philosophy paper

timer Asked: Jun 22nd, 2018
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Question description

Write a 700- to 1000-word paper answering the following question:

Compare and contrast two moral theories (e.g. virtue ethics & feminists ethics). How do they inform your own understanding of morality? How do they inform the morality of your community?

Format your paper according to MLA standards

need by 11:00 PM WHICH IS 6 HOURS AND 30 MINUTES


plus reference page

7.1: What is Ethics? Learning objective: · To understand what it means to say that ethics is the study of morality. Moral issues are an inescapable part of who we are. We all face moral questions, and must make public decisions, as a society, that have ethical dimensions. How can we be guided here? We could just be told what to do, or we could work to decide for ourselves what our values should be. To decide the latter is to decide to philosophize. Ethics is the study of morality. Morality consists of the standards that an individual or a group has about what is right and what is wrong. Usually, moral standards apply to issues that we believe are important. Ethics begins when we reflect on our moral standards to see if they are reasonable. 7.2: Is Ethics Relative? Learning objective: · To understand and critically evaluate the theory of ethical relativism. Many people have been impressed by how different societies have different moralities. Does this mean that ethics is relative? To understand this question we must first understand ethical absolutism. This is the view that there is only one correct morality. Ethical relativism denies this, insisting that morality is relative to one’s society. Ethical relativism is not cultural relativism, the view that different societies believe in different moralities: this is simply a sociological fact. Many people have held that an act is right iff their society believes it to be right. But it’s not clear that this view can be defended. Is there any univocal view on abortion in US society, for example? Moreover, simply because everyone else believes that something is right it does not follow that I should believe that it is right. Furthermore, if this view is correct we could not criticize socially-held views as immoral. It is also does not follow from the fact that there is disagreement over morality that morality is therefore relative. And it seems unlikely that there are no moral standards that apply everywhere, since some seem needed for a society to survive. Even though we should not endorse relativism, we can still endorse the tolerant attitude that it seems to encourage us to take. 7.3: Do Consequences Make an Action Right? Learning objective: · Explain, evaluate, and apply the theories of ethical egoism, act utilitarianism, and rule utilitarianism. A consequentialist theory measures the morality of an action by its nonmoral consequences; it considers the ratio of good to evil that it produces. Egoism Some ethicists believe that in considering actions we should consider only the consequences to ourselves; these are egoists. Ethical egoism holds that we act morally when we act in a way that best promotes our interests. But what is in one’s interest? If one thinks that this just means pleasure, then one will Modern philosophers distinguish between three kinds of love; philia (brotherly love), eros (erotic love) and agape (freely given love). be a hedonist—but not necessarily an egoist. Hedonism is the view that only pleasure is worth having for its own sake. But not all egoists hold this, for they identify the good not with pleasure but with knowledge, power, or rational self-interest—or even self-realization. Problems of Ethical Egoism Ethical egoism has many problems. First, it seems unable to resolve interpersonal conflicts of interest, which it seems moral theories should do. It also undermines the moral point of view, the impartial attitude of one who seeks to see all sides of an issue. However, it is not clear that the moral point of view is a realistic goal to aim at, since no one can be completely rational or disinterested. Utilitarianism Utilitarianism holds that the standard of morality is the promotion of everyone’s best interests. As formulated by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill this view holds that only pleasure or happiness has intrinsic value. More modern utilitarians hold that other things besides happiness have value, such as power or beauty. Here, in this text, we consider only traditional utilitarianism, and so use “good” to mean pleasure. Bentham held that happiness could be calculated using a hedonistic calculus, which determined how much pleasure an act produced according to criteria such as the intensity of the pleasure, how long it lasts, how certain it is to occur, and how likely it is to produce additional pleasure. Bentham seemed to endorse act utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism Act utilitarianism contends that we should act to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. This view could endorse actions such as sentencing an innocent man to death if this would produce the most amount of pleasure. Rule Utilitarianism Many ethicists note that this above problem is generated by focusing on acts rather than general rules. So, instead of focusing on acts we should try to find those rules that will have the best consequences if they are followed. But it is not clear that we can work out