The theory of NCR claims that there are no universally valid moral principles. This method ascertains that when it comes to morals, it does not follow one-size-fits-all criteria. What may be deemed right by one person or society, might be the complete opposite by another. For that reason, people define their moral standards and values. This theory has some aspects of truth in it because individuals and societies are diverse in nature. The different nature of people has led to multiple lifestyles, beliefs, religions, cultures, and hobbies. In diversification, ideological differences are bound to occur. People tend to have different preferences and choices when it comes to these matters and just because people do not share the same sentiments and beliefs as you does not make them wrong or you right. It just proves we cannot all be the same. Taking, for instance, the African and Western culture, the dressing styles of Western ladies that exposes too much of their body part is considered morally wrong in the African society, and it is even worse when it comes to the Muslims who are required to cover themselves entirely when in public. In the West, however, this is their way of life, and as a fact, it is considered fashionable and classy.
The difference in cultures brings a relative difference in the moral rightness and wrongness of the dressing style. According to NCR, it allows for this relativity and accepts that one mans meat is another mans poison. Therefore, it is almost impossible to come up with a set of ethics that apply across the board. There will always be an exception to this case, and it is safe to say that the way a society defines its ethics and moral values say a lot about their culture and not about what is right or wrong.
The theory of NCR has been faced with a lot of criticism and objections. One significant objection to it is that each culture and society is morally correct and cannot be held responsible or at fault for believing in their views. Therefore, this means that the minority is always at fault even when they are the ones standing in the light. The minority opinion is disregarded, and there is the aspect of the tyranny of numbers which makes it almost impossible to express their views and concerns regarding ethics and morals. Provided the crowd accept the behaviors, beliefs, and cultures as moral and ethical then that is final. The theory of NCR is selfish and inconsiderate to the minority groups. Secondly, the method does not allow room for moral and ethical reforms since according to them, everything is correct and valid.
Concisely describe both indirect utilitarianism and act utilitarianism, and explain the difference between the two views. Describe one philosophical consideration that speaks for act utilitarianism over indirect utilitarianism (i.e., say how an act utilitarian might go about arguing for its opinion as opposed to indirect utilitarianism)
The ethical theory of Utilitarianism asserts that in determining the best line of action, priority should always be given to the one that fully maximizes utility. Like many other ethics of consequentialism, the theory of utilitarianism is based on the idea that the rightness or wrongness of actions significantly depends on the effects they produce. In this context, there is two type of utilitarianism, act, and rule.
Act utilitarianism focusses primarily on the effects of the individual actions. The basic idea for this rule is that there is such a thing as doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. It is this line of thinking that brought about the saying the end justifies the means. It justifies bending and breaking a few rules for the greater good. The process and protocol are of minimum concern to them, and they believe that provided the final results were good then, it is all good. Utilitarian believes that what makes something morally or ethically correct is the positive contribution they have to the society. On the other side, rule utilitarianism focusses on the process. They believe in the right way of doing things even though there are some possible losses; there are considered collateral damage. The topic of assassination is rare in philosophical debates. However, this is one event that can be used to expound on the difference between act and rule utilitarianism. Killing is wrong and cannot be justified in any context. Murder can be debated over, and the murderer might even walk scot free, but assassination is a moral wrong. By definition, assassination is the deliberate killing of a public figure. The intentional act of killing is not justifiable regardless of the reason. However, there are two sides to this. An indirect utilitarian would be more focused on the fact that it is murder and therefore a crime. He would not be given a chance to explain how or why the assassin reached to the decision of killing a public figure and if he did explain, it would fall on deaf ears. No one would be interested in understanding why.
On the other side, an act utilitarian will go ahead and establish the effect of the assassination. If the assassinated leader were a good one, then the assassin would be morally and ethically wrong to the murder. This is because he took the life of a good leader and left the subjects in grief. However, if the assassin killed a ruthless dictator who was oppressing his subjects and through the assassination, the subjects are now free, then his action is justified. Such an assassin would be declared a hero for liberating the people as the overall consequence of his actions.
