al Evaluation of Values and Ethics in PhilosophyIntroductionWhat is Philosophy? Investigation of the nature, Causes, or Principles of reality, Knowledge, or Values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.As used originally by the ancient Greeks, the term “philosophy” meant the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and comprised all areas of speculative thought, including the arts, sciences and religion.Philosophical questions (unlike those of the sciences) are usually foundational and abstract in nature. Philosophy is done primarily through reflection and does not tend to rely on experiment, although the methods used to study it may be analogous to those used in the study of the natural sciences.In common usage, it sometimes carries the sense of unproductive or frivolous musings, but over the centuries it has produced some of the most important original thought, and its contribution to politics, sociology, mathematics, science and literature has been inestimable. Although the study of philosophy may not yield “the meaning of life, the universe and everything”, many philosophers believe that it is important that each of us examine such questions and even that an unexamined life is not worth living. It also provide a good way of learning to think more clearly about wide range of issues, and its methods of analyzing arguments can be useful in a variety of situations in other areas of life. In ethics, value denotes the degree of importance of some thing or action, with the aim of determining what actions are best to do or what way is best to live(normative ethics),or to describe the significance of different actions.
It may be described as treating actions as abstract objects, putting value to them. It deals right conduct and living a good life, in the sense that a highly, or at least relatively high valuable action may be regarded as ethically, “good” (adjective sense), and that an action of low value, may be regarded as “bad” what makes an action valuable may in turn depend on the ethical values of the objects it increases, decreases or alters. An object with “ethic value” may be termed as “ethic or philosophic good”.Values can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of actions or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person’s sense of right and wrong or what “ought” to be “Equal rights for all”, Excellence deserves admiration”, and “people should be treated with respect and dignity” are representatives of values. Values tend to influence attitudes and behavior and these types include moral values, ideological (religious, political) value, social values, and aesthetic values. It is debated whether some values that are not clearly physiologically determined, such as altruism, are intrinsic, and whether some, such as acquisitiveness, should be classified as virtues.The branch of philosophical study that focuses on “ethics” is concerned with studying and building up a coherent set of ‘rules’ or principles by which people ought to live.
The theoretical study of ethics is not normally something that many people would regard as being necessary in order for them to conduct their everyday activities. In place of systematically examined ethical framework, most people instead carry around a useful set of day-to-day ‘rules of thumb’ that influence and govern their behavior commonly, these include rules such as ‘it is wrong to steal’, ‘it is right to help people in need’, and so on.Definition of values”Value is simply the maintenance of the set towards the attainment of the goal” (Murphy).ExplanationValues are standard or ideals with which we evaluate actions, people, things, or situations.
Beauty, honesty, justice, peace, generosity are all example of values that many endorse.1. Values are general beliefs.2. Values are set of beliefs.
3. Exists in mind and in translated to action.4. These are foundation for attitude and help us to interpret what is right or wrong.5.
These are considered the largest set.6. Values can be either universal (honesty) to cultural specific.7. It is based on trust and faith. 8. e.
g. bowing to elders implies keeping away the ego.9. Joint family system had stronger values than nuclear families.10. Value of child brought up in India versus an Indian child brought up in another nation (e.g.
USA) will be different effect of westernization.How are values developed?1. through role models.2. through family.3. through teachers.
4. through peer groups.5. through socialization.6. through text books.Importance of values1.
Values lay the foundation for the understanding of attitudes and motivation because they influence our perception.2. Individuals enter organization with notions of what is right and wrong with which they interpret behaviors or outcomes.3.
Values generally influence attitudes and behavior.Three types of Values1. Personal Values2. Moral Values3.
Aesthetic ValuesPersonal ValuesValues endorsed by an individual. For example, some people regard family as their most important values, and structure their lives so they can spend more time with their family. Other people might value success instead, and give less time to their families in order to achieve their goals.
Moral ValuesValues that help determine what is morally right or wrong, e.g. freedom, fairness, equality, etc., wellbeing. Those which are used to evaluate social institutions are sometimes also known as political values.
Aesthetic ValuesValues associated with the evaluation of artwork or beauty.Critical evaluation of valuesHaving value as a means Vs having value as an end-in-itselfJust as there are two ways in which someone may desire something, there are also two ways in which something may have value (or may be valuable). If X has value because it is a mans to promote some end Y, then we say that X has value( or is valuable) as a mean to promote But if X has a value regardless of whether it is a means to promote anything else, then we say that it has value(or is valuable) as an end-in-itself.There are to different kinds of Values1. Something has instrumental value if only it has value as a means to promote some ends.2.
