What Makes Right Acts Right Analysis

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Jieni Peng CA1 “What Makes Right Acts Right” by W.D Ross In the article “What Makes Right Acts Right” by W.D Ross, he debates the about idea of duties and how humans in general understand if their actions are correct. Ross mentions that humans do not deliberately execute their duties because of the consequences resulting from those duties. Rather, they perform those duties because of an innate form of common sense that humans possess inside of themselves. One example of this is the act of fulfilling a promise that an individual made to themselves or others not because of the end results but because of their sense of “duty.” Ross’s moral theory can be thought of as a compromise between utilitarianism and Kantianiasm. Even though Ross applauds the idea of benevolence in utilitarianism and the importance of justice, he disapproved of maximizing happiness as the main duty and stating that the moral rules were absolute. The basis of Ross’s moral theory lies in the concept of prima facie; the “duty” performed based on the relationship between certain individuals. Ross means that in any situation the individual needs to decide which relationship is most important to them at that time when making decisions. His main argument consists of: 1. If humans have common sense morality, then they follow prima…show more content…
One example that Ross gives is the keeping of a promise an individual made to someone not because it will promote the most happiness at the end, but because the individual had already made the promise and feels an innate duty to uphold it (128). Ross argues that people possess common sense because it is what lets an individual realize that they have more than one “conditional” duty in a situation. It allows that individual to favor the action of one duty more over the action of the
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