Moral Theory And Culture Essay

982 words - 4 pages

Moral Theory and Culture
Culture is a way of life; it guides beliefs, values, and attitudes. It identifies who one is. It defines the nature of relationships, and individual practices. The decision and actions one take is based upon culture. It is culture that is the building block of one’s moral beliefs. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the “Classical Theories of Morality” and the relevance of these theories to cultural identity.
Aristotle’s theory suggests that every action is aimed at some good and good is the object of these actions. Aristotle defines the good as happiness (Kucukuysal and Beyhan, 2011). Happiness and good are synonymous across cultures with living well. ...view middle of the document...

One must act in a right and moral manner, and a moral rule distinguishes between right and wrong. Kant also suggests that reason is the foundation for duty and duty is an action out of respect for the law (Scalet and Arthur, 2014). Kant believed that actions are either morally right or morally wrong regardless of the context of the act. He believed that obligations and restrictions should be the same for all and must be commanded by law (Kitcher, 2004). According to Kant, our lives should be lived according to moral law and conform to universal law. This suggests that moral and universal laws are the same and should have no exceptions. The differences in circumstances are not acknowledged. The basis of Kant’s theory has merit. However, not all things are concrete. One should live their life based upon what is morally right and wrong. Circumstances have a direct effect on the choices one makes and the consequence of those actions. For example, it is morally wrong to kill another human being. However, should the person who kills another to protect their children from harm or the police officer who kills in the line of duty be held in the same regard as the sociopath who kills because they have no morals or conscious? According to Kant, all should be held accountable at the same level. Where then is our moral duty to do no harm and protect one another?
Mill’s theory, utilitarianism, is based upon the principle "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" (Scalet and Arthur, 2014, p. 90) Mill defines happiness as pleasure and the absence of pain. Mill’s utilitarianism requires determining which action will produce the greater good for members of society as a whole (Elliott, 2007). Does one take this to mean that an action is only moral and good if it makes the majority happy? Is the happiness of...

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