which rules will have the best consequences. Moreover, it seems that rules will have exceptions if they are to produce the best consequences—but then these exceptions will lead us back to the same problem as is faced by act utilitarianism. Some Implications of Utilitarianism One implication of utilitarianism is that virtually any action—including any sexual action, such as adultery—can be morally permissible provided that it will result in the greatest amount of pleasure. But we might think that this approach—which will condone adultery—is too permissive. Moreover, perhaps even utilitarians would reject this view, since they focus on the long-term social consequences of acts, and acts such as adultery might have adverse consequences in the long run. 7.4: Do Rules Define Morality? Learning objective: · Explain, evaluate, and apply divine command theories, natural law theory, Kantian ethics, and Buddhist ethics. A nonconsequentialist theory maintains that the morality of an action depends on factors other than the consequences. Divine Command Theory The divine command theory is a nonconsequentialist theory that says we should always do the will of God. Scriptural Divine Command Theory A divine command theory says that we should obey the will of God because it is the will of God. God’s laws are universally binding. But there are weaknesses in this approach. First, different scriptures exist; how do we know which to follow? Moreover, how can be sure that God exists? And why does God command one thing rather than another? If He commands something because it is right, then the theory is circular as it holds that an act is right because God commands it. Moreover, if something is right because God commands it then anything that God commands is right—including, for example, cruelty. Natural Law Ethics Natural Law ethics holds that people should live according to nature. The Stoics held a view of this sort. This is related to divine command theory through the idea that God made human nature. So, if one lives in accord with human nature one will be doing the will of God. The classical proponent of this idea is Thomas Aquinas, who held that God imposed on humans certain natural laws through the natural inclinations that humans have, the most important of which is the inclination to reason. For example, for Aquinas suicide is immoral as persons have a natural inclination to preserve their lives. If there are conflicts between one’s inclinations the, held Aquinas, what matters is one’s intended action. Natural law avoids many of the problems associated with divine command ethics. But it still has problems—why, for example, are we morally required to pursue our natural inclinations? Moreover, although Aquinas uses the principle of double effect in cases where there are conflicts between fundamental goods can we really limit our intentions to the pursuit of the good alone? Implications of Divine Command Ethics Natural law ethics has implications for sexual activity. A sexual activity is unnatural and immoral if it cannot result in pregnancy. Hence, contraception and homosexuality are immoral on this view. But can’t sex serve purposes other than procreation? However, there are other natural law approaches to sex, which hold that a sex act is wrong only if it destroys a concrete human good—so rape is wrong, but not homosexuality. Kant’s Categorical Imperative Kant held that a person should choose for himself the moral rules that he should follow. This was, for Kant, a person’s “autonomy of the will”, which he contrasted with heteronomy—having something else direct one’s actions. The Good Will For Kant, the good will is our ability to choose what we will do. A morally good will is exercised when a person does something because he believes that it is the morally right thing to do. This means that a person performs an action because he believes that it is the action that everyone should perform. For Kant, we can see if an act meets this condition by seeing if it is possible to will to live in a world in which everyone acts as I am proposing to do. If I am not willing to live in such a world, then the maxim of the act that I am considering is not one that I should act on. The Categorical Imperative Kant thus believes that there is one fundamental moral principle, which he calls the categorical imperative. This states that we should only perform an action if we are willing to have the maxim governing our action become universal law. Note that this approach to ethics is not based on consequences, but on the logical relationship between the particular form of the maxim in question and its universalized counterpart. A Second Version of the Categorical Imperative Although there is only one categorical imperative, Kant believed that we could state it in various ways. Kant believed that we should act always to treat rational humanity as an end in itself and never as a mere means. So, we should not use people as objects, but allow them to decide for themselves if they wish to engage with our projects. Conflicts Kant does not give us any obvious way to resolve conflicts of duty. Some Implications of Kantian Ethics Kant’s ethics imply that it is wrong to “use” people, and this has clear implications for sexual morality. However, for some this means that Kant is too permissive, for it seems that he would not object to adultery if everyone consented to it. Buddhist Ethics Buddhist ethics is not a divine command ethics as