Compare and evaluate Peter Abelard notion of moral intent with that of Heloise
Abelard and Heloise have the same notion of moral intent because both of them regard morality as the product of the mind but not the product of an action. Abelard argues that immorality is an intention to do what is immoral or not to do what is moral. Comparatively, Heloise supports the notion of moral intent, which states that “in a wicked deed, rectitude of action depends not on the effect of the thing, but on the affections of the agent, not on what is done, but with what dispositions it is done” (Moore & Bruder, 2010, p. 274). In this view, the intention of the mind determines morality because it influences moral actions.
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Explain and evaluate the view of Aristotle’s Virtue ethics
Aristotle views morality from the point of human character and behavior, which form the basis of virtue ethics. In virtue ethics, Aristotle holds that the character and behavior dispose of humans to perform virtuous actions that bring about excellence and happiness. Aristotle argues that for humans to attain a virtuous state, they must have the capacity to moderate their desires, impulses, and appetites (Moore & Bruder, 2010). Hence, human character and behavior lay a central role in determining virtue ethics.
Explain and evaluate St. Augistine’s notion of evil
St. Augustine argues that evil emanates from humans when they fail to comply with the commands and intentions of their Creator. He acknowledges that God is the only Creator of the universe and the good works that humans perform. Moore and Bruder (2010) argue that the absence of God allows evil to thrive. In essence, St. Augustine believes that evil occurs due to the absence of God, who is the source of righteousness and good among people.
Explain and evaluate Plato’s view on ethics, specifically the structure of the soul and of the state
According to Plato, the human soul is a structure that consists of drives, appetites, and intellect, which perform their own functions according to the dictates of reason. Moore and Bruder (2010) state that the soul is like a well-ordered state, where drives represent soldiers, appetites represent artisans, and intellect represents governing elites. Since the well-ordered soul functions optimally, Plato asserts that an ideal state also must have the same structure of the soul as philosopher-kings, who provide rational control of various structures of the state.
Explain and evaluate Jeremy Betham’s utilitarianism
In the ethical theory of utilitarianism, Bentham believes that humans perform certain actions based on the pain or pleasure they derive. Since he believes that the morality of an action depends on the degree of pain or pleasure, Bentham offers a quantitative view of assessing the morality of actions. Humans ought to perform those actions that generate pleasure because they are moral but ought to leave those actions that generate pain because they are immoral.
Explain and evaluate John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism
Stuart Mill offers a different perspective of Bentham’s utilitarian theory by asserting that not only the quantity of pleasure or happiness determines the morality of actions, but also the quality. According to Moore and Bruder (2010), humans should choose actions that offer the best quality of pleasure or happiness. This means that if one has an option of choosing between two forms of pleasures, which offer the same quantity of pleasure, one must choose the one with a better quality of pleasure.
Explain and evaluate David Hume’s ethical view known as sentimentalism
David Hume holds that human ideas originate from perceptions, feelings, and impressions. Consequently, the ideas comprise beliefs, knowledge, judgment, and conceptions, which form the basis of sentimentalism. Essentially, David Hume asserts that “our ideas cannot go beyond our sense impressions” (Moore & Bruder, 2010, p. 133). This implies that sense impressions determine the perceptions of morality.
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Explain and evaluate Kant’s ethical theory, including the notion of the categorical imperative
Immanuel Kant advances a deontological theory of ethics, which perceives the morality of an action based on the inherent nature of an action, but not based on the consequences of an action. In this view, Kant formulated a concept called categorical imperative, which insinuates that people should act on maxims that have universal recognition as ethical. Specifically, Kant states that “Act only on that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Moore & Bruder, 2010, p. 283). Thus, Kant supports the use of categorical imperatives as the basis of morality.
Explain and evaluate Nietzsche’s master and slave moralities
Friedrich Nietzsche classifies morality into slave morality and master morality. According to Nietzsche, virtues that Christians support, such as patience, humility, compassion, and forbearance, comprise slave morality because they venerate human weakness (Moore & Bruder, 2010). Comparatively, the master morality has virtues that venerate the strength of noble people, such as powerfulness, toughness, and intolerance.
Compare, explain and evaluate the view of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke regarding the state of nature and natural rights
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke assert that humans in a state of nature and constituted state enjoy different rights. As humans have individual rights, Hobbes argues that to enhance peace and security, people must surrender their individual rights to a sovereign power to exercise the rights (Moore & Bruder, 2010). In contrast, Locke holds that humans have inalienable rights, which they cannot transfer to a sovereign power because they will be prone to misuse.
Explain and evaluate Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s notion of natural man and civil man
Jean-Jacques Rousseau argues that the state of a natural man is better than the state of a civilized man because of natural liberty. Moore and Bruder (2010) state that in the natural state, people are happy, healthy, good, and innocent. In essence, the natural man lives in a good environment and enjoys perfect freedom without wretchedness and slavery, unlike the civilized man.
Compare and contrast the Locke’s labor theory of property with the Marx’s labor theory of value
According to Locke, the labor theory of property states that humans have equal rights to own property, but how much property one owns is dependent on labor that one applies in acquiring them. Moore and Bruder (2010) argue that the theory of Locke is important because it justifies the unequal distribution of wealth and prevents people from acquiring wealth easily. Likewise, in the labor theory of value, Marx states that production labor determines the value of products. Hence, both Locke and Marx consent that labor is the parameter that measures the value of the property.
Explain and evaluate Plato’s notion of the philosopher king
Plato uses the notion of philosopher-king to represent a king who leads an aristocratic form of government. A philosopher-king is a rational king who employs rational ideas in governing the people. Thus, Plato likens the structure of the soul to the structure of an aristocratic government, which has a philosopher-king.
Explain and evaluate John Rawls’ notion of the veil of ignorance and the original position
Rawls holds that biases influence deliberation and execution of justice among people because of their wealth, social status, intelligence, beliefs, power, and abilities. To avoid the influence of biases in the deliberation and execution of justice, Rawls recommends judges to wear a veil of ignorance and take the original position. Therefore, the veil of ignorance and original position prevents judges from succumbing to the biases in their deliberation and execution of justice.
Explain and evaluate Robert Nozick’s notion of the night-watchman state within the context of his entitlement concept of social justice
Robert Nozick’s notion of social justice is that humans receive social justice if the distribution of property happens according to their industriousness. The notion of the night-watchman state (the minimal state) implies that it is lawful to distribute property to the poor for the sake of their happiness. However, beyond the night-watchman state, the redistribution of property is unjust because people have the right to acquire and amass wealth, which is the entitlement concept of social justice.
Explain and evaluate Martha Nussbaun’s capabilities approach to social justice
Martha Nussbaum argues that the notion of the capabilities approach to social justice requires governments and nations to improve human dignity by providing basic rights to their citizens. The capabilities approach identifies basic rights such as health, security, and liberty, among other social rights (Moore & Bruder, 2010). The capabilities approach treats all people as independent, equal, and free agents, which deserve dignity.
Moore, B., & Bruder, K. (2010). Philosophy: The Power of Ideas (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.