Moral philosophy, which mainly addresses issues surrounding ethics, encompasses the definitive foundation of social morality and ethics; that is, the justification of what is right and wrong in relation to individual coexistence in societies and work places (Haven, 2008). In a more simple way, it stipulates individual expectations of people as regards human behavior in relation to each other.
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Evidently, all aspects of moral-dimensions that are overly concerned with discharge of duties in diverse societies across the world are catered for in moral philosophy. Paley and Judd (2000), argue that through moral philosophy, fundamentals of human rights and codes of conduct within societies and places of work have been laid down.
According to their arguments, the aforementioned elements tend to reflect various constitutional formations and legal frameworks within many societies in the world today. These have followed the adoption of different famous philosophers’ tenets of morality and human values leading to the development of codes such as human rights, the constitution, the law morals and ethics.
On the other hand, it is profound to note that inequalities in the various codes of ethics have been prevalent due to differences in the wishes of many people and thus an unbalanced effectiveness of moral values observed in different sections. This is true since access to power has led to lack of observation of the key moral values and hence the inefficiency of moral frameworks.
However, despite the diversities in the beliefs of morality, there seems to be a convergence in the international definition of human rights- a reflection of global morality. But universality of morality still remains a widely contended subject on what should be either right or erroneous since societies criticize other societies in regard to what should be considered and acceptable or immoral (Parrott, 2006).
Indeed, such differences are inevitable in any given society since individual perceptions and values are also varied. Therefore, today, the view of the word morality has become demographic-dependent variable due to prevailing divergences in various societies in the world and expansion of perspectives of moral philosophy.
Historical background of morality and moral philosophy
The roots of morality can be traced back to around 400 B.C. when the earliest Greek philosopher- Socrates- brought about the subject of right and wrong. His theory of morality was entirely based on cognitivism and defined wrong as ignorance and right as realism.
His student, Aristotle- who came immediately after him, defined morality as self-realization whereby ultimate happiness caused by actualization was considered as right and failure and frustrations as wrong. These beliefs were held for so long until the mid seventeenth century when thorough scrutiny into morality sprung up.
Other philosophers including Bentham and Mill reflected the opinion of happiness-right association in their theory of utilitarianism whereby what causes the greatest happiness is considered right (Maritain, 1996). Right from this perspective, it can be observed that differences in opinions and perspectives in as far as moral philosophy is concerned has existed since time immemorial.
Better still, thorough examination of the term moral philosophy may not be simply concluded to infer pure right or wrong bearing in mind that social theorist have for a long time differed sharply on the subject. Some have argued that as much as the concept of wrong and right are relative, moral philosophy may not significantly be different especially when addressed from a social theoretical point of view.
That perception changed in the era of enlightenment with the introduction of Emanuel Kant whereby happiness was and is still considered relative. In Kantian view of categorical imperative, there is demand that we should act on the ‘maxim of universality’ (Clark, 2006, p.25).
The second Kantian assumption is that we should avoid using others as means to our happy ends. The advent of twenty-first century saw the emergence of periods referred to as morality, values and ethical and decision-making that revolutionized moral philosophy.
The present period is referred to as the ethical-risk-management period whereby identifications of risks associated with core human service values are highly emphasized (Clark, 2006). Such changes, both in the perception and application of moral philosophy to human service have been common throughout human history.
Emphatically, core human service values have remained to be conflicting and debatable issues because the foundations of morality and their definitions have been greatly different.
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This is because their basics have been entirely based on the pleasure, happiness, coexistence and realism which people experience in the course of interaction and widely believing that the basis of morality of what should be either right or wrong should arise from the level of contentment it brings to the people involved in any form of interaction.
On this assumption, the basis of core human values depends on the level of emotional satisfaction brought in the people involved in any form of intercourse.
On the other hand, emotional gratifications are vastly different in dissimilar individuals given that there are explicitly clear individual differences in different people.
Therefore, the definition of core human values remains elusive and at some point, highly conflicting since the causes of joy and dissatisfaction are distantly different. Winslow (2006), points out that contention has thus remained in the globalization of core human values and therefore, there is need to understand the correct foundations of morality, societies, their influences, the current state and the future as regards past and present beliefs.
The philosophical view of the world from the foundation of morality
Morality is the guidance of individual interactions within societies in the world for a natural and peaceful co-existence with justified actions and their effects and consequences.
As such it has greatly impacted the way we view the world today. Basing on the initial tenets of morality, still the values of morality are directed toward the happy ending of an individual. The development of knowledge has taken the meta-ethical approach of moral philosophy and consequentialism has been used in the derivation of social governing frameworks.
