“Our actions are right when they conform to the moral rules dictated to us by our reason, and they have moral worth in so far as they are motivated by respect for that moral law.” Immanuel Kant. According to him, the rightness of our plans depends on their conformity to moral values that are dictated by reason, and they retain their moral worth provided they result from a respect for the moral law. Actions will be morally worthy if one does the right thing because they want to.
If I do not steal a laptop belonging to someone because I take it to be wrong to do so, then I am given moral credit. However, if one`s failure to steal the laptop is based on the fear of getting caught, although he does the right thing and maybe congratulated for being prudent, he cannot get moral credit. This is because he has not done the right thing because he desires to do it.
Ubiquitous surveillance has an impact on our moral personalities. It affects the moral education and development of a person. The opportunities for moral growth are altered. Surveillance edifies moral character by relating duty to moral character, an outlook that is favored by Plato. The concept here is that moral transgressions are more likely to be detected and punished if there is enough surveillance.
With this knowledge, people are less likely to break rules and with time rule-abiding habits become ingrained in them. What results is fewer instances of moral failure, the resulting patterns of behavior are conducive to harmony in the society. Traffic sur...
veillance results in good conditions on the road with no tearaways and drunk drivers who can endanger innocent road users. It makes driving more relaxing and fewer accidents are experienced on the roads.
Drunk driving has been curbed by the use of breathalyzers that are almost similar in function to speed radars. They detect the alcohol content in the blood, the cars are fitted with locks that automatically lock the vehicle engines when the concentration of alcohol in the blood of the driver exceeds a certain level. However, the perspective informed by Kantian ethics supposes that increased surveillance may have some utilitarian benefits, but our moral character diminishes. Thus, although surveillance might seem to make us better, it retards our moral growth.
From the point of view of Kant, moral growth is about moving closer to a saintly ideal, to being someone who only desires to do good. According to Kant, such an individual has a holy will, suggesting that this condition may be difficult to attain for ordinary human beings. The obligation to be moral is most times felt as a burden for us, because most of our inclinations conflict what we know our duty should be. Wordsworth describes moral duty as the stern daughter of the voice of God. We should aim at the saintly ideal as surveillance changes the direction of our moral aspirations like a magnetic force. Our moral selves wither from lack of exercise under surveillance since we never have to choose between what is right and what is in our self-interest. Our developmen
morally is arrested.
Kant`s ideal, just like Nietzsche`s complaint concerning long periods of peace and prosperity, is perfectly foolish. Nietzsche claims that long periods of prosperity and peace may shrink the soul as they do not offer enough opportunities for the heroics and sacrifice of the battlefield. We should focus on a world of pleasantness with moral tension and discomfort being a thing of the past. The saintly ideal is misguided in its approach.
We should not major in what people desire but rather in what they actually do. It is a puritan way of thinking to have too much concern for the desires and appetites of people. As we know it, surveillance improves behavior by reinforcing it through punishment for wrongdoing and giving credit to those who do the right thing.
We should not view life as a platform for wrongdoing but rather we should assume that the society in which we live is stable and prosperous and wrongdoings are not conceivable as they should not appear on the horizon of actions that are possible. We always want to take for granted the inconceivability of most actions that are considered to be wrong, and surveillance is a very effective means that is legitimate to build it. Thus, surveillance does not undermine the saintly ideal but reinforces it and helps people advance towards it.
Imagine visiting two colleges. In the first college, you are informed by the guide that all the examination rooms are fitted with cameras which are all linked to a central monitoring station. There are electronic jammers that can be activated and these prevent students taking examinations from using blackberries or mobile phones. The Information Technology department also announces to you that there is cutting-edge software for detecting plagiarism and as such, no form of academic dishonesty whatsoever is tolerated. As a result of this, the campus has less cheating than any other in the country. Since students view cheating as being able to bring punishment, no one even considers it.
Another college operates on a straightforward system of honor. An integrity pledge is signed by the students at the beginning of each academic year. Professors give the students examinations to take at home and leave examination rooms full of examinees without invigilation. In addition, there is no software developed to check plagiarism as the students are trusted to uphold academic honesty and fidelity.
Of the two colleges, one is more likely to prefer the first one where all activity with the computers is monitored to make sure that company time and equipment is not used inappropriately. The second one where employees will be simply trusted to do their work honestly is likely to be preferred by very few people as there is no guarantee that the people are going to use their time effectively and efficiently.
Another example is that of parents monitoring the use of mobile phone by their children. This will reduce the risk of the teenager participating in some undesirable activities as well as visiting some websites. It also reduces anxiety on the part of the parent. The psyche of the youngster is not scarred anyway as they could have been
- Distracted Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Albert Camus
- Cognitive Psychology
- Critical Thinking
- Form Of The Good
- Human Nature
- Immanuel Kant
- John Dewey
- Maria Montessori
- Michel Foucault
- Personality Type
- Philosophy Of Life
- Philosophy Of Mind
- Rene Descartes
- Self Esteem
- Self Reflection
- Self Reliance
- Sigmund Freud