Something has intrinsic value (or non-instrumental vale) if and only if it has value regardless of whether it has is also useful as a means to promote some other ends.ExamplesMoney has instrumental value. It has value as a means to deliver something else, such as foods, clothing, shelter, and education. But it is quite clear that money does not have intrinsic value. For this it has no value once it ceases to be means of getting us something else.We can likewise think of a person who teaches others as having instrumental value for those who want to acquire knowledge. But in addition to any such value, it is a common view in modern moral philosophy that a person, as a person, has intrinsic value i.
e., value in his or her own right independently of his or her prospects for serving others ends. The intrinsic value of persons is often taken as the moral foundation of basic human rights regardless of occupation, economic status, social class, nationality, race, gender, etc.The fact value gapJust because something is a matter of fact. It does not follow that it is something that ought to happen. More precisely, it is a mistake to infer any moral claim purely on the basis of certain descriptive claims.
Because this mistake is not uncommon, there is actually a name for it. It is called naturalistic fallacy.ExamplesThere is nothing wrong being selfish.
Everybody is selfish.Woman should stay at home and look after children because this is the tradition.In nature, only the fittest survive. Similarly, in human society only the strongest will survive and this is the way it should be.
Many things can be said in response to these arguments. Just because many people are selfish does not mean that they are right. Many people used to think that slavery is acceptable, but we now think they were wrong. Plenty of things that are in natural are not regarded as wrong, such as contraception or cosmetic surgery. Animals might eat their young or their old, but it does not mean that we should do the same with each other. Finally.
Some people end up in unfortunate circumstances through no fault of their own. We need to assume that unnatural things are wrong, or certain things which occur in nature or are widely accepted are morally correct.This is not to say that facts are not needed to draw conclusions about right and wrong. To show that someone should be convicted of murder, we need to at least show that the accused did cause the death of the victim.
But causing the death of a victim in itself does not show that something wrong has been done.EthicsDefinitionEthics us a study of what are good and bad ends to pursue in life and what it is right and wrong to do in the conduct of life. It is therefore, above all, a practical discipline. Its primary aim is to determine how ought to live and what actions one ought to do in the conduct of one’s life”. (John Deign).
ExplanationThere are three broad areas of ethical study:Meta ethicsNormative ethicsApplied ethicsMeta ethicsWhich focuses on the meaning of ethical terms themselves (for instance, ‘what is goodness?’), and on questions of how ethical knowledge is obtained (for instance, ‘how can I distinguish what is good from what is bad?), rather than on the more applied questions of ‘what should I do in a particular situation?’ meta ethics is therefore concerned with the nature of ethical properties, statements, attitudes and judgments. Meta ethics examines such themes as what moral questions mean, and on the basis people can know what is ‘true’ or ‘false’. Normative ethicsNormative ethics, is the study of ethical acts.
It therefore focuses explicitly on questions of ‘what is the right thing to do?’ in general. Normative ethics is concerned with questions of what people ought to do, and on how people can decide what the ‘correct’ moral actions to take are.Applied ethicsWhich is concerned with how people can achieve moral outcomes in specific situations. Therefore, it is concerned with the philosophical examination of particular and often complex issues that involves moral judgements. Areas such as bioethics, environmental ethics, developmental ethics and business ethics may be regarded as areas of applied ethics.Teleological Vs deontological theories of ethicsThe first kind asserts that the morality, or the immorality, of an act is a function solely of the consequences of the act and the natural tendency of those consequences to produce pleasure or pain, or goodness, or happiness, in some degree in some way.
Any such theory we call a consequentialist or the teleological theory. The second kind of theory asserts that the morality or the immorality of an act has basically nothing to do with the consequences of the act. This latter kind of theory we called deontological (Robert AL mender)Teleological theories”Telos” Greek word for an end or purpose.Actions are evaluated as moral or immoral depending on whether they help or hinder in the achievement of the chosen end. Examples of Teleological theoriesEgoism……………Happiness or pleasureEudemonism………Well-beingUtilitarianism……….
.General good, or welfare of human kindPlato”Deon” Greek word for duty.AristotleThe morality of an action is grounded by some form of authority independent of the consequences that such actions generate.EpicurusOriginal source of Deontological theories are the Judaic and Christian conceptions of divine law.Can philosophical ethics help create good individuals?The point is not always to speculate, but also ultimately to think about applying our knowledge today, however he who lives in conformity with what he teaches is taken for a dreamer (Kant).Critical Evaluation (Kant ethical theory)Kantian ethics, in essence extends Kant’s original method of deducing a priori in experience to ethical judgments with practical reason regulates action. In his most influential work on ethics, the foundations of the metaphysics of morals, Kant made the most thorough attempts to explain the distinction between ethical principles and laws of nature.1.