Many societies have drawn their moral values exclusively from the idea of consequentialism and this has created a link between the past moral philosophical concepts and the present. Thus modern ethics involving deontological and pragmatic ethics that ruptured with the onset of Kantian and Dewey views have changed the post-modern approach to morality and ethics (Parrott, 2006).
The political realities of the present have also grown to cater for the rights of diverse individuals with much consideration of human rights unlike the eras of the first and the second world wars whereby the rights of the majority were decided by individuals or the minorities. This has been made possible by the formation and an observant body for human rights, which is the United Nations and consequently other Marxist governing social bodies influenced by his social theories.
Initially, the values of morality were dogmatic in nature whereby morality did not give provisions for individual autonomy. But that has changed with the introduction of differing views of morality and moral philosophy and the expansion of the perspectives of core human service values (Jouffroy, 2001).
Information of core human service values
The core human service values have been heavily influenced by the past believes in moral philosophy. With highly differing opinions of precedent basic moral principles, the core human service values have demanded universality in them. The present era has seen the acceptance of specific values in the evaluation of core service values between individuals.
These values, which shall be discussed in sequence in their nature, include; valuing humanity which entails respect for others and human rights, valuing choice which is entirely recognition of individual autonomy, valuing difference which demands non-discrimination and great respect for variety, valuing positive change which entails social justice and valuing quality service which entails competence, transparency, impartiality, integrity, reliability and honesty (Reamer, 2006).
Radical nature of core service values
Basically the core service ideas and value of choice of citizenship can be considered radical since there is the crossing over of societal boundaries and hence introduction of new moral values to new societies which becomes heavily contested. Gender equality and empowered are also radically challenging in that these values were not presented in the foundational stages of morality (Nash, 2001). They thus require maximum attention in handling them since new tactics and moral perspectives are required.
Parrott (2006) contends that regional differences might impact the implementation of these service values due to rigid traditional service values. Thirdly, with the observation of the international human rights, anti-oppressive behavior has sharply risen for demand of immediate observations of human rights. Participation in such activity or any inter-demographic activity has also become radical since there is need for identification for easier cross-border acceptance.
On the other hand, respect for immediate people in the society or the work place can be regarded as traditional since there is involvement in direct interaction and right-specification in most societies. As a result, this makes it a traditional core service value arising from traditional morals.
Other values like equality of opportunity also lie in the traditional value table since it is common morality that opportunity should be equally available but contest has arisen in it due to lack of observation of moral foundations. If the latter could be agreed upon, then the gap between proponents and opponents of moral philosophy could be narrowed significantly.
Impact on practice ethics and approaches
The nature of the core service values has significantly impacted on ethics and especially in regard to moral philosophy. As a result, the contempoaray society and approaches in the societies differently. To begin with, valuing humanity like gender equality and differences like empowerment has been a major challenge in implementation since traditional values have not yet fully acknowledged them either in the culture-morals or work places.
Valuing social justice like accepting positive change has impacted different morals and ethics to accepting and embracing all that facilitates positive change (Rickaby, 2007). The directed impact on the core service values is different from each other depending on their category as either traditional or radical.
From the discussion above, it is clearly evident that morality can be traced back to the years before the birth of Christ. Since then, its premises have narrowly remained unchanging until early twentieth century. Furthermore, contributions by Kant and Dewey have greatly affected modern moral philosophy and hence the subsequent delivery of core human service values.
In Kantian view of categorical imperative, there is demand that we should act on the ‘maxim of universality’ and secondly avoid using others as means to our joyful ends in order to be morally and ethically upright.
Morality is the regulation of individual interactions within societies in the world for accepted and serene co-existence with justified actions and their effects and consequences. Thus numerous societies have drawn their moral values entirely from the idea of consequentialism and this has formed a link between the past moral philosophical concepts and the present. The core human service values have been heavily influenced by the past believes in moral philosophy.
With highly conflicting opinions of precedent basic moral principles, the core human service values have insisted universality in them. The impact of moral philosophy on core human services has been rampant. For instance, valuing humanity such as those addressing gender equity and empowerment has been a major challenge to accomplish since traditional values have not yet fully recognized them either in the culture-morals or work places.
Valuing social justice such as being tolerant to positive change has impacted diverse morals and ethics. In a more interesting perspective though, it is profound to underscore the fact that the concept of moral philosophy may have positively impacted specific societies largely due to unique belief systems that abhor certain practices like gender inequity.
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