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Philosophy Moral Concepts and Presuppositions

From a philosophical view, there are three simple assumptions on moral concepts, which state that ethics is intelligible, ethics is serious and that ethics is about human beings.

Ethics is intelligible Intelligible is defined as understanding or meaningful. A lot of 20th century schools tend to agree that moral judgments lack meaning as assertions and are only understood as expressions of emotion. The individual freedom to express rights should also respect others peoples freedom to express theirs promoting a tolerance culture thats why it is wrong to morally judge people because as long as they come from diverse backgrounds they will always differ on ethic issues. This is known as respectful disagreement and America prides itself in it however psychologically there is a tiny gap separating it from relativism which is characterized by the belief in no blanket correct view just subjective opinion and no objective truth. Logically there is no connection since the ethical concepts are independent and their weight is determined by the configurations of a particular case but two of them stand out as the real moral principles, which are the search for the best answer in moral dilemmas and respect for honest disagreement on results.

Ethics is serious

Ethics defined as the study of criteria for right and wrong eliminates ethical theories that avoid serious problems. One criterion for moral judgment is seriousness; ethical relativism avoids disagreement while ethical egoism focuses on self gain.

Philosophy Ethics is about human beings

Ethics are found in human life and derived from human nature, which varies in different individuals and across cultures and three facts determine the structure of our moral obligations. People are animals in that human need and vulnerability to harm creates compassion out of suffering, non malfeasance that is avoiding harm and more beneficence which is working to satisfy human need, maximize human happiness and optimize human interests in all respects.

People are social in that nature obligates as to function as an individual but within a group yielding moral principles, which treats everyone equally thus the urge to act right since society deals with all of them equally. People are rational in that they can abstract concepts, use language and think in three categories when dealing with world objects and events: time, space and causation. Rationality gives us the freedom of choice and respect others choices thus the role that society places on us that requires obedience to the law of the land. Therefore, human welfare, justice and dignity are the source and criteria for evaluation of human moral system and the same concepts are the source of every moral dilemma thats why opposition comes in two forms, conflict of values and conflict of imperatives. These concepts correspond to the three imperatives for human conduct which are do good or at least do no harm, observe the requirements of justice and respect of persons as autonomous beings. We have a duty to realize our potential by extending our knowledge and scope of reason fully to become autonomous persons. Logically these imperatives are independent from one another.

Philosophy Bibliography

Greenspan, P., 1998, Emotions and Reason: An Inquiry into Emotional Justification, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Kant, I., 1797, The Metaphysics of Morals, in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy, Gregor, M. (ed. and trans.), New York: Cambridge University Press Neitzsche, Friedrich, 1998, On the Genealogy of Morality, M.Clark and A. Swensen (trans.) Indianapolis: Hackett