Analysis of Morals
Morality as implied in philosophy entails a distinctive system of behavior that concerns the standards of either wrong or right actions. As a philosophical word, morality embraces three concepts namely the moral standards appertaining to behaviors, moral identity which distinguishes an individual who is able to commit a wrong or a right action, and moral responsibility which refers to human conscience.
In fact, in the current world, morality emerges as a complicated multicultural issue. It has various synonyms including virtue, goodness, principles and ethics. This implies that morals significantly affect our society, conscience, behaviors and human ultimate destiny.
Thus, the universal definition of morals is that it is a study associated with human being actions as an upshot of beliefs on what is deemed to be bad or good, wrong or right in as far such actions materialize as either effective or useful (Trusted 68). Morals in philosophy actually deal with what is believed to be right as well as what the society, culture or groups generally do. Morals therefore signify what the society really does as relates to the accepted code of conducts and standards.
Moral concepts and principles
Scores of individuals are quite accustomed to the common sense mortality which is derived from norms including treat others the same way you expect others to treat you, do your best, always yearn to be fair and keep all your promises. In addition to such coherent behavioral guides, morality similarly distinguishes values which are universally held as being good. For instance, morality values entail justice, love, community, happiness, charity, freedom, courage, honesty, integrity and knowledge.
These ideals are familiar to most individuals if they are not inclined to a particular religion. However, the moral principles founded on common sense might be deemed inadequate when complex situations are taken into consideration. Often, philosophers draw on these principles when developing theoretical concepts to assist in guiding actions and have hypothesized ethical philosophies and standards founded on them (Trusted 68).
From the historical perspective, the most prominent moral concepts include natural rights concept, utilitarianism as well as the divine command theory. The natural rights concept basically holds that each individual has a natural right to property, life and liberty.
All of these might merely be limited via the necessitation not to contravene other individuals’ rights. Occasionally, it has further been imagined that these natural rights considerably anchor on some religious underpinning. On the other hand, utilitarianism embraces the fact that morality ought to be guided through the utmost excellence for the maximum number.
This concept implies that happiness or utility for each and every individual must be maximized. The divine command concept finally cleaves to the notion that morality ought to be founded on God commands. In essence, this morality is based on the religious books and thus forms the key morality outline as tendered by the global religious bodies. The fundamental principles of morals as Resnik illustrated include utility, honesty, fidelity, non-malificence, privacy, autonomy, justice and beneficence (211).
Moral philosophers’ views
When moral philosophy is discussed with any logical coherent detail, it has a propensity to create various problems, in particular, how to prove the legitimacy of some moral action. Some of the moral questions that are being faced on a daily basis seemingly do not have a clear way through which it can be answered.
Such kind of moral proposition can be acceptable only when they plead to extensive diversity of varied philosophical theories, are rational and are as a result of sheer will. Majority of the moral philosophers always seek to answer the questions that involve the right and wrong issues in a more perfect stipulation (Resnik 272).
The result is that many philosophers have come up with different schools of thought. To some such as the moral relativists argue that morality entirely rely on what people believe it is supposed to be. In addition morality has no inherent traits that go beyond or above human volition.
Those who have the opposing view argue that there exists some objectives and moral legitimacy regardless of what people may believe or think. This is the belief of realists. None of these views will give a complete story though in most cases both hold a common position across cultures. Nevertheless, there are varying opinions that are always at odds with what society believe in.
Simone Blackburn came up with an explanation that combines both the objective and subjective nature of moral judgments. The position that Blackburn holds can more or less be termed as the moral projectivism. According to this view, human beings as conscious beings, project there emotional response according to the observations made depending with the behavior of others (Blackburn 129).
For instance in a situation where one is being tortured, people tend to feel negative about the action and develop similar emotions about it. The emotional response leads people to judge the action as either wrong or right.
If judgments are that the actions are wrong then it should be avoided in the future. According to Blackburn, this is the beginning of moral reasoning. While at some point the action could be seen as being subjective especially in terms of emotional experience the person witnessing an act is having, on the contrary the action is also objective or real since the action is actually occurring.
It is unfortunate that at the first instances the emotional feeling is connected to the actions taking place at that time hence it would appear immoral to oppose the action even if the action is right.
