Why Should I Be Moral?

Rawls,Aristotle and Kant

Morality as a social contract

Morality as a constitutive of self-interest

Morality as overcoming self-interest

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  • Created by: Linda Le
  • Created on: 14-12-11 10:55

Morality as a social contract.

Social Contract Theory- Rawls

  • Invites 'rational and mutually self-interested' parties to consider rules that they would be abide to if they were impatially committing themselves in advance.
  • With one condition in mind, that they must be behind the' veil of ignorance'      this is to imagine that we will have no idea what will happen in the future as to what postion we would have  (e.g. setting out rules before a card game, so that you can follow them regardless of what your situation is after the cards are revealed)
  • Behind this veil we cannot know the outcome of our decisions. Rawls contends that even the rational egoist will choose impartial and fair rules that are rid of prejudice and selfishness, for the unlucky circumstance that they would end up as the victim to such unjust rules.
  • BAN FREE RIDERS, PEOPLE WHO TAKE BENEFITS AND GIVE NOTHING IN RETURN - detrimental to 'the game'

 



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Morality as a social contract cont.

Strengths :)

+   Rawls set out the scenario if we are to return to the original position behind the veil of ignorance. We can create rules ( principles) that can appeal to anyone.

+   It is impatial, no one can choose principles that favour themselves. Veil of ignorance prevents, no one can complain that their group has been disadvantaged.

The Principles are binding, any rational being would follow them, gives rational people the ability to be moral.

They are fair, everyone is tkane into account, supports the intuition that everyone has a fair go at life

+ Explains why people are motivated to be moral as appealing to self-interest alone leads them to losing out.

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Morality as a social contract cont.

Weakenesses  :(

- not a real contract, Ronald Dwarkin - Rawl's contract is hypothetical, therefore does not bind us

-You can't forget existing values & return to the original position - Rawls was a political liberal, so pick liberal principles of justice.

-Critics what about religious extremists, choosing principles to their religious views as they believe it's rational

-The Egoist could set aside principles that get in the way.

-RAWLS' ANSWER- We must use reflective equilibrium- we must contrast all ideas behind the veil of ignorance, with the ideas of the real world, the result will combine ideal values with the ones we now hold.

 

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Morality as a constituitive of self-interest

ARISTOTLE on self interest

  • Contractarians start with the figure of rational egoist & suggest it is rational to act morally, this allows us to pursue purely senlfish goals more efficiently- meaning morality is a tool for promoting self interest.
  • Aristotelians believe that the the contractarians have the wrong starting point.
  • WE SHOULD BE MORAL AS IT MAKES US HAPPY
  • WE CANNOT SEPERATE MORALITY FROM SELF INTEREST, TO BE MORAL IS A PART OF HAPPINESS
  • We should say to the egoist, that if she wishes to be happy, she must develop moral virtues.
  • This requires treating peopel with respect and enjoying it. This can be achieved by practice (habituation & good upbringing)
  • We can become virtuous by performing virtuous acts
  • We are naturally social beings, we can ONLY be fulfilled if we have good relations w/ other people. Good social relationships require moral concerns e.g. friendship requires a genuine interestin the welfare of others.
  • CONTRACTARIAN suggests that to be moral is to satisfy your selfdesires
  • Aristotelians disagree, it is impossible to be happy if you're selfish, self interest requires concerns for others. We cannot seperate self interest from morality.
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Morality as a constituitive of self-interest cont.

Aristotle Happiness and Virtue

  • Teleological approach to goodness- we can work out what is good for something we know what it aims at.
  • Humans aim at happiness so the good life is a happy life
  • Look at the soul- when all parts of the soul function excellently( virtuously) this is a happy life
  • 3 parts ot the human soul
  • vegetative - ()responsible for nutrition and growth) has no virtues.
  • Appetative - desires & emotions - excellence here is having moral virtues
  • rational- excellence here is having the intellectual virtues, widom
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