Buddhists do not believe in a god that issues commands. The Buddhist emphasis on ethical behavior can be generalized in two ways. First, voluntary actions are important because they determine our destiny according to karma. Second, ethics is considered the parent of wisdom in that reflection on an action’s wholesomeness or otherwise leads to mental discipline. Basic to Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths, discussed in Chapter 4. The Buddhist standards of morality must be conducive to the attainment of nirvana and the realization of the Four Noble Truths. The ethical ideal is that of a self-reliant person who has attained personal enlightenment. The Buddhist code of morality can be summed up as “Cease to do evil”, with this being the foundation for the five main precepts that Buddhists should follow. Unlike Western rules, however, these should be viewed more as invitations to action, rather than as proscriptions. Second, the Buddhist emphasis is on the individual; evil is avoided to secure personal enlightenment. Third, Buddhist morality is based in metaphysics; conducting our lives morally is an expeditious way to experience reality. Fourth, Buddhism encourages us to dig into our own experiences. The Buddhist also holds that a life of pleasure will lead to boredom and interfere with the healthy functioning of the individual. 7.5: Is Ethics Based on Character? Learning objectives: · Explain, evaluate, and use virtue ethics · Explain and evaluate the role that the virtue of caring has in a feminist ethic The ethical theories discussed so far focus on principles or rules. But this seems to overlook an important aspect of ethics: virtue, or character. The moral life is not just about acting on rules, but becoming a good person. This is the approach adopted by virtue ethicists. Aristotle’s Theory of Virtue In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle claimed that human beings can be happy only if they fulfill their basic human purpose, or function—to act with reason. For Aristotle, we should use reason to control our appetites, to make sure that they neither go to excess nor fall short. For Aristotle, then, a virtue is the ability to be reasonable in our actions, desires, and emotions, and to act with moderation. We acquire virtue by habituation, until it becomes easy and pleasant for us. Thus, when we judge behavior we should look at the type of character that it tends to produce. Judged in this way, we can condemn morally adultery, since it tends to be done by persons who are disloyal, intemperate, and selfish. Love and Friendship Aristotle held that the ability to love and befriend others was an important aspect of living morally. True friendship, for Aristotle, was based on persons’ mutual recognition of the goodness of each other. For Aristotle, love is central to friendship, but he writes little of it. Modern philosophers distinguish between three kinds of love; philia (brotherly love), eros (erotic love) and agape (freely given love). But what is love itself? On one view it is a relationship in which one person sees good in another and responds by doing good to that person, trying to be with that person, and so on. But critics of this relationship view of love hold that it leaves out the fact that love is an emotion. Others hold that this emotion view of love leaves out the feature that to love is to form a bond with another person. A fourth theory of love holds that love is a response to the goodness of the loved one. Perhaps, though, each of these theories sheds light on a different aspect of love. Male and Female Ethics? Recently several female philosophers have claimed that men and women have different moralities, holding that men focus on ethics of principles, while females focus on the issues that virtue ethics emphasize. Carol Gilligan The psychologist Carol Gilligan was one of the first women to suggest that men and women approach ethics differently, arguing against the view of Lawrence Kohlberg, who held that women, on average, are less morally developed than men are. Kohlberg argued that persons’ moral views develop in stages, with the most advanced stage being the postconventional level of moral thinking. Kohlberg reported that more men than women made it to the postconventional level of development. Gilligan responded by arguing that Kohlberg had developed his stages of moral development by studying mostly men, and so he only described, she claimed, how men’s morality develops. Gilligan argued that women see themselves as persons in relationships, and when they encounter moral issues they are concerned with maintaining these relationships and avoiding harming people. So, they end up in Kohlberg’s conventional level of morality as that is the only one that takes relationships into account. Gilligan argued that the moral development of women is marked by progress toward a more adequate way of caring for herself and others. As such, there is a way of looking at morality that is more characteristic of women. But this does not mean that this approach to ethics is inferior to that of men. Rather, we need the virtues of caring and responsibility to ensure that society does not become a collection of isolated individuals. Nel Noddings Noddings has gone further than Gilligan, arguing that the focus on caring is superior to the focus on principles, arguing that ethics is about individual relationships, not about abstract issues of justice and