Defective Norms of Morality

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Transcript Defective Norms of Morality

Defective Norms of Morality
Hedonism
 Utilitarianism
 Moral Rationalism
 Moral Positivism
 Moral Evolutionism
 Moral Sensism
 Communism

Hedonism

It is an ethical theory which holds that
the supreme end of man consists in the
acquisition of pleasure.
 Sensible pleasures are the highest good of life.

Morality is grounded on the pleasure or
satisfaction that an act brings or entails.
 The good action is the pleasant action.
 The bad action is that which produces pain or
unhappiness.
Utilitarianism
Is a theory very much akin to Hedonism.
 This norm of morality holds that actions are right in
proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong
as they tend to produce unhappiness.
 It makes “utility” the norm of morality.

 The goodness or badness of an action would depend on
the effects or consequences of the action.
 An act is good if and when it gives good results, if it
works, it makes you successful, if it makes you attain
your purpose, bad if it does not.
Types of Utilitarianism

Individual/egoistic utilitarianism – holds that
the norm of morality resides in the usefulness
of an action for the production of the temporal
happiness of the individual.
 An act is good when it redounds to the temporal
welfare and happiness of the individual, and bad if it
hinders or hampers this happiness.

Social/altruistic utilitarianism – holds that an
act is good when it is conducive to the social
good or well-being
Commentary (Hedonism & Utilitarianism)

Merits
◦ It explains very well the emotional basis and
aspects of human action.
◦ It explains well the reason behind the doing of
action by most people
 There is always some satisfaction accompanying the doing of
every good act.
 There is no doubt that most people are motivated in their
action by their desire for satisfaction or happiness or wellbeing.
Commentary (Hedonism & Utilitarianism)

Defects
◦ Both propose an earthly goal for man, that is, the
temporal welfare here on earth.
 The ultimate and supreme purpose of man cannot be found in
this life.
◦ Both make or tend to make morality relative
 What is pleasant or useful to one may be painful and harmful
to another. Relative morality leads to moral chaos and
destruction.
Commentary (Hedonism & Utilitarianism)

Defects
◦ Both theories make morality extrinsic because they make
it depend on the effect or on a concomitant factor of an
act.
 Morality is intrinsic, that is, based on the very essence of things and
on the nature of the act itself.

Satisfaction/pleasure may indicate and accompany the doing
of a good act; but the act is good not because it brings
satisfaction, but rather, it brings satisfaction because it is
good.
◦ The pleasure follows from the goodness and not the goodness from the
satisfaction
◦ The satisfaction/pleasure is merely an effect, and an indication but not
the cause or the reason of the goodness of an action.
Moral Rationalism – Immanuel Kant

Is the theory which maintains that all knowledge and all
truths are derived from human reason.
 Human reason, therefore, is the source of all truths, all laws,
and all principles.
 Human reason is the source of all moral laws and all moral
obligations.
 Reason commands, and the commands of reason are absolute
and unconditional, absolutely binding on all men of all times
(Categorical Imperative).
 Therefore, good must be done simply because we want. Virtue
must be practiced for virtue’s sake; goodness, for goodness sake.

Why we must do good?
◦ We must do good because we must, it is our duty to obey
unconditionally without questioning (Principle of Deontology).
Moral Rationalism

The command of reason is categorical and all are
obliged to obey, it is our moral duty to obey
unconditionally.
◦ Duty – is the very root, test and the mainspring of all
morally good acts.
 All that is moral is motivated by pure sense of duty, by pure
reverence for the law.
 Thus, morality is grounded on duty or moral obligation.

True morality, must be autonomous in character
(Autonomy of Reason).
◦ According to which theory: it is reason that commands and at
the same time it is reason that obeys.
 Thus, reason will be the law-maker, the law-giver and law-obeyer at
the same time.
Commentary (Moral Rationalism)

Merits
◦ It emphasized the absolute and immutable nature of
morality
◦ It saves morality from the destructiveness and insanity
of moral relativity and skepticism.

