What are the main claims and elements Essay Example
What are the main claims and elements Essay Example

What are the main claims and elements Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (988 words)
  • Published: April 22, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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Social Contract Theory

According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2004), Hobbs' Social Contract Theory suggests that individuals are motivated by their own self-interests, creating a perpetual vulnerability for society members.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009) argues that society would fall into chaos without moral contracts. To avoid this, each member must sign a contract establishing societal norms. Not signing may lead to dishonesty, theft, and other immoral actions. The theory emphasizes that selfishness is the sole motivation for morality and underscores the importance of mutual consent and agreement in upholding moral values for the benefit of all.

Adhering to a set of moral laws is advantageous for individuals.

Rights Theory

John Locke introduced Rights Theory, which asserts that every person possesses inherent natural rights, including the right to live without causing harm to others. The Rights Ethical theory underscor


es the importance of the rights established by society.

The theory asserts that abiding by these rights is morally and ethically warranted. Morally appropriate actions are those that harmonize with a distinct set of rights. Ethical conduct involves obeying one's rights, such as liberties, freedom of movement, and freedom of speech. The establishment of these rights for individuals depends on societal norms and culture.

Care Ethics

Psychologist Carol Gilligan introduced the Ethics of Care from a feminist standpoint (New World Encyclopedia, 2008).

The care ethics emphasizes the interdependence of human life and the necessity of care and emotional support from others for proper existence. It suggests that emotional responses and sensitivity play a crucial role in the formation of one's moral character. Instead of focusing on general interests, care ethics prioritizes the individual needs of people. This ethical framework begins with the family.

Parents are

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morally obligated to care for their children, and adult children have a moral duty to care for their elderly parents. The theory of virtue ethics, based on Aristotle's and Plato's philosophies, emphasizes the importance of one's character as a truer reflection of their authentic self compared to their actions (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007).

The virtue theory emphasizes the cultivation of positive qualities, such as kindness, mercy, and truthfulness, to naturally guide moral decisions. However, criticisms and issues have been raised regarding this perspective.

Criticisms and Problems of Social Contract Theory

Social Contract Theory proposes the necessity of a moral code to maintain social harmony. This theory is founded on mutual agreement and consent. A major criticism is that it disregards individuals who are unable to reciprocate or give consent to moral laws, such as mentally disabled individuals, animals, or non-human entities. Another objection asserts that a contract should solely be based on voluntary consent without any form of coercion.

According to Social Contract Theory, individuals who fail to comply with the law or contractual agreements will be subjected to punishment. This theory does not tolerate disregarding laws and underscores the significance of everyone adhering to moral rules without any exemptions.

Criticism and Problems of Rights theory

One significant problem associated with this theory is that every society must establish its ethical priorities prior to bestowing rights upon its populace.

Another ethical theory is necessary to determine the ethical priorities of a society, making it impossible to implement Rights theory alone. Each society has its own distinct ethical priorities and rights. For instance, U.S. citizens have the freedom of religion as a fundamental right. Conversely, the Nazi government denied its citizens this

right and actively demolished the Jewish religion. Criticism and Problems of Care Ethics: The primary criticism of Care ethics stems from its reliance on emotions and care, as continued caring may sometimes lead to harm for the caregiver.

The care ethics and virtue theory both have their limitations when it comes to moral reasoning. Care ethics focuses on personalized behavior and lacks emphasis on adherence to a moral code. On the other hand, virtue theory overlooks the potential changes in an individual's moral character unless there is substantial evidence of such change.

The problem with virtue theory is its lack of guidance in ethical dilemmas. Although it emphasizes developing virtuous qualities, it fails to specify appropriate actions for specific situations. Some argue that having the right character alone is insufficient for making ethical choices as complex dilemmas require reasoning and thoughtful consideration. So, what solutions have been proposed?

On the other hand, social contract theory values contracts and argues that force may be necessary to enforce them as laws cannot be upheld without government intervention.

In contrast, rights theory suggests that although different societies prioritize ethics and rights differently, once these priorities are established, resolving moral dilemmas becomes easier using this theory. Supporters of care ethics defend this theory by stating that it addresses individual needs rather than solely focusing on collective interests.

In summary, while virtue theory prioritizes coherent resolution of moral dilemmas, it lacks practical guidance for decision-making. Other theories such as social contract, rights theory, and care ethics offer different perspectives on resolving ethical conflicts.

The Virtue Ethical Theory emphasizes the significance of nurturing virtues, like kindness and mercy, in individuals. It argues that possessing

virtuous qualities allows a person to intuitively distinguish between right and wrong, thus eliminating the need for extensive contemplation. Furthermore, it asserts that this theory applies universally. Among all the ethical theories explored, I personally find the Virtue Ethical Theory highly persuasive and practical in addressing moral dilemmas.

The Virtue Ethical Theory emphasizes the importance of moral virtues, such as kindness, truthfulness, and generosity, in guiding individuals towards making proper moral choices. It promotes cultivating these virtues within individuals to ensure a consistent morally sound decision-making process throughout their lives. Unlike complicated moral calculations, this theory is universally applicable to all individuals regardless of factors like country, creed, caste, gender, or race.

Upon acquiring virtues, individuals will naturally make correct moral decisions.

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