rights. Criticisms Is it good that women focus on caring while men focus on impersonal rules and principles? It might be that Gilligan and Noddings are encouraging a traditional view of women, while they discourage men from becoming involved in caring activities that could enrich their lives and those of others. Moreover, it might be that an ethic of care is too narrow to include all of our moral concerns, such as how our actions affect persons distant from us. Conclusions The virtue ethics approach emphasizes character traits, and reminds us of the importance of community. It also reminds us of the importance of ideals of character, and encourages us to look closely at our moral lives. But it is not without difficulties. It does not seem to answer the sort of moral questions that most people ask. 7.6: Can Ethics Resolve Moral Quandaries? Learning objective: · To apply ethical theories to moral issues such as abortion and euthanasia. How should we use these theories in our own lives? Abortion Abortion is the deliberate ending of a pregnancy before a live birth. Although abortion is legal in the United States, the moral question still remains. Many moral arguments in support of the moral rightness of abortion start with the view that the fetus is not a person. But critics respond that many other humans, such as the mentally impaired, lack the traits associated with personhood too—yet they clearly have a right to life. A Kantian Approach If we adopt a Kantian approach we might conclude that abortion is generally immoral, since we should do to others what we are glad was done to us, such as not aborting us. A Utilitarian Approach Utilitarians hold that that action that has the best consequences is the moral one. Hence, sometimes since abortion has the best consequences it is morally justified. Virtue Theory’s Approach From the perspective of virtue theory, abortion does not seem to be a morally upright decision since it produces a moral character that is careless, irresponsible, and dishonest. Comparing Approaches These different theories have different outcomes. They thus cannot decide the issue for you; it is up to you to decide which carries the most weight. Euthanasia This term refers to day to any action that knowingly results in the death of a person suffering from a painful and incurable disease, as long as the action is carried out to be merciful. Is such an act morally acceptable? Natural Law: Pro and Con A natural law approach could hold that life is a fundamental human good whose inviolable value we can recover by reflecting on our natural inclinations. Since euthanasia destroys this human good, it is immoral. But the natural law approach does not show why we have a moral obligation to follow our natural inclinations. Utilitarianism Utilitarianism could favor active euthanasia if such would relieve suffering. But doesn’t this approach ignore the broader implications of euthanasia, such as its effects on surviving friends and family members and on physicians’ commitment to saving life? A Kantian Approach A Kantian might endorse euthanasia in certain situations, if we would be willing to implement a pro-euthanasia rule universally, for example, under certain conditions. Comparing Views The moral theories we have discussed do not agree on euthanasia. But this does not mean that they are useless. Rather, it shows that they call our attention to different aspects of the issue that we should consider when we come to address these issues ourselves. 7.7: Ethics and Moral Responsibility Learning objectives · Determine when a person is morally responsible for her actions · Understand what determinism, libertarianism, and compatibilism imply about moral responsibility We might judge that a certain action is wrong. But it is another question to ask whether a person was responsible for that act. Excusability and Moral Responsibility Under certain conditions we excuse people who have done morally wrong acts. This might occur if they acted in excusable ignorance, if they acted under constraint, if there were circumstances beyond their control that led them to act as they did, or if they had no opportunity to do the right thing in the circumstances. Ignorance We excuse people when we don’t believe they were aware of the consequences of their actions or if they could not have known how to prevent those consequences. However, we do not excuse if the ignorance was deliberate. Constraints We excuse people if we believe that they could not help do what they did; if theyw ere subject to either external or internal constraints. Uncontrollable Circumstances When we believe that the circumstances that lead up to an act are beyond a person’s control we generally excuse the behavior. Lack of Ability or Opportunity We ordinarily excuse actions when we think that people lack the opportunity to do the right act. Causality and Moral Responsibility Many people believe that all human actions are causally determined, and so only one course of action can occur; that which actually did. Is moral responsibility possible in a determined universe? There are three main positions here. According to determinists, free choice is illusory, and so there is no moral responsibility. Libertarianism holds that humans are exceptions to the rigid laws of nature, and hence are responsible agents. Compatibilists hold that humans are determined, but that they are free insofar as there are no physical restraints that prevent them from acting.
