The issue of morality has attracted many scholars due to its importance in the society. There are many theories that developed by various philosophers to give explanations about moral values in the society. This essay looks at various issues that relate to morality and the various views that arise in the subject.
Act utilitarianism acts as a basis of solving or making moral judgments versus a subjective or relativist basis. The basic position of acts utilitarianism is the assessment of what one plans to do, reflect on the consequences of each of the actions that one is intending to do. This is where one concludes that if the results are good then it means that the action is good. On the other hand, if the results are bad then it means that the action is bad. One judges whether an action is good or bad by until one knows the consequence of the action. For example, one cannot judge that whether lying is good or bad until one understands the consequences of a particular lie. Therefore, our actions have instrumental value. However, there are problems, which arise with act utilitarianism. There is the calculation problem, which is also the problem of knowing the consequences. This problem arises, as it is difficult for one to understand or calculate the consequences of an action. Then there is the quality objection, which arises as it, becomes difficult to get uniform view point as to which actins brings pleasure that is of higher quality than the others. With various experience of pleasures it becomes difficult to know how to rank them according to their quality. There is also the morals wrong objection. Act utilitarianism may lead to absurd implications, which defy the views in morality, which people hold. If the results only count then it makes one not to worry how one gets to the results. It means it does not matter if one does something wrong as it brings best results to the greatest number of people (Geirson and Holmagren 95-101).
These problems solved by rule utilitarianism, which has its basis in the consequences of our actions. It holds that instead of focusing on the results of the actions taken by individuals it is important to set up some systems in the society, which will bring great happiness to the greatest number of people (Geirson and Holmagren 95-101). Therefore, rule utilitarianism holds that there should be a process, which should be followed in deciding what is, or wrong. Therefore, instead of considering the effects of actions A, B and C it is important to ask about the rules, which governs the actions. Following the rules makes one-take actions, which brings the greatest amount of good results to many people. Rule utilitarianism helps to solve the calculation problem as it offers more stable and secure set of rules, which we should live by instead of giving guidelines. It solves the problem of having to rely on rules of thumb to control our worrying of not being sure about the results, which our actions have. By following the rules, it becomes possible to attain the greatest happiness for a greater number of people. It also solves the problem of worrying about the decision one makes because one should not worry about making a wrong choice if it follows the rules.
Rule utilitarianism helps in morals wrong objections. Act utilitarianism can lead one to something wrong in order to receive good results. It uses the rule of the end justifies the means (Geirson and Holmagren 95-101). Rule utilitarianism solves this problem by holding that it is much clear and safe to establish rules, which should guide our behavior. By establishing a set of rules we are able to take actions which will bring greatest happiness to the greatest number of people, at the end the result will be that one does what he or she think is right and good. For example, if there is, a moral rule against stealing such a rule leads to a much better society. This is because, it prevents leaving individuals to make free decisions, on what he or she will do and what not to do.
Aristotle would not consider the Kantian moral agents to be virtuous because of the differences that exist in the way the two interpret the issue of virtuous behavior in moral psychology. Emanuel Kant uses the revisionist theory while Kant uses the ordinary theory in the definitions of virtue as a habit. The differences between the two theories arise by the attempt by Kant to refute Aristotle definition of virtues as a means and by the moral problem of ignorance. For example, the issue of I do not know what I ought to do and I do not do what I know I ought to do. These are the main two problems in moral psychology that makes the two differ in their interpretation of what is virtuous and what is not. Kant in his definition does not include the habit moral formation, which Aristotle has in his definition. Kant argues that an act or a behavior is virtuous only if the person is taking the action freely. On the other side Aristotle, virtues modify behavior in a direct way while Kant virtues modify behaviors in an indirect way by the creation of moral feelings, which repress the, temptations that one has to due to natural inclination. According to Kant, the ideal of perfect virtue is entail by the broad duties of beneficiaries and self-perfection. Virtues do not modify phenomenal behavior directly. Virtues according to him modify only a priori rational judging which produces moral feelings.
The social contract theory according to Hobbes based on the premise that people are naturally frightened. What he means by these is that people have a natural and a rational aversion to danger. His view of the human state is atomistic. He holds that in the natural state people are usually isolated from each other. This usually brings them into conflict and collision among themselves. The social contract theory by Hobbes is illustrated well by the prisoner dilemma which shows how man acts individuals behaves towards each other in the state of nature.
People Endeavour to preserve their natural state in life. People tend to resist anything that work or affects their life in a negative way or which may hurt them. In the prison dilemma two criminals are arrested by being suspected that thy committed crime together. The police do not have sufficient evidence about the two, so he decides to isolate the two criminals so that he can do the investigation separately. He offers a deal that whoever would provide evidence against the other would be set free. If none of them accepts the offer, both would get a small punishment because of lack of proof. Therefore, they would both gain. If one would confess to the police officers, he was to set free while the other one will receive the full punishment. In this case, the prisoners have a choice between only two options. No one between the two would make a good decision without knowing what the other one will do. This shows how the distribution of gains and loses are natural in many situations. Each prisoner in this case will try to make a decision that will preserve him. This is because each one will make a decision that would cost him less.
Most people are usually familiar with morality that comes out of common sense; for example, treat other the way you would like them to treat you. The common sense ideals has, been developed by many philosophers to come up with morals theories. These theories help to guide behavior and have ethical standards that postulated and have principles, which have their basis. Some of the most prominent theories are the divine command theory, utilitarianism theory, and the natural right theory. The morals values based on various aspects of the society, for example, religion of the society values and beliefs. For instance, the divine command theory holds that, morality need based on commands given by God. It has its basis on religious texts. On the other side, the utilitarian theory holds that morality be guided by the greatest good for the greatest number of people. It holds that there should me maximization of happiness to the greatest number of people. This acts as the basis by which the moral theories developed. The focus of the theories is to explain what is right and wrong at the individual and society level. Moral theory gives an account of our moral correct judgments. They provide guidance in most cases where one is in dilemma what he or she is to do. One finds out what to do by applying the underlying moral principles. They also give explanations as to why our correct, moral believes are true and challenges the correct moral beliefs that are not true. The beliefs, which do not rhyme with the underlying moral justifications, mostly rejected. This is, by using the moral theories as the basis.