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Virtue Ethics, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 783

Essay

What is Kant’s idea of the categorical imperative and what examples he uses to demonstrate how categorical imperative should be applied? Why do these examples pass or do not pass the test of the categorical imperative?

According to Kant, categorical imperative is a universal act or law with will auger well with all people who have the ability to think rationally and make correct moral decisions based upon their own desires. Kant says that, for an idea to be categorical imperative it must be conceived to be right in itself and conforms to reason (Wolff 30). For example, Kant thought that it would not be right to give false evidence in order to save a friend from facing trail. This example passes the test of the categorical imperative that first considers what things are good in identifying the right actions that will produce the maxims of those good things. According to Kant, a person’s action is only good if it results into a moral right action. His examples pass the test of categorical imperative.

What is the state of nature for Hobbes and how and why does he suggest we extricate ourselves from it?

In his work Leviathan, Hobbes writes life would be miserable without the protection of the State. Hobbes draws from the theory of Galileo about the principle of conservation of motion. Hobbes writes that “an abject will eternally be in motion unless somewhat stays it” (Kunkel 45). The search for secure facility is what brings conflict between people and only fear of death can result in the creation of a State. According to Hobbes, state of nature is where all are at war with each other. Hobbes argues that human beings are equal by nature and have equal strength and skills. That is why he argues that even the weakest has the ability to kill the strongest by any means. Hobbes suggests that we extricate ourselves from state of nature since in that state; nothing is unjust (Rosen, Wolf, and McKinnon 204). According to Hobbes’ state of nature, everything is considerably justifiable and there is no place for right and wrong, and justice and injustice. People are not willing to live in that state and this call for a desire for social order.

Explain in your own words what exactly Mill means when he says: “On a question which is the best worth having of two pleasures, or which two modes of existence is the most grateful to the feelings…the judgment of who are qualified by knowledge of both, or if they differ, that of majority among them must be admitted final”

This quote by Mill implies that the choice of pleasure or mode of existence highly depends on the decision of the person with experience or knowledge on judgment of both pleasures or modes of existence. It is the affirmation of Mill that the hedonic quality and quantity can only be measured by the judgment of feelings of competent and experienced assessors (Wolff 78). If a majority or all of those who are ‘competently acquainted’ with both of the two pleasures come to an agreement in prescribing a preference to one of them then the pleasure is the most desirable and it is considered to be the final decision.

What is Thomas Aquinas’ idea of natural law and how is it different from divine law?

Aquinas argues that there is an order built into nature in order to guide the way people think. According to him, natural law is the law that has been instilled by God into nature itself. Natural law is what people have in common. It generally refers to the capacity of human beings to be rational in determining general principles in accordance with nature to enable people thrive as a species in communities, owing to the fact that human beings are social animals by nature (Goyette, Latkovic and Myers 130). Aquinas’ idea is that an informed conscience takes precedence over law and that no one should obey a law that she or he believes to be unjust since laws that violate reasons are not laws. Devine law emanates from God and is revealed through the scripture and it can only be meaningful to individuals who acknowledge the authority of the scripture. Natural law is promulgated through the natural knowledge of the goods and the evils while divine law is promulgated through revelation.

Works Cited

Goyette, Murdoch, Latkovic, James and Myers, Richards. St. thomas aquinas and the natural law tradition, contemporary perspectives. New York: CUA Press, 2004.

Kunkel, Joseph. Issues in war and peace: philosophical inquiries. Michigan: Longwood Academic, 2009.

Rosen, Mary, Wolff, Thomson, and McKinnon, Charles. Political thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Wolff, Jafford. An introduction to political philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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