8.1: What is Social and Political Philosophy? Learning objective: · To understand the kind of questions social and political philosophy tries to answer What are the legitimate functions of government? What is the source of the authority that the government wields over us? Is it just that the government should play this role in our lives? What is the proper relationship between the individual and society? When we use the term the “state” in political and social philosophy we are referring to a politically organized body of people who occupy a definite territory and whose political organization has sovereign authority within that territory. In social and political philosophy we focus on three related issues. We consider how the authority of the state is justified. We consider the question of justice. And we consider the nature of law, freedom, human rights, and just war theory. Social philosophy is the study of society; political philosophy is a subdivision of this that looks at the role of the state or government in society. 8.2: What Justifies the State? Learning objectives: · To explain how the theories of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Rawls justify the authority of the state · Critically examine these theories The state has a legal power to define the public interest and enforce its definition. One way it does this is through taxation, including taxing people for things from which they will never benefit and with which they might disagree. What justifies this and other powers that the state has? One view is that the state’s authority is justified as persons give up certain rights and liberties to the state which in turn guarantees them certain liberties. The modern versions of this viewpoint are captured in social contract theory. Hobbes and the War of All against All Thomas Hobbes was the founder of modern political philosophy, basing his views on scientific materialism. In Leviathan Hobbes portrays humans as selfish, unsocial creatures who have two needs: survival and personal gain. For Hobbes, the authority of the state is justified because the citizens have agreed to accept its authority. Locke and Natural Moral Law Locke thought that humans were essentially moral beings who ought to obey natural moral laws. Humans establish governments because three things are missing in the state of nature: a firm interpretation of the natural moral laws, unbiased judges, and a power capable of enforcing justice. Locke believed that governments should leave people free to live and pursue whatever forms of life they wished. Locke had an influence on the Declaration of Independence. Rousseau and the General Will Contract theory led to the views of Jean Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau argued that if people are to act morally they must live under laws that they freely accept. His emphasis was on personal moral autonomy. The question for Rousseau was how persons came to be bound by the chains of state authority. Rousseau argued that a person is free and autonomous only if he obeys those laws that he himself chooses. So, state authority must be something that is freely chosen. The individual does this when he joins with others and agrees to be under the direction of the general will. Thus, in obeying the state the individual obeys himself and hence acts freely. The general will is not the same as the will of all, where persons have a unanimous feeling, but when each member of a group aims at the common good. So, since all aim at the common good there is consensus, even when there is disagreement on particular issues. Contemporary Social Contract: Rawls Hume pointed out that there never was a social contract; that this is a fiction. Rawls agrees with Hume. But he said that this did not matter. Social contract theory enables us to figure out what kind of government we should have by imagining that we are starting from scratch. Rawls says that we should set aside what leads us to favor ourselves over others, such as our personal attributes. This government would have authority because it is one that we would consent to. The Communitarian Critique Communitarianism is the view that the actual community in which we live should be at the center of our analysis of society. It emphasizes the social nature of human beings. The problem with social contract theory, communitarians argue, is that it focuses on persons as individuals and ignores their social nature. It also assumes that government is artificial, when it is more like a natural outgrowth of our tendency to associate. This view was echoed by Hegel, who held that humans can only develop their freedom within the state, as this in the arena in which they can develop their abilities. Aristotle was another communitarian who believed that the state was natural. Unlike social contract theories, they do not believe that people are fully formed prior to a state, and they also believe that cultural practices within a community are the sources of individuals’ identities. As such, then, they believe that the state should nourish cultural traditions and not be neutral. But is it true that the state is natural? And should all cultural traditions be supported? Social Contract and Women At the heart of social contract theory is the idea that authority over adults depends on their consent. The Traditional View But this raises the question of why men should have authority over women who have not consented to this. Moreover, it is problematic that many social contract theorists hold that only men contract into the state. Public and Private Spheres This failure is perhaps related to the view that private matters, such as family matters, have nothing to do with public matters, such as matters of politics. But many have recently pointed out that this distinction is the source of many of the political and economic inequalities that women are subject to, as women have traditionally take on much of the domestic work and hence according to this distinction are excluded from economic and political power. 