Views on Ethics in the “Philosophy. The Power of Ideas”

Compare and evaluate Peter Abelard notion of moral intent with that of Heloise

Heloise and Abelard are the typical representatives of the Christianizing Ethics. According to Abelards philosophy, there is a difference between moral defects and other defects, such as bad mental capabilities. He also distinguishes between moral defects and a sin. In his opinion, sin is not a mere intention of an evil act. Virtue is understood as an ability to resist evil desires. Heloise is also a follower of this theory. There are two major components of her ethics. The first is based on unselfish and disinterested love. The second one deals with the morality of an intent that is similar to the Abelard study.

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Explain and evaluate the view of Aristotle’s Virtue ethics

Aristotle states that human good is predetermined by human nature. According to Aristotle, the highest good is the attainment of happiness. Happiness means a human activity in accordance with virtue. He distinguishes between the intellectual virtue that is a human cognitive activity, and moral virtue, which is moderation of human impulses. Great attention in Aristotles study is paid to the description of specific moral virtues, which are viewed by Aristotle “to be the mean between extremes” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.265). According to Aristotle, the main moral virtues are courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom.

Explain and evaluate St. Augistine’s notion of evil

St. Augustine is one of the prominent philosophers of the Christian tradition. In his philosophy, the problem of evil is viewed from the point of view of Platonic doctrines. One solution to this problem is that evil has been created by another malice force other than God. However, this statement contradicts the mere idea of God as the only Supreme Creator. Augustine states that this solution is not admissible. Based on Platos theory that God is the source of all reality and “all that is real is good” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.270), Augustine denies the reality of evil. For instance, illness is not evil, but the absence of health; blindness is the absence of sight and so on. Such a notion as a moral evil is explained by Augustin as “a case of misdirected love” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.271).

Explain and evaluate Plato’s view on ethics, specifically the structure of the soul and of the state

According to Plato, the human soul consists of three main elements. They are raw appetites, drives, and thought. The balance of these three elements forms a virtuous person. Every element should perform its unique function under the guidance of a reason. According to Plato, an ideal state has the same structure, all the elements of which are subdued to a specific reason. The lowest appetitive element of the soul corresponds to the class of craftsmen in a state, as well as the drive element is the class of soldiers. The intellect, which is the highest class, corresponds to the aristocracy in a state. Both for an ideal state and a virtuous soul “the rational element is in control” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.310)

Explain and evaluate Jeremy Betham’s utilitarianism

Bentham states that two equal masters, such as pain and pleasure, rule humanity. These notions determine human deeds and actions. All moral standards are viewed by him “in terms of the pleasure standard or are simply disguised versions of the pleasure standard” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.285). For instance, obedience to law Bentham explains in accordance with the moral standard of pleasure. He states that to most people, obedience brings pleasure. He is also convinced that the happiness of an individual coincides with general happiness.

Explain and evaluate John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism

According to Mill, the general happiness is the aim that everyone should promote. Mill states (as cited in Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.286) that “the utilitarian is required to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator.” Mill believes that some pleasures are more preferable than others. In his definition of the aspired pleasure, Mill focuses his attention on its quality and quantity. For instance, there is hardly a person who wishes to switch places with an animal, even recognizing the fact that this animal has more pleasures than this person has. In contrast to Benthams theory, which is known as act utilitarianism, Mill is known as the representative of therule utilitarianism.

Explain and evaluate David Hume’s ethical view known as sentimentalism

Hume states that all moral principles and judgments are not a result of a reason, but of emotions. In other words, our perception of a subject or action is based on emotions caused by them. In such a way, actions, which are considered to be moral or immoral, create a sense of pleasure or dissatisfaction. According to Hume, a human being is a “morally sensitive creature” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.280).

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Explain and evaluate Kant’s ethical theory, including the notion of the categorical imperative

According to Kant, “moral rule is something that holds without exception” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.282). They are universal and applicable in any situation. Kant is known to be the first philosopher who has represented a basis for the golden rule of many religions: treat other people the way you want to be treated (Moore&Bruder, 2008). According to Kant, everyone should follow moral principles just because they are right. This prescription of morality Kant calls the categorical imperative. The violation of them is an act of immorality. At the same time

Kant asserts that goodness or badness of an action is determined not to by its consequences, but by a persons intention for its realization.

Explain and evaluate Nietzsche’s master and slave moralities

According to Nietzsche, there are only two moralities. They are the morality of masters and that of slaves. The slave morality praises such qualities as patience, humility, and compassion. According to Nietzsche, these qualities are the manifestation of human weakness. On the contrary, the master morality is characterized by egoism, intolerance, and cruelty. Nietzsche is convinced that it is the morality of strong and noble individuals.

Compare, explain and evaluate the view of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke regarding the state of nature and natural rights

According to Hobbes, to act rationally means to obey the laws of nature. He has postulated three of them. The first implies a search for peace.In case of impossibility to obtain it, this law predetermines protection oneself with all the possible ways. The second persuades to be content for the sake of peace. And the last one states “that men perform the covenants they have made”(Moore&Bruder, 2008). By the notion of a natural right, Hobbes understands the right of an individual to protect himself in case a peace cannot be obtained. According to Hobbes, peace is possible only under the circumstances of the existence of central power.

Locke states that everyone has natural rights, the existence of which is predetermined by the fact that every individual is created by God. Nevertheless, in comparison with Hobbes, he is less pessimistic in his evaluation of peoples deeds in the absence of centralized power.

Explain and evaluate Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s notion of natural man and civil man

According to Rousseau, the will of all people as a whole represents the will of every person individually. Acting in accordance with the common will, a person is free because his desires correspond to the desires of society. Forcing a person to obey the common rules means to make him free. According to Rousseau, an individual, being a part of the whole, loses its naturalness but becomes a civil man.

Compare and contrast the Locke’s labor theory of property with the Marx’s labor theory of value

Locke states that everyone has a right to property. At the same time, it does not mean equal property because the amount of personal property depends on his diligence. On the contrary, Marxs labor theory of value states that the value of goods is determined by the amount of labor required for its production (Moore&Bruder, 2008).

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Explain and evaluate Plato’s notion of the philosopher king

In his vision of the ideal state, Plato distinguishes between craftsmen and aristocracy. Such kind of a state should be ruled by a representative of the ruling elite. The aristocracy should have neither private property nor a family. They should devote themselves to different sciences and self-improvement. After many years of public service, the most dignified representative of this aristocracy deserves an honor to be the leader of such a state.

Explain and evaluate John Rawls’ notion of the veil of ignorance and the original position

The notion of the veil of ignorance proposed by Rawls is a hypothetical situation in which everybody has a neutral position in the choice of principles. In such a case, the principles of justice are adopted “behind a veil of ignorance” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.366). Such a situation Rawls calls the original position or sometimes the initial situation.

Explain and evaluate Robert Nozick’s notion of the night-watchman state within the context of his entitlement concept of social justice

Nozicks understanding of justice contradicts the idea of a distribution of funds by a government for the purpose of general happiness. He is the adherent of the principle “what is yours is yours” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.370). He states that every person has a natural right to control his acquisitions and the role of a state just to be a night- watchman. That is to protect citizensand not to interfere in the distribution of the capital.

Explain and evaluate Martha Nussbaun’s capabilities approach to social justice

In the capabilities approach proposed by Nussbaum, she pays much attention to human dignity and human rights. In comparison with other contract theories, this approach focusses on the desired outcomes rather than on a specific just procedure (Moore&Bruder, 2008).

Reference List

Moore, B., &Bruder, K. (2008). Philosophy. The Power of Ideas. New York, USA: McGrow-Hill. Web.

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