and approach the light when the fetters are removed or if man would be surprised such that he is unable to comprehend the stuff that he had viewed their shadows is put into perspective. The scholar also questions mans assertion if he was told that what he was perceiving was not reality and is he would be push to question what the items that viewed were. In other words, would man exhibit ignorance while approaching the light or be compelled to question the things that he comes across. In regards to leaving the cave, the scholar questions if man would be furious if he were to be dragged out of the cave forcefully and whether the light will make him not to identify objects that he perceived to be real. The response obtained is that, He would have to get used to it, surely, I think, if he is to see the things above. First he would most easily look at shadows, after that images of mankind and the rest in water, lastly the things themselves. After this he would find it easier to survey by night the heavens themselves and all that is in them, gazing at the light of the stars and moon, rather than by day the sun and the suns light, (Rouse, 1961). To affirm his perspective that ignorance of our prejudices influences one to reject reality, Plato brings in the aspect of man returning back to the cave and being fettered again. He describes the movement back as being filled with darkness such that ignorance holds man captive. He explains that destruction is possible for those that move in back to the cave. Man rejects reality completely such that it becomes possible to embrace what the world has to offer. Plato ends with the assertion that light allows the view of reality with inference that reality and truth occur in the presence of light (Rouse, 1961).

5. Custom versus Mind

Moral conduct has to do with the ability of distinguishing between right or wrong. It guides the action or behavior of people such that people are able to live in harmony. When it comes to the sources of moral conduct, two issues come into perspective that include; the mind and the customs (Williams, 2011). The mind in this case refers to mans rational ability to distinguish between right and wrong. The customs refers to the rules provided by the society in regards to peoples behavior such that any deviation is perceived to be immoral. Individuals are perceived to exhibit perfection when they abide to the rules. Therefore, the relationship between the mind and moral conduct is the issue of rational thought in distinguishing right from wrong while the relationship between custom and moral conduct is the use of rules in the society in distinguishing right from wrong.

Warner, in his analysis of the sources of belief, highlights the concept of cognitive theory whereby he explains that it entails the involvement of both social and mental processes in the acquisition of knowledge. Warner explains that man is not programmed to adapt in a world that is recognizable at present but rather must develop his world based on experience. People do not come pre-programmed to live in an already recognizable world; they must create their own world by defining those things encountered and calling them a reality (Warner). The scholar further explains that mans ability to perceive reality in a certain order is through analysis with respect to notions that were established when one was a child and maintained when interacting with others. In other words, the application of rational thought that allows a man to make interpretations put into perspective mans ability to distinguish right from wrong (Warner). From a personal perspective, rules might be present in the society such that people abide by them. However, the fact that a person is harmed on the basis of abiding by the rule makes it wrong. In other words, mental analysis and experience tend to be the relevant source of moral conduct when compared to customs.

6. Main Point of Emphasis for Ethical Conduct

The main points of emphasis in the articles Stanford Prison Study and If Hitler Asked You is the aspect of experience or environment influencing the behavior of individuals. According to the Stanford Prison Study, the environment created for the study influenced the behavior of participants such that the ones that acted as prisoners suffered from emotional problems while the guards developed aggressive behavior such that they treated the inmates wit...

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