Moral projectivism asserts that there exist two important methods that would lead people to arrive at the common view point of a meticulous moral question. The first method is through the evolutionary strategy of observing the optimal survival of species inside the better concept of natural selection.
In other words what is wrong or right is taken in terms of what is preeminent for the endurance of the species. This notion can empirically be tested to arrive at the conclusion that altruism is better that selfishness. Put differently, the conclusion can be that altruism is good while selfishness is bad. Objectively altruism is seen as producing more survival traits for the species and improves the general condition of the people within the society therefore considered to be good.
The second way or of coming to the conclusion that an action is moral is through the emotive response that the action imparts on people in a society. Essentially actions such as torture have such kind of emotional response to the larger group of people in society hence considered as wrong since it illicit such kind of feeling to the majority (Joyce 130).
While the individual emotional reaction may be seen as subjective, the real action is objective as it takes place in the real situation and produces reactions that can be observed in the people. Because many people have similar reactions to certain actions it becomes easy to discuss such feelings cross cultures as well as social boundaries. As a result people come up with a general conclusion that the action is morally right or wrong More so to the actions that illicit powerful emotional reactions to the majority of people.
Blackburn argues that to achieve a consensus on all the actions there must be a joint pursuit that will end up in a common solution (Blackburn 129). As many people subject their moral judgments on certain actions they may not reveal the real picture rather they are more subjective. The actual actions are real and reveal the objectivity of the action. In that sense this philosophical position can be categorized as quasi-realism.
One of the disadvantages or projectivism is its strength of appealing to the majority over the emotional feelings towards certain moral actions as well as the ability to survive in terms of the evolutionary context of biology. There are no objective obligations to the individual, in terms of emotional responses, to act in agreement with certain moral standards. While there is certain moral empathy with those suffering, projectivism does not seem to go beyond a common compassion about other people.
The philosophical position does seem to un-hold when it comes to clarify what other people seem to unconsciously feel. Further it does not support the argument in terms of defining certain specific moral actions particularly when conflicts exist between two equal moral actions.
Questions such as whether it is morally right or wrong to torture someone because he has saved thousand lives seems to be unanswerable by just observing the how people would react to torture or death of thousands of people (Joyce 129). While in some cases the question may be able to have an answer under the evolutionary belief in survival of species and natural selection, it does not add to any philosophical thought since it draws a lot of similarities with the maximization of utility that is advocated by utilitarianism.
Despite the above mentioned concepts, various theories that use different methods or rules in specifying ethical human obligations and behaviors also exist. However, not an iota of concepts has properly achieved global approval. Lest a prime supposition fails to materialize, it could be ascribed to the fact that it might be complicated in practice to bank on a single speculation in every state of affairs. Given the universal definition of morals, problems are just encountered in defining the principles that constitutes what is good or bad.
The elementary principles of morals including utility, honesty, fidelity, non-malificence, privacy, autonomy, justice and beneficence typically constitute what morals entail. Whereas the implication of expressions namely assistance, dishonesty, coherent, justice and injury might be contested, it is obvious from the moral standard listing that it is in fact plausible to recommend a logically inclusive list of principles which could outline some a practical direction to a general moral structure.
Basically, such a listing integrates diverse philosophies which are considered ordinary to each and every traditional custom. For, instance, it might partly correspond to some religiously enthused principles yet may not heavily rely on them.
This means that the moral principles are may not be dubbed as supreme regulations but just guidelines that could be drawn on in tandem with apiece. Therefore, the conflicts emerging between moral principles which give rise to ethical dilemma could be done away with via moral reasoning. This would definitely give a reflective balanced judgment or equilibrium state.
In conclusion moral projectivism offers various essential analytical tools in reconciling the two positions of realism and anti realism. The over dependence on the emotional reactions and its advocacy for better things be awarded to humanity, are the two reasons why the philosophical thought seems to be lacking extraordinary approach to important issues in moral philosophy. The moral philosophy provides a guideline or an explanation of certain human actions in society.
Blackburn, Simon. Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Joyce, Richard. The Evolution of Morality. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2006.
Resnik, David, B. The Ethics of Science: An Introduction. New York, NY: Routledge, 1998.
Trusted, Jenifer. Moral Principles and Social Values. New York, NY: Routledge, 2002.