Defects
◦ On Autonomy of Reason
 Reason is the absolute law-maker, law-giver, law-abider.
(Autonomy of Reason)
 Morality comes not from reason itself but from a higher and
other source than human reason. (Heteronomy of Reason)
Commentary (Moral Rationalism)

Defects
◦ Based on Heteronomy of Reason
◦ Human reason only sees things, but it does not make things.
◦ Human reason tells us the law, but it does not make the law.
◦ Moral law is not from human reason, it is not our own making,
but it is impose on us from a higher source.
 If the law were made by human reason, then everything that
we would like to do could be approved by reason, but the fact
is that we have many things we like to do by which we know
are against the dictates of our conscience.
 Nothing can be superior and inferior at the same time.
Commentary (Moral Rationalism)

Defects
◦ Duty as a norm of morality
 Duty cannot be sole motive in the performance of
an act.
 There are other motives that are more worthy and more
noble, such as love, pity, mercy, etc.
◦ On Universalization of Reason
 There are many acts which cannot be universalized.
 Ex. Dying a hero’s death by martyrdom
Moral Evolutionism

This is the theory of all those who holds that
morality is never fixed or absolute, but is
continually changing and evolving gradually into
a perfect morality.

Friedrich Nietzsche - believed that morality –
the distinction between right and wrong – did
not exist in the beginning or originally
unknown.
 Good is that which anybody desired.
Moral Evolutionism

Friedrich Nietzsche

He was convinced that traditional values represented a “slave
morality,” a morality created by weak and resentful individuals
who encouraged such behavior as gentleness and kindness because
the behavior served their interests.
◦ These are the laws/values derived and based on the teachings of Christianity
which stands for meekness, humility, suffering pity, mercy, poverty, forgiveness and
love.
◦ These values glorify and favor the weak and produces weaklings

But, according to Nietzsche, we must produce the strong
◦ The law of nature is the survival of the fittest.
◦ The strong is destined by nature to live and rule.
◦ The weak has no right from nature to live. The weak who form the majority
must be eliminated in order to give way to the aristocracy of the strong.
Moral Evolutionism

Thus, Nietzsche, developed an idea of the
“Superman/Overman”.
◦ The “Superman/Overman” – was an individual who
overcame the slave morality of traditional values, and lived
according to his own values/morality.
◦ This superman is secure, independent, and highly
individualistic. The overman feels deeply, but his passions
are rationally controlled. Concentrating on the real world,
rather than on the rewards of the next world promised by
religion, the overman affirms life, including the suffering and
pain that accompany human existence.
Moral Evolutionism

He advanced this idea by saying that “God is dead,”
or the traditional morality was no longer relevant in
peoples lives.

For him, the end of all morality and society – to
produce the strong, the superman.

Thus, might, strength and power form the basis of true
morality.
◦ Good, is that one which makes one strong, powerful, and most
of all super human, and bad is that which is productive of the
weak.
Commentary (Moral Evolutionism)

The result – the chaotic, horrific, barbaric and
devastating World War II (German Invasion).
◦ Who thinks that they are the Aryan race (White
supremacy) superior to any other and destined to
rule and conquer the world.
◦ They devoured weaker nations and justified all the
massacres, tortures, and bloodshed of concentration
camps in their occupied countires on the theory that
thay are the strong and, therefore, can do no wrong.
Moral Positivism

This theory holds that the basis/source of all moral laws is the laws
of the State.
 Good is that which is in accordance with the laws of the State;
bad is that which is forbidden by the State.

The proponent of this theory is Thomas Hobbes
◦ Nature was in a state of universal war. Mankind was in a state of
war before the formation of the State.
◦ Man is a wolf unto his fellowmen (Homo homini lupus)
◦ Thus, there was no law, no morality, no distinction between right
and wrong.
◦ To end this state of war and anarchy, men came together to form
the State.
 Thus, laws, rights and duties were then established.
 Morality then has it source, its origin from the laws of the State.
Commentary (Moral Positivism)

