Philosophy and Morality Instructions the Exam Consists Essay

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  • Subject: Mythology - Religion
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Philosophy and Morality

INSTRUCTIONS The exam consists essays. Please essays document. Please plagiarize. Be paraphrase verbatim language authors putting quotation marks. You document sources, -text citation ( footnotes) a reference page.


John Arthur's "Morality, Religion, and Conscience,"

A concern on the relationship between morality and religion is an ancient argument that continues in philosophy in the present times. The argument is mainly on whether morality emanates from an institution or religious background. Theologians in their numbers provide unwavering support the argument that a unifying absolute force or God provides universal moral guidance. The importance of observing morality and religion as independent on one another but related in some way has been argued by other philosophers (Lyons 479). John Arthur argues that morality and religion are not interlocking in relevant manners. Arthur argues that morality in independent from religion and religion does not influence moral action. It is his contention that moral values, decisions and actions can subsists without religion teaching (Arthur 61). Arthur supports his assertion by scrutiny of the process in making decision nature of revelation and the mighty power of God.

In an effort to Dispel the relatedness of morality and religion, Arthur first looks in to the claim that, morality results from religion since it is thought that the reason to act righteously is a religions force. According to Arthur many other factors and reasons are considered in order to arrive to a decision. The teachings of religion and faith are just part of the equation if they come in to introspect. Arthur says; "many of us, when it really gets down to it; do not give much of a thought to religion in making decision" (Arthur 62). This is to mean despite the fact that religion may provide a valuable and viable reason for moral actions, human beings rarely consider religious reason when considering the moral repercussions. If an individual considers reason primarily and not religious ones in a moral thought operation, it is then conclusive to say religion is not necessary for morality (Arthur 62).

Arthur strongly disagrees with the notion that, without religious teaching no one can know what is moral. Arthur remarks that there is no way of one telling a right religion in a world full of religions. From the different religions offer dissimilar perspectives of the world and even where similar religion are observed, Arthur arguer there are differing myriad interpretations. Philosophical argument on revelation as a means of deciphering religious truth morality is refuted in Arthur's arguments. There is the need to differentiate between historical event and revelations. If revelation is a guide to morality, there is the need to ascertain whether a historical even, the revelation or both count (Arthur 63). Arthur notes "rather than revelation serving as a guide to morality, morality is serving as a guide of how we interpret revelation" (Arthur 63).

With further discussions, Arthur argues that assertion all morality come from God is fundamentally blemish since there are other sources that interject to guide morality. Considering that God changes his commands, morality is bound to change. People's consciousness cannot allow them to commit murder and allow chaos if God order them to Kill. This questions the validity of the Divine Command Theory leading him to suggest since God would not will such actions, then morality is a discovery to Him and not His invention. God's commands then are based on morality that exists independent of Him. The assertion the morality and religion are linked and not necessarily that morality comes from religion.

In his arguments, Arthur opposed the view that morality stems from religion but agree that over the years, to two have a played a critical role to exert influence upon each other. From the arguments and oppositions made, Arthur profoundly lays ground to consider the influence individual thought process plays in actions and decisions taken. In this case, consciousness plays a critical role in the moral actions taken by individuals.

Utilitarianism and Kantianism

Some people may practice moral thought more often than others, and some people may give no thought to morality at all. However, morality is nevertheless a possibility of human nature, and a very important one. We each have our standards of right and wrong, and through the reasoning of individuals, these standards have helped to govern and shape human interactions to what it is today. No other beings except "rational beings," as Kant calls us, are able to support this higher capability of reason; therefore, it is important for us to consider cases in which this capability is threatened. Such a case is lying. At first, it seems that lying should not be morally permissible, but the moral theories of Kant and Mill have answered both yes and no on this issue. Furthermore, it is difficult to decide which moral theory provides a better approach to this issue. In this paper, we will first walk through the principles of each moral theory, and then we will consider an example that will explore the strengths and weaknesses of each theory (Hare 112).

Lying is simply an act of not telling the truth, and this definition of lying will be used in future sections of this paper. There are three groups of lies that I have developed from personal observation. A person can lie without saying anything at all, such as when a police officer comes to interview that person and, having witnessed a robber robbing a store, that person says nothing. This is because silence is not the truth, so by remaining quiet, that person is not telling the truth. A more recognizable form of lying is outright lying, such as when a student claims to be working hard on her philosophy paper when she has in fact been partying at Myrtle Beach for the last two days.

Deception is yet another form of lying, because by tricking another person into believing something false, one is withholding the truth from that person. By withholding the truth, the truth is not being told, so the deceiver must be a liar. Regardless of the form in which a lie is being presented, all lies have one thing in common. By giving others false thoughts or perceptions of an event, lies can have a strong influence on our free thinking. Therefore, they are all violations of human reason, something that many people strongly respect. As we will see shortly, the ability to reason is also considered valuable to both Mill and Kant, since it underlies both of their moral theories. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory, as explained by the philosopher Mill. Given several choices, a utilitarian would pick the morally correct choice by using the Greatest Happiness Principle (Merle 314).

By looking at whether the consequences of an action will produce the greater happiness for the greater number of people than another action would, one can conclude that this action is the morally correct action to take (Schultz). The entire utilitarian theory rides on the Greatest Happiness Principle, and it is this principle that we will use to determine whether utilitarians think that lying is morally permissible. It turns out that the moral permissibility of lying is variable, given different situations.

Commonly, we think of lies as bad actions, so they must produce less happiness than telling the truth if we have labeled them as bad. In a case where telling the truth yields greater happiness than telling a lie, then telling the truth must be the morally correct action and lying is not morally permissible. However, if telling a lie produces more happiness than telling the truth, then for a utilitarian, the morally correct action must be to lie. This raises an interesting problem, partly documented by Williams when he mentioned a utilitarian's wish to appeal to the psychological effect when confronted with bad feelings about doing utilitarian calculus.

For some reason, we feel uncomfortable when put before two choices, both of which feel like wrong actions. Surprisingly, a utilitarian has given us a good reason for why we feel this way. Mill says it is because we are facing our conscience, a "mass of feeling which must be broken through in order to do what violates our standard of right" (Schultz 730). Although Williams claims that a utilitarian should view his or her bad feelings as irrational in order to remain consistent with utilitarian ideals, Mill claims that these feelings form the foundation of morality (Schultz 729). Therefore, getting a bad feeling when deciding to lie is something that should not simply be dismissed as irrational, since they might be important to consider if more than one utilitarian has had these feelings. Perhaps, these feelings indicate that there is something wrong with the utilitarian theory, since if feelings form the foundation of morality and we get bad feelings after determining a morally correct action, then perhaps the action deemed "morally correct" by utilitarianism is not morally correct at all.

On the opposite pole from utilitarianism is Kantianism. Kantianism is a…

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