The elements of moral philosophy

Of Man, and his Connexions. The principal Distinction of Duty or Virtue. Of Practical Ethics, or the Culture of the Mind. The Result, or Conclusion.

The elements of moral philosophy

References and Further Reading 1.

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What it is Human nature is naturally good. At least it leans decidedly toward an awareness of the good, and a preference for it, over evil and injustice. Despite appearances, human nature is inherently self-realizing and self-perfecting, if in moral understanding and aspiration more than practice. Morality grows in human beings spontaneously alongside physical limbs, basic mental and social capacities.

Both individually and in social interaction the human species evolves mature moral conscience and character despite the many psychological and social impediments that slow or de-rail the process for a time. These are the basic tenets of moral development in its most vital, if naive historical form--a dominant perspective in ancient ethics and traditional religion.

By painting human nature in this ultimately elevated and dignified posture, moral development visions grounded an ultimate hope in human progress. They forecast the flowering of our species' most humane and admirable potentials, leaving behind its troubled childhood.

Under critical scrutiny, moral development notions gradually surrendered their identification of human psychology with virtue. But for German idealism, however, their credibility continued to wane reaching a low ebb in the mid twentieth century when the "naturalness" of human morality seemed hardest to square with the stunning inhumanity engulfing much of the world at war.

Only in the latter 19th century did moral development revive as a lively research field in social science led by the cognitive-developmental approach of Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg.

Newfound credibility for this effort was garnered by abandoning the traditional geneticist position in moral development, which depicted even sophisticated moral reasoning as a physiologically, age-determined phenomenon.

For cognitive-developmentalists, instead, natural development involves complex combinations of trial-and-error social interaction, guided only indirectly by certain implastic similarities in human motivation and basic cross-cultural institutions of social life.

While these processes allow great variation in moral and quasi-moral socialization, their interaction yields remarkably similar patterns of coping.

Only certain cognitive strategies seem capable of navigating basic social interaction successfully. Research suggests that the cognitive competences fueling them and their ordering in a certain sequence are practically unavoidable for functioning in human society.

And these cognitive competences are decidedly moral in key and holistic respects. What it is for In human nature theory or axiology moral development notions convey a sense of ourselves as dynamic and progressive beings.

The elements of moral philosophy

It is normal for us to be ever-evolving and aspiring beyond ourselves even beyond the maturity of adulthood.

Being potentially perfect or self-realizing, we inherit an august natural legacy to fulfill in our individual characters and through community, which reveals our hidden but awesome inherent worth.

On this view, we owe it to ourselves not to sit still or languish in anything less than the full completion and perfection of all our potentials and powers. Morally speaking, making progress in this supremely elevated cause is less daunting than its supreme end-point would suggest.

We are naturally prone toward it after all. What we are obliged to do is what comes most natural to us deep down. The physical and psychological laws that govern our fundamental nature are all pulling for us, offering staunch and unremitting supporting for our journey toward ideals.

For ethical perfectionism, supporting by natural development, the difficult "why be moral? If we are so ideal deep down, why are we such disappointments everywhere else? Why do we fall so characteristically short in our characters and communities, showing all manner of vice and corruption, and making a cruel and violent mess of our world?

The typical response to such telling observations comes packaged in "alienation theory. Or the inside world corrupts us. The human part of our aspiration comes freighted with, and mired in, the lustful, grasping, animal portion of our heritage, a portion not only difficult to control but bent on running us morally out of control.

Or most ironic, we corrupt ourselves, conspiring unwittingly with these other corrupting influences due to the imperfect state and function of our all-too-slowly developing capacities. Our aspiring saint within is dogged not only by demons without and within, but by the natural imperfection of time needed.

For most of its course development provides us only formative tools for dealing with hostilities that greet us full-formed from the start, always at the top of their game.

Our ongoing inadequacies entrench themselves as habits in personality and as social institutions guiding socialization, making our already thorny path thornier still by our own misguided hand. The alienation gambit loses perfectionist ethics its edge over competitors, sharing their disadvantages.

Perfectionist principles must engage in just as much pleading and haranguing to have us walk the straight and narrow path against the stiff wind of temptation. Our development task takes on dual roles in this struggle.

Building character requires clearing away the impediments to self-discipline and social righteousness. We must fight mental distractions, motivational lusts, prejudices, false ideologies, the myriad lures of false appearance and materialist obsession.

Morality - Wikipedia

With these temptations somewhat in hand, we must shine brightly forth from our natural core, "polishing our mirrors" so that unfolding capacities rise to their full level of flourishing.

This pro-active urging of our spontaneous development is natural as well.

The elements of moral philosophy

Faced with the prospect of such awesome self-realization we can not just sit idly by, watching it take its natural pace, but instead offer a boost. Roots In ancient philosophies, moral development was normally conceived "teleologically."The Elements of Moral Philosophy", 2/e, offers an introduction to the major philosophical theories of morality, explaining why each theory has been accepted by some thinkers but rejected by others/5().

“Elements of Moral Philosophy" by James Rachels: Chapter 1 Summary. This first chapter of “Elements of Moral Philosophy" by James Rachels begins by attempting to define morality.

This is a difficult task since so many possible and rival definitions exist, therefore the common ground can be defined as only the “minimum conception" and. Introduction. David Hume made a number of significant contributions to moral philosophy, and his ideas and arguments remain central to the subject, both in the classroom and in academic research.

out of 5 stars - The Elements of Moral Philosophy by James Rachels and Stuart Rachels (, Pape. The Elements of Moral Philosophy 9e by James Rachels and Stuart Rachels is a best-selling text for undergraduate courses in ethics. Thirteen thought-provoking chapters introduce readers to major moral concepts and theories in philosophy through clear, understandable explanations and compelling discussions.

James Rachels’ The Elements of Moral Philosophy Lecture notes by Dan Gaskill. Chapter 2: Cultural Relativism In the last chapter, we examined a variety of arguments in support of different positions on various ethical matters of life and death.

These arguments invoked competing ethical principles and led to conflicting conclusions, but they all had .

The Elements of Moral Philosophy