Defects
◦ It makes morality relative.
 There are State Laws which are legal but not moral
(Abortion, Death Penalty, Same Sex Marriage).
◦ It reverses the natural order of things.
 Before there was any State there was already
human nature with all its natural and inviolable
rights and the law (natural law) governing it.
 Example:
 Murder is always bad, even before there was any State law
prohibiting it. Murder is forbidden by law and is wrong
because it is clearly a violation against human nature.
Moral Sensism

Is an ethical theory which holds that man
is endowed with a special moral sense
(other than reason) by virtue of which
man distinguishes between right and
wrong.
◦ The basis/source of morality is man’s senses;
what a person’s feel about the human act.
◦ Good if I feel it is good; bad if I feel it is bad.
◦ This view expressed when we say he has “no
sense of morality,” “no moral taste”.
Commentary (Moral Sensism)

Defects
◦ It makes morality relative.
 Morality is not based on feelings/senses.
 Morality is not based on the mood of the person.
 A human act is good or bad based on the norms of morality
which is conscience and natural law.
Communism

Its moral philosophy is the logical
consequence of metaphysics or view of
reality known as dialectic materialism.
 According to this theory, matter is the only reality.
 This sole entity or matter, is in constant flux or
motion and this accounts for all the events, motion
and change in the universe; so that all phenomena
of nature, all history, are nothing else but the
manifestation of this dialectic process inherent in
the nature of all things (matter).
Communism

It is founded on the theory of change,
evolution and revolution.
 Everything is progressing towards the goal of
perfection; man, society and history naturally and
necessarily tend towards the attainment of the
ultimate objective: the perfect state here on
earth, the Classless Society.
 All these are involved in the inexorable laws of
dialectic materialism.
 The goal of man is his earthly happiness in a
classless society.
Communism

Morality is changing since all things
changes.
 Good is that which brings about and hasten to
bring about the realization of a classless society; bad
that which hinders or delays its coming.
 The end of man, which is the classless society, is the
norm of morality.
 The end determines the morality of an act, the
means does not matter. Thus, “the end justifies
the means”.
 Revolution, conflict, bloodshed, wars, espionage, etc., are
good if they bring about the desired end: Classless Society
Communism
Primacy of Economics

Economics is the sole basis of all civilization, all
progress, all history, all society.
 It conditions and determines one’s religion and even
one’s mode of thinking and living.
 Morality is likewise determined by economics, in
such a way that different economic conditions give
rise to different moralities.

Economics is the beginning and the ends of all
ethics/morality.
Commentary - Communism

Merit
◦ Communism explains well the importance
and necessity of economics in life.
 Man is an economic being.
 He has an stomach to feed, he has to earn a living to
support himself and his family, etc.

Defects
◦ It is vitiated with the fallacy of exclusiveness
and misproportion.
Commentary - Communism
 While it is true that man can not live with bread, it
is likewise true that he does nor live by bread
alone.
 While he is an economic being, he is not an
economic being exclusively, nor principally.
 While we cannot disregard economics in life, we
cannot make it the sole and the most important
thing in life.
 It may be the basis or a sine qua non condition of
earthly life, but it is not the end of all human beings,
though it is a necessary means to it.
Commentary - Communism
Comparison between Morality of communism and Christian
Morality:
1. Communism is based on the primacy of matter.
Christian morality is based on the primacy of the spirit.
2. Communism proposes an earthly goal for man
(temporal life).
Christian morality is primarily for the other world (eternal
life).
3. Communism denies the basic postulates of Christian
morality (the existence of God, freedom of the will,
immortality of the soul. It substitute matter for God; life in
a classless society for immortality, and the laws of the
dialectic for freedom.
Commentary - Communism
Comparison between Morality of communism and Christian
Morality:
4. Communism adheres to the position that “the end justifies the
means.”
Christian morality believe that “the end does not justify
the means.”
5. Communism subscribes to the evolutionistic view of morality.
Christian morality maintains that morality is absolute,
immutable and eternal.
6. Communism uses force, conflict, revolution for the attainment
of its goal: the classless society here on earth.
Christian morality teaches love, patience, right living and
prayer for the attainment of its ultimate end: eternal
happiness in heaven, with God.
Thank you! God bless!