8.3: What is Justice? Learning objectives: · To explain what a just society is if justice is based on merit, equality, social utility, need and ability, or liberty · To critically valuate each of these views of justice. What is justice? Justice deals with both distribution and retribution. How should wealth, goods, privilege, and power be distributed? One way of approaching questions of distributive justice is to start with what is called “formal justice,” the requirement that we treat similar people similarly. But when should we consider people to be similar? We should consider people to be similar on the basis of their features that are relevant to the treatment that is in question. There are also substantive principles of justice that pick out relevant differences among people, such as who arrived first in line. Justice as Merit In Plato’s view justice was associated with merit in the sense that individuals are treated according to their talents and accomplishments. Aristotle shared this view, and defended slavery because he thought that natural slaves merited their treatment. Justice as Equality What does a commitment to equality mean? Strict equality means equal shares; a view known as strict egalitarianism. But this has problems. In the classroom it would lead to the teacher teaching to the nonexistent average student, pitching the class too low for the brightest and too high for the less bright. The problem is that people are not equal, and so we might need to take their differences into account when engaged in distribution. Perhaps a solution is to distinguish between political equality, when people have an equal right to participate in a political process, and economic equality, which could mean either equality of income or wealth or equality of opportunity. But could there be differences among people that show that they should not have political equality—such as their felony convictions? Justice as Social Utility One view of justice is that justice is what promotes social welfare, a viewed endorsed by John Stuart Mill. Since this view is an extension of Mill’s utilitarianism it invites the same objections, such as that it could lead to endorsing slavery. Moreover, individual and public interests could clash, with the majority benefitting at the expense of the minority. Justice Based on Need and Ability Socialism is one of the major political philosophies of the modern world. This view can be summarized as the view that burdens should be distributed to people’s abilities, and benefits should be distributed according to needs—a view made famous by Karl Marx. This, Marx argues, was because people will realize their potential through work that exercises their abilities, and that the benefits that such work produces should be used to increase human well-being. But on this view there would be no relationship between how hard a person works and the degree of compensation that he receives. There would thus be little incentive to work hard. Moreover, people would not be able to choose to goods that they wanted but would have to accept those that met their needs. Justice Based on Liberty Liberalism is another major modern political philosophy. There are two conflicting camps here. Justice in Welfare Liberalism Rawls holds that people would choose three principles from behind the veil of ignorance: the principle of equal liberty, that each should have the most extensive liberty compatible with a like liberty for all, and the principle of equal opportunity, that desirable positions should be open to all who are qualified, and the difference principle, the view that inequalities are justified if they work to the advantage of the least well off. Justice in Classical Liberalism Nozick argued that Rawls offered a patterned theory of economic justice that holds that goods should be distributed according to a certain formula. Nozick holds that such a theory will also require the use of force or coercion, and so justice is instead respecting people’s free choices. As such, on a classical liberal view benefits and burdens are distributed justly when society allows every individual the freedom to do what he chooses, the freedom to keep what he makes for himself or what others choose to give him, and the freedom to keep what he makes or give it to those whom he chooses. Nozick holds that using the better off to aid the worst off is unjust as it uses people as means. He also claims that Rawls’ focus on the least advantaged is not impartial. Finally, he objects to Rawls’ view that people are not entitled to what they own. But maybe Nozick overlooks the fact that Rawls is working to address inequalities. 8.4: Limits on the State Learning objective: · Critically understand how the authority of the state is limited by the theory of civil disobedience, the right to freedom, human rights, and just war theory What limits are there on the authority of the state? Do citizens have the duty to obey unjust laws, for example, or not? Law and Morality By law we mean a body of rules that is imposed by a political authority. The Western legal system has a hierarchy of laws, with town laws being under state laws. Both the Jewish and Christian traditions hold that state law is under God’s law, a view presented by Saint Augustine, echoing the Stoic view that law should reflect moral imperatives. It is possible to distinguish several kinds of law: eternal law, which are God’s decrees for the universe, natural law, which are rules of conduct, and human law. This view holds that human law is not a law unless it is moral. Against this, the positivists argue that a law is a real law if it has the correct pedigree, whether or not it is just or unjust. Drawing on the natural law tradition many people have justified civil disobedience on the grounds that people have the right to disobey unjust laws. But who is to decide when a law is unjust? And how is such disobedience to be effected? Some hold that it should be done nonviolently, while others hold that this would be ineffective. Freedom Mill offered a defense of freedom in his On Liberty. Mill believed that governments and society should leave people free to live as they like provided that they are not harming anyone. This concern grew out of Mill’s worry about the tyranny of the majority, the view that the majority would persecute and suppress ways of living that it disliked. Against this tyranny Mill proposed the Harm principle, which held that the only reason or which a person’s liberty of action should be interfered with was to prevent harm to others, provided that the person in question was a mature adult. Mill supported this view by holding that it would lead to the greatest happiness. But it’s not