Subjective sense of obligation to obey moral laws, but with no obligation to obey laws of nature.2. Practical or prescriptive meaning of moral laws compared to theoretical or descriptive meaning of laws of nature.3. Moral laws are expressed in the imperative mood and laws of nature in the declarative mood.A critical appraisal of Kantian ethics will bring forth the following issues:The principle of universalizability as a test for moral actions. This idea of absolutely binding duty is certainly rather odd.
The questions that have to be answered are ‘does any such idea as Kant described ever more mean to action?’ and if it does, why is it valuable for people to act in accordance with it?’The formulation of the categorical imperative that involves the rule ‘ to act only on that maxim whereby we can at the same time will that it should become a universal law is seriously defective. It is possible to generalize into universal rules all sorts of maxims ‘I should have a cover for my book’ can be universalized without self-contradiction but yet is not obligatory a no one is obliged to adopt it. It is not an adequate statement of the nature of obligation.
Kant would have replied that such an act, if I were to perform it, is not a moral act, even though the maxim can be universalized because to him, it act morally means to obey nothing but law in general.Kant ethics makes the individual morally sovereign it enable him to reject all external authorities. To recognize this, which Kant calls the anatomy of the moral agent, is to recognize also the external authorities, even if divine can provide no criterion for morality. To recognize this is to claim the unlimited capability of pure reason and the categorical imperative to provide a complete criterion for morality and a perfect assessment of moral actions, or in another sense, if this claim is denied, the inability of Kantian ethics to provide a complete test of proposed or existing or existing maxims and the inability to become a source of moral imperative, since the formulation of categorical imperative cannot be an exhaustive list. Kant’s conception of a good will, principles of universalizability, are all based on the limitations of pure reason and thus due to that they failed to conform to actuality. This rejection of external authorities’ does not necessarily produce a complete criterion of morality.
In Kant’s view, only a good will is morally valuable and a good will is good in itself without regard to what it effects. This notion of good will is so strange and as such out of touch with actuality. Hume agrees Kant that a good will is the unique object of moral value but he held its goodness to lie in its benevolence not in its dutifulness.In fact the position taken by Kant involves a vicious circle. It should be clear that no action can be virtuous or morally good unless there is in human nature some motives for doing it, apart from the sense of duty. It will not be appropriate to claim that the virtue of telling the truth lies in telling the truth because it is vicious to do so, because this will lead to a vicious circle.
It could be that the motives underlying a certain act have been forgotten because it is already a common practice imbedded in the behavior of rational being. The tendency of Kant to remove all natural inclinations from the will as the way of defining a moral act is to define an act which is not observable in today’s life, in a sense an act derived from pure will alone which is inconceivable. It is impulses and to determine ones actions by rational considerations alone, and the only motive being, to act for the sake of duty alone, and nothing else. Kant pays too little to the factors that diminish and sometimes demolish responsibility.ConclusionValue theory is concerned with theoretical questions about value and goodness of all varieties, questions that often cross the boundaries between normative ethics and the Meta ethical. It asks how and why people value something, be it a person, idea or object, thus both moral and natural goods are equally relevant to value theory.Kant theory of ethics is deeply influenced by his Christian roots and the scientific method and ideals of the age of reason or enlightenment.
It is a blend between reason experience and revelation. Unlike the rationalist and the empiricists, Kant’s hypothesis is that knowledge and truth is a combination of the empirical and the rational elements or what he called pure practical reason or a priori judgement. It from a priori judgement and not from empirical means that one can describe whether a conduct is right or wrong.
Kant introduced the categorical imperatives that an act is moral if it can be a universal law and carried out with sense of duty, not as means to an end and people can deduce the same moral laws by living in a kingdom of ends. He understood the limitations of reason in the realm of metaphysics or those which he termed as ‘noumenon’ or the thing –in-itself. The poof of God, soul and ultimate reality belong to this category of knowledge Kant argue that it does not follow, just because the existence of god cannot be proved by theoretical reason, that no proof of his existence is possible. This study provide a critical appraisal to Kant ethical theory. ReferencesBooksEthics (paperback), by Baruch Spinoza, published in 1677.
Ethics, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol 6, published in 1955.Aristotle. Ethics. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1953.Moore, G.E. Ethics. Published in 1912.
Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, translated by H.J. Paton, published in 1964.