Aristotles theory of actions being moral if they are the median of extremes seems to work out well, and makes sense, however fact that moral actions are actions that are done by moral people seems smug to me. Moral people can surely make immoral decisions, either by bad judgement or by restrictions on information. There is not a man on earth that is perfect and hadn’t made a mistake, who’s every decision can be called moral. With Aristotles theory even the generally moral mans mistakes would be considered moral. This is the weakest point with aristotles theory.
As far as the class goes, I really liked the set up of the beginning of the class where our blogs led up to our paper. I also thought that the group work and presentation was beneficial. It seemed like we didn’t give as much focus to any other philosopher throughout the course, maybe another group exercise on aristotle or Hobbes would’ve helped.
Aristotle does not see an action itself as moral or immoral, he judges the person who commits the action. He would call the action of murder immoral because a person of good moral character would not commit murder. This also accounts for where murder may be accidental. If it was truly an accident aristotle would not see it as immoral because the person who commited it did not intentionally do it, and his moral character would not necessarily be bad.
Everyone in a given society needs to be in the social contract. The social contract is there for the best interest of the people in it, and should be conserned with the interests of the largest amount of people possible. If there are certain people who don’t want to be part of the social contract then they should not recieve any benefits of it, thus leaving the society. If they are unable to do so they still have to be required to obey the social contract because they are surrounded by others who are in it. The social contract wouldn’t work if there were people around who did not agree to give up the same rights and could not be punished for disobeying the agreement that everyone else agreed to. We all give up the right to punch eachother in the face with the belief that we will not be punched in the face, and if we are the person who punched us in the face will be punished. We would never give up the right to punch people in the face with the knowledge that there are people walking around who can punch us in the face because they are immune to punishment.
Governments have been held to moral standards and the most extreme example of this is the holocaust and all the nazi soldiers that participated in it. The nazi regime under Hitler was defeated and a new government was established because the old one was immoral. Does this mean that the “government” was immoral or was it just the men that were a part of it? I think that sometimes the thoughts can be interchangeable. The pure idea of communism was actually a pretty good proposition for government but it has been distorted by most of the leaders that use it, turning there nations into poverty stricken traps for their inhabitants. The big question is, is government an inanimant object, or the people that represent it?
I think it is NEARLY impossible morality to be attached to a government, reason being that we all give up rights to the government for them to be able to keep order and peace. To sum it up, attaching morality to the government would constrict it’s ability to carry out the punishments necessary to deter people from taking back the rights that they gave up according to the social contract
I like that Kant takes intentions into account but I think he takes this idea too far. To say that there is no moral worth in anything besides his definition of good will is unfair to say. It seems like you must qualify for unreasonable expectations to perform a moral action. The fact that there are no exceptions to his categorical imperitives is unreasonable as well, you never know what circumstances a person may be in that would force or persuade them to act a certain way. Mill on the other hand focusing on the after effects of actions deciding moral worth seems to me to be a better way of deciding morallity. He runs into problems when peoples intentions are good but outcomes may be bad, however there are ways around this and Mill does a decent job in doing so. He doesn’t simply say that if the outcome is bad then the action was immoral, end of story, such as Kant does about intentions. Mill’s idea’s are the better way of deciding morality.
Hobbes state of nature theory is not entirely correct. It is apparent that he is highlighting the necessity of government in society when he lays the groundwork of his theory with the state of nature. I do not believe that individualism is natural. Human beings require social contact for a reason and thats because we were origianally pack animals. The idea that we would be an array of individuals at war with eachother is incorrect. What is correct is that we would be at war with eachother, but it would be as packs or groups and history has shown this. There is no argument with the idea that government is necessary because without consequences for actions there would be chaos, I just think that it is human nature to be in a group and gravitate to that type of situation; so it may not be that government is required, maybe it’s just human nature.
By Kant’s theory it is nearly impossible to recognize whether an action is moral or immoral from an outside perspective. I could argue that any action has at least a small amount of self interest involved, even if it appears to be selfless at first sight. Kant refers to this as self love, the reason that I do not like Kants theory at all is because he feels that an action is not morally relevant if it is done out of self love. According to Kant it seems that you must perform good will and be miserable doing it, because if you get any satisfaction out of your good will then it has some amount of self love in it. This seems ridiculous to me and I find it really hard to focus on Kant’s theory because of how many problems there are with it. GO JETS!!!!!