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Matrix on Moral, Social, and Political Fields of Philosophy Essay

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Updated: Jun 15th, 2022

Matrix

Field Definition Historical Developments Schools Of Thought Key Contributors Principal Issues
Moral It is “the study of the psychological aspects of morality” (Tiberius, 2014, p. 13). Ancient
Medieval, Modern
Contemporary
Deontological
Utilitarian
Socrates, Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham Right/wrong conduct
Social It studies “existing social arrangements” (Randall, 2013, p. 120). Ancient
Medieval, Modern
Contemporary
Confucianism
Social Contract
Confucius, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Individualism
Ideologies, Rights, Authority
Political It studies “what the modern state does” (Beiner, 2014, p. 2). Ancient
Medieval, Modern
Contemporary
Utilitarian
Social contract
The Frankfurt School
Aristotle, Confucius, Adam Smith Law, Rights, Justice, Property

It is necessary to note that the three branches of philosophy mentioned above often address similar issues but focus on different aspects of people’s lives. Importantly, philosophers as well as entire philosophical schools tried to explain major concepts and trends that are apparent in major spheres of people’s lives. It is possible to start with moral philosophy. There have been a number of schools but deontological and utilitarian can be regarded as some of the most influential.

Tiberius (2014) notes that this branch of philosophy is aimed at explaining people’s behavior and motifs as well as development of tools to shape behavioral patterns. Immanuel Kant is an influential representative of the Deontological approach that is based on the acts (their rightfulness and compliance with accepted norms).

Jeremy Bentham is an influential proponent of Utilitarianism that focuses on the consequences of the action and the need to achieve greater good for the largest number of people. Notably, contemporary moral philosophy is a blend of all schools and philosophers now focus on relativity and universal nature of actions.

As for social philosophy, Randall (2013) notes that it concentrates on the way societies function. The conflict between social and individual is also a matter of research of this branch of philosophy. It is possible to name such prominent schools of social philosophy as social contract and Confucianism. One of the most influential proponents of the theory of social contract was Thomas Hobbes. The school concentrates on such issues as the origin of state and the authority the state has on individuals.

Thinkers try to understand to what extent the state can exercise the authority and to what extent people can sacrifice their individualism and basic rights. Confucianism is the school established by Confucius. The school concentrates on the social relationships and justice. The two schools have certain concepts in common.

When it comes to political philosophy, it is possible to identify such prominent philosophers as Aristotle, Confucius and Adam Smith. Beiner (2014) defines political philosophy as a study of activities of the state and the discipline also aims at identifying reasons of particular actions. Some prominent schools of political philosophy are utilitarian, social contract and the Frankfurt school. The latter can be interesting to consider in terms of contemporary political trends.

The most influential representative of the Frankfurt school is Jürgen Habermas (Boucher, 2014). The school largely criticizes contemporary western countries and capitalistic model. The philosophers argue that the system will eventually fail and they also believe Marxism (with certain changes) can be a more vital system.

In conclusion, it is important to note that the three branches of philosophy focus on such important issues as justice, free will and authority. There are still supporters of schools of thought that evolved in ancient times or middle ages. It is also important to note that the contemporary philosophy often employs approaches of many schools to explain, justify or to develop tools to shape certain trends existing in the society.

Reference List

Beiner, R. (2014). Political philosophy: What it is and why it matters. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Boucher, G. (2014). Understanding Marxism. New York, NY: Routledge.

Randall, J.H. (2013). Philosophy after Darwin: Chapter for the career of philosophy. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Tiberius, V. (2014). Moral psychology: A contemporary introduction. New York, NY: Routledge.

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