Throughout history many great philosophers have attempted to unravel the origins of virtues by developing moral theories of their own. This document is designed to provide the reader with an overview of some of the more popular theories concerning morals. Three of the most popular moral theories are… Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Aristotelianism. Though Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Aristotelianism differ in many ways, they also share similar fundamentals. Utilitarianism is a highly acclaimed theory that is morally based on consequentialism.
The Republic by Plato describes a society that is completely rational, based on Plato’s concept of the good life and developed to create and protect that sort of life within the context of a civil state. What Plato seeks in this text is a definition of the perfect life and the perfect state to promote and sustain that life - the Ideal State. In this ideal state, the individual does not select his/her profession but it is chosen on a basis of assessment of ability and needs of society. All individuals are divided into classes through which they are to serve the state. These classes are: the guardian class, the auxiliary/soldier class and the common people/peasants.
The social contract is based on the voluntary surrendering of rights and personal liberties in exchange for protection by a higher agency, the government. The social contract therefore, is a form of cure for the state of nature existence, where man’s primary drive is the selfish need to preserve themselves, meaning they could use any force and personal resources to acquire all property deemed useful to the propagation of their interests. In the social contract theory, a human agrees to ‘give up’ their rights to liberty as a means to the cause, which is realizing the greater good for the people in the
Thus, in fact, a history full of before-mentioned examples of opposition between the civil obedience and internal moral truth. Writers of the earlier and later Middle Ages connected conscience with the power to distinguish good from evil and identified it as "synderesis". St. Augustine viewed conscience as an innate ability that exhibits the moral law of God, thus, God-given. Augustine believed the capacity of reason to be considerably larger that it truly is. In accordance with Aristotle, the reason is innate and universal and, in turn, requires to be implemented in order to come to a recognition of right and
Natural Humans The human condition is a subjective term used to encompass the things that differentiate humans from animals. Through the philosophy of John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, their beliefs of what is natural shapes their insight into the human condition. Locke believes that nature is governed by a general law of reason and that people are free, equal, and independent in this life. Whereas Rousseau believes that a hypothetical nature is ideal yet humans are corrupted through the formation of societies. This basis in the belief of nature shapes Locke’s and Rousseau’s beliefs regarding learning, dependency, social interaction, and living when exploring the human condition.
He is also considered to be the first major political philosopher, whose ideas had a profound impact on subsequent political theory Plato’s philosophy is marked by the belief that the human mind was capable to attain the truth and use this very truth for rational and virtuous ordering of human affairs. Plato believed that humans are those who see beauty and are all the same but at the same time not the same. With this he meant that we are all the same because we are all humans but some humans (Gold souls) had the ability to see more than the others. He believed in the three stages of a soul: Bronze Soul: Workers of the hand Silver Soul: Protectors (Soldiers etc) Gold Soul: Thinkers Each stage of the soul has a different purpose in life. Each purpose is important.
Dr. Simon Clarke published an article called Mill, Liberty & Euthanasia in which his thesis states that, “deciding when to die is a matter of individuality” (Clarke 1). Dr. Clarke backs up his thesis by using some of the rationalities behind John Stuart Mill’s Liberty Principle. According to the Liberty Principle, people should be free to pursue their greatest good as long as it does not cause harm for the community. Secondly, the principle argues that when people are free they have the ability to seek their “individuality” therefore liberty benefits the person. For example, a person develops their individuality by developing their skills, personality, values, and potential.
Rousseau, Hobbes and Locke are mainly renowned for their masterpieces on political philosophy, Rousseau’s On the Social Contract, Hobbes’ Leviathan and Locke’s Two Treatise of Government. Each has very unique concepts of a social contract. However, they all retain the idea that people in a State of Nature would be willing to compromise their liberty for state protection (Kelly, 2004). Even though they accept that the State of Nature is to a certain degree chaotic, Locke’s State of Nature is far more optimistic, which shows his faith in natural law. Rousseau also describes a scenario where the original freedom, happiness, equality and liberty which used to exist in primitive societies prior to the social contract were lost in the modern civilisation.
For Kant world history is determined by a ‘cosmopolitan aim’ understood as the gradual realization of the perfect civil union of human kind. He believes human history final end as the establishment of a cosmopolitan order and we must hope for and work towards Cosmopolitanism if we want he humanity to attain perfection. Kant considers the question that whether human race is constantly progressing and he answers himself in affirmative. He states “Human race has always been in progress towards the better and will continue to be so henceforth” in his work The Strife for Faculties. Kant gives teleological arguments to justify events of history by demonstrating their necessary relation to some ultimate goal of nature.
A complete theory of virtue ethics must do three things: • First, it must define the concept of virtue. • Second, it must offer some list of the virtues. • Finally, the theory must offer some justification of that list and explain how we decide what are virtues and vices. Aristotle argues in Book II of the Nicomachean Ethics, the man who possesses character excellence does the right thing, at the right time, and in the right way. The main goal according to Aristotle is to become a good person irrespective of the consequences.