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Morality refers to the system that determines whether a particular aspect or event is right. In other words, it refers to the guiding principle that encourages people to do a morally accepted thing in society. On the other hand, ethics pertains to the theoretical analysis of probity. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they differ in a number of ways. For instance, a morally accepted action might be considered evil in one society while the same act is justifiable in another society.
Moral codes differ from one society to the other. In some societies, engaging in sex with a fifteen-year old child girl is considered normal as long as the minor is not forced to do the act. However, this is morally and legally wrong in a modern society. Divine command theory can be employed in explaining the scenario where an adult male engages in sex with a fifteen-year-old girl. The theory states that a close relationship between morality and religion exists. In other words, theorists allied to this supposition are of the view that morality cannot exist without God. People are able to identify the right thing in society using the religious codes.
Based on this, religion outlines what should be done in society through its principles. For instance, sex before marriage is unethical because it results to fornication in Christianity. In fact, most moral codes are often borrowed from the major religious teachings, such as Christian principles. The hypothesis is believed to be strong because it proposes that gods control what is true and erroneous in society. However, it is often under criticism because the right and wrong things are not arbitrary. People commit sins because of certain reasons (word count 275).
Individuals allied to non-cognitivism believe that statements of facts or propositions are not always true because they represent generalized ideas. Such people do not underscore the fact that moral judgments are in a position to express an idea objectively owing to the fact that they simply explain the feature world. In their view, it is extremely difficult for an individual to establish the truth in the world since not all moral statements such as ‘murder is wrong’ are accurate.
Moreover, people lack knowledge to establish what is true in society, making it difficult to draw factual statements. Based on non-cognitivism, moral statements are simply expressions of an individual’s attitudes and viewpoints. The major aim of an individual is to influence the listener or the audience to change their attitudes towards a particular idea. Therefore, the idea that murder is wrong is simply meant to prevent members of the public from killing each other, but the real action is not wrong at all. Some scholars allied to the theory believe that moral statements are always put in place for people to follow, but they do not suggest that the idea is wrong.
To such scholars, statements such as murder might be wrong are accurate, but justifying the idea murder is wrong is misplaced. Therefore, non-cognitivism suggests that a big difference between factual statements and prescriptions exist. The wording and the intention of those in positions of influence bring about great differences as far as moral statements are concerned. Some words have more than two meanings hence their usage should be noted. For instance, the word courageous can be used in factual terms, as well as in normative terms. Normative usage of the word courageous is dominant as compared to its factual usage (word count: 291).
Abortion has always been a contradictory concept in many societies, including some of the developed societies. Deontological or the rights-based groups argue that it should be made illegal under all circumstances since it does not favor human life. Deontologists present a number of claims as to why abortion ought to be made illegal. One of the claims is that life starts just after fertilization and any attempt to terminate it should be resisted.
Since life starts after fertilization, it should be the role of human beings to safeguard it until conception. The second claim is that an attempt to procure an abortion is the violation of the right of the embryo, which results to unfair killing of the unborn baby. Based on the above claims, deontologists suggest in the third claim that a law should be formulated to curb the increasing cases of induced abortion, which are threatening human life. Through feminist organizations, women suggest that they should be granted permission to procure abortion since they have the right to control what is in their wombs.
Moreover, the right to abortion is an extension of the right to freedom owing to the fact that an individual should choose what to carry in his or her body. Deontologists are opposed to all these claims arguing that allowing women to procure abortion is dangerous to the existence of human beings. On the other hand, rule-utilitarianism suggests that an act is considered right based on the method applied in executing it. In other words, it does not take into consideration the results or the outcomes of the act. Therefore, rule-utilitarianism believes that abortion is justifiable in case the method applied in doing it is right. It only becomes illegal in case the method applied threatens the life of the mother (word count 296).
Each theory has its own major suppositions that are often different in a number of ways with other premises. Ethical subjectivism postulates that an individual often determines what is right and wrong based on his or her belief. In other words, what an individual believes to be right is always what motivates him or her to act. This means that an individual tends to deny the established common principles in favor of his or her own codes of conduct.
Others seem to criticize the moral codes just in case they do not favor them. Moral subjectivists have the tendency of approving all forms of behavior with the belief that people act based on their understanding. Therefore, such individuals will never disapprove the actions of the serial killer. Ethical egoism is a different moral theory, which suggests that the selfish interests of individual often determine the right and wrong things in society since people are known to play zero-sum game. The theory claims that an individual strives to achieve his or her personal interests, even if it entails killing other people.
Just as subjectivists, ethical egoists do not disapprove the actions of the serial killer, but the reason of disapproval of the behavior is different. Emotivism is a hypothetical belief that does not support moral judgments since people act based on their expressive feelings. Unlike subjectivism and ethical egoism, the theory does not even approve serial killing as an ethical issue. It disputes the fact that serial killing exists (word count 231).