Evaluate the maxim I will cheat on my exam, whenever I am required to take an exam for class so that I get a good grade in my class using Kants Formula of Universal Law (FUL) and Formula of Humanity (FOH). In your evaluation, make sure to:
Say whether Kant would say it is permissible to act on this maxim and
Say whether we have a duty not to cheat on a test (and if so, what kind)
The act of cheating on an exam is an ethical wrong, and the person planning to work according to that maxim knows it. She knows that there are consequences attached to this maxim if caught in the act of cheating. More still, if the person happens to be lucky enough and manage to copy successfully, she will live with the knowledge that she did not deserve the marks. If Kant were here, he would say it is impermissible to act on this maxim, and this is why.
According to Kants first formulation, also known as Formula of Universal Law, he asserts that a person should only act according to that maxim that he would not mind being a universal law. The reason that cheating is preferred by the doer is that it is a shortcut to success and desired grades. It is even sweeter because the cheater does not have to go through the strenuous process of reading and to revise as others and the goal is to achieve similar or higher marks than the ones who prepared for the paper. If cheating were a universal law, probably it would not be that good of an idea, and it would end up not benefitting the originator of the same idea. Therefore, it is the crystal that the one cheating on the exam would love to keep it a secret from the fellow students and most so the tutors. The fact that he would not want it to be a universal law makes it ethically impermissible.
Kantians second formulation is the Formula of Humanity. The formulation states that it is important to treat humanity the same whether in you or another person. Cheating on an exam is a maxim that works for one person at the expense of other students, lecturers, and the system in general. Cheating promotes inequality and unfair competition amongst humans and is against Formula of Humanity. Kant would not approve of this either. No one has a duty to cheat on a test. Everyone has a responsibility of leading an honest life and cheating on a test is against this. There is a common saying that goes right is right even if no one is doing it and wrong is wrong even when everyone is doing it. The majority sharing in the wrong does not necessarily make it right. People know this too well but choose to ignore it because most times the good thing is not always fun, accepted, nor does it take you where you intend to be. Most people, if not all, are well versed on the topic of ethics. They know that choices have consequences and yet still end up indulging in the same. They are acquainted with the knowledge of normative ethics which is concerned with the wrongness and rightness of actions. Even before they choose a line of action, they are pretty much aware whether it is right or wrong. Despite ethics and moral principles being a universal language understood by everyone, people tend to twist them to be in line with their desires and personal interests. As students, we should strive to work hard to get the desired grades we wish as opposed to cheating on tests. We have a duty to pass but we ought to achieve that in the right way. Cheating only proves that we are less confident in our academic brilliance.
Explain what a virtue of character is, according to Aristotle. Hint: Dont forget about the Doctrine of the Mean.
According to Aristotle, each and every virtue was simply a golden mean of two vices. One vice was that of excess and the other was of deficiency. In an attempt to balance these two vices, we come up with a virtue. Therefore, moderation is the key to virtues. How well one can balance the vice of excess and deficiency speaks a lot about their character. Aristotle theory is based on the fact that too much of anything is poisonous and to avoid that, things must be kept to a measurable value.
Aristotle believed that virtues are in place to help us achieve a better life and live in harmony with others. A life lived in accordance with reason is a meaningful one and should be every humans desire and ultimate goal. Since virtues arise from the soul and mind, they are a part of us, we just choose to neglect them when it is convenient for us. Aristotle characterized virtues into two major groups namely, passions and faculties.
Passions are those material things that our bodies are attracted to. Some of the common passions include food, sex, and pleasure. All emotions fall under passions. However, the limitation to this school of thought is that not every passion can be considered an ethic. For instance, the feeling of being hungry is a passion according to Aristotle. However, this cannot be used as a basis to classify whether or not you are a good person. Secondly, unlike virtues, passions are not things that you can choose. There are things that you have no power over.
Therefore, the best description of virtues are states of character and which must be accomplished with moderation.
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