clear what counts as “harm”. Does offense count, or not? Moreover, what if a person uses drugs, but doesn’t harm anyone else? Can we act to prevent this, or not? Maybe we have a greater responsibility towards each other than Mill recognized. Human Rights Many people believe that the law should show respect for basic human rights, which can be understood as justified entitlements against others, and which are correlated with duties. There are two main types of rights—legal rights, and moral rights, or human rights. Legal rights depend on the law, whereas moral rights are justified by moral principles, and are much more significant that their legal counterparts. Some philosophers divide moral rights into positive and negative rights. Negative rights are rights that protect freedoms of various kinds, while positive rights are rights that guarantee certain goods. One of the most influential defenders of human rights has been Immanuel Kant. Kant held that every person is an end in himself, and has an intrinsic value. Because of this all persons have positive as well as negative rights. However, some philosophers interpret the idea of human dignity differently, holding that persons only have negative rights as a result of its possession— although most philosophers agree with Kant on this issue. War and Terrorism Are there limits to what the state can do to other states or their citizens? Political Realism Political realism, or realpolitik, is the view that there are no limits on what one nation can do to another in pursuit of its own interests. This view was offered by Thomas Hobbes, who held that this was so because there was no international government to make nations behave justly. If this view is accepted, then there is no room for morality in international relations. But there are objections to this view. First, all human acts can be judged by the standards of morality. Second, there are international bodies to make nations behave justly, such as the United Nations. Pacifism There are two forms of pacifism: absolute pacifism, which holds that war is always wrong, and conditional pacifism, which holds that it is generally wrong. Some support absolute pacifism on religious grounds, others on utilitarian grounds or deontological arguments. Against this some argue that there are some things that are so valuable that we are justified in using war to protect them. Others have noted that absolute pacifism implies that it would be wrong to use violence in self-defense, or to defend another innocent victim. Some pacifists reject absolute pacifism and turn to its conditional counterpart, which holds that in rare situations war is justified. Just War Theory Just war theory rejects both the realist claim and the claim of the absolute pacifist. Just war theorists hold that war is justified if it is declared by a legitimate authority, made for a just cause, and done with right intentions. In addition to these core claims, it is also held that a just war will be engaged in as a last resort, if there is real and certain danger, and if there is a reasonable possibility of success, and if the end for which it is fought is proportional to the injuries that it will lead to. These seven conditions are the conditions for justice when approaching war there are supplemented by two further conditions for how persons should conduct themselves while in war; that the means used should be proportionate to the end to be achieved, and that noncombatants are immune from harm. The theory of just war is not peculiar to the West; Sikism, for example, produced a view known as “Dharam Yudh” or “war in defense of righteousness”. Just war theory has been subject to criticism. Pacifists argue that it is often used as an excuse to go to war, while others argue that its criteria for a just war are too vague. It is also argued that modern weaponry has made the theory obsolete since it is now impossible to distinguish between combatants and noncombatants. However, it still remains the most accepted view for entering and waging war, and many of its provisions have been included into international laws that define and punish war crimes. Terrorism Terrorism can be defined as the tactic of intentionally targeting noncombatants with violence for political purposes. The political realist would hold that a state should do everything that it could to protect its citizens from terrorists, using any means necessary. The pacifist, however, would condemn the use of violence to respond to terrorism. Just war theory also condemns terrorism as it is not typically state supported, and is sometimes undertaken for an unjust cause. Most importantly, the terrorist singles out noncombatants. But even though the just war theorist would condemn terrorism she would not approve of all forms of violence to eliminate terrorists threats, since she would hold that the response to terrorism should satisfy all nine of the criteria for a just war. Just war theory, for example, condemns torture. Terrorism, however, has been defended on the grounds that when the government of one country oppresses the citizens of another the citizens of the first country are not innocent, and hence killing them is legitimate.

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A Comparison of Feminist Ethics and Virtue Ethics
Feminist Ethics and Virtue Ethics are two moral theories that share certain similarities;
however, the two have significant differences. Feminist ethics is an effort to amend, rethink as
well as formulate traditional ethics to the point it devalues the good experiences of women while
virtue ethics is a broad term for theories emphasizing the function of virtue and character in
moral philosophy rather than performing a person’s duty in trying to bring out best outcomes.
In feminist ethics, feminist philosopher, Alison Jaggar finds faults in the traditional ethics
for devaluing women in five ways that are related. One, traditional ethics shows little concern for
women as opposed to the issues and interests of men. For example, women have more pressure
than fellow men on attending to unique needs of their children and doing housework (Hursthouse
et al., ch 7). Two, the traditional ethics see as trivial the moral values that are in the private
world, a place where women perform household duties and look a...

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