Moral Reasoing

Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 198

Words: 1047

Pages: 5

Category: Philosophy and Psychology

Date Submitted: 11/13/2012 12:20 PM

Report This Essay

Dr. Rosdatter

PHIL 140

24 October 2012

Moral Reasoning Essay

In my essay I will be using topics, arguments, and reasoning from a Utilitarian philosopher James Rachels. Rachels believed the morality of an action is based on how it affects others. Actions which harm others are intrinsically bad, and actions which help others are intrinsically good. Morality consists of trying to get the most good with the least amount of bad.

“Instead of claiming that actions are right or wrong depending on whether they exhibit or reflect what intuition tells us is properly contoured and sufficiently deep caring, one can say that actions are wrong or right depending on whether or not they reflect or exhibit a deficiency of normally or fully empathic caring motivation.” This is a quote from The Elements of Moral Philosophy by James Rachels. I believe that Rachels was trying to say that we judge actions as right and wrong according to certain criteria. We should not judge an action as right or wrong according to the way we feel about them. We should judge those actions on whether or not they show shortage of normal or above normal compassionate caring drive. 

So it is the intuition (feeling, which might be misleading) about the actions against what the actions really reflect. Our intuitions and feelings are what drive us to act and believe certain assumptions, whether or not they are morally right or wrong.

I think we are born with subconscious intuitions about right and wrong. I think a lot of our moral intuitions can be traced to our evolutionary history. For example, we might think it is wrong to kill innocent human beings because we evolved in social groups that would punish those who killed innocent people. There may have been other groups that did not punish such people, but those groups genes would be less likely to get passed on to future generations.

We also get the idea that we should help those around us before we help those farther away from ourselves (this is...