Indulgence in platitudes is their religion and breaking of promises their forte. Morality just does not form a rule of the game known as politics. Instead, the keyword is corruption. Every man, it is said, has his price. If morality had been the basis of modern society, no one would have dared to indulge in such wholesale condemnation of politics and politicians. But it is not the modern age and all its ramifications alone that have taught politicians to sell their souls and their intellect for a mess of pottage.
Morality, Law, and Politics Essay - Words | Bartleby
Such failings have existed for ages. Plato, the king among philosophers and philosopher among kings, wrestled with the same dilemma of morality and politics. It did not take him long to get disillusioned with politics.
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I found that it took these men no time at all to make the previous government look like an age of gold. Despite his disenchantment with politics, Plato never advocated the overthrow of the Constitution or of the government of his State. It was his disillusionment that led him to observe that the troubles of mankind will not be over until genuine philosophers attain political power. Political morality is not, however, a matter that can be decided by the dialectics of debate.
If political leaders indulge in some honest introspection and search their hearts, they would realise that their public conduct leaves much to be desired, and falls far short of the objectives they set out to achieve. The fact is that ultimately it is personal conduct and integrity which constitute the foundation of true morality in politics, as indeed in everything else in life. It follows that as long as the prominent leaders of a party follow the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of dual personality, posing to be what they are not, there can be no genuine social and moral progress.
There is no gainsaying the fact that personal interests have to be sacrificed at the altar of public interest, which exclude deception, double dealing and subterfuge of any type.
A classic example of such falsehood and double-dealing was provided by President Richard Nixon in Watergate has in itself become a permanent stigma, as potent as the scarlet letter as a symbol. The force of public opinion is, of course, a most potent weapon against corrupt persons who make a mess of both morality and politics. Nothing can restore the lost morality to the public life of a democratic country more effectively than a determination to trust the right instincts of a free people, their capacity to distinguish, in course of time, if not immediately, the good from the bad, chalk from cheese, and then to act accordingly.
This awareness and latent capacity can surely improve the conduct of politicians entrenched in the citadels of power. Politics , morality. Short essay on science should be wedded to morality. What are the important scientific methods of food preparation?
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The meaning of this question, if it has any at all, lies in showing how nonsensical it is since it asks for a kind of reason that cannot ground the moral point of view. The reason that can be given show, in one way or another, what interests or needs or ethical ideals of the one asking the question are satisfied or realized by morality.
But precisely these reasons cannot be decisive To put it bluntly, simplifying somewhat, whoever asks this question is not taking up the moral point of view, and whoever takes it up sees the absurdity of the question. For a Kantian who endorses the unconditional grounding of morality, all that is required of her is to be volitionally ready—there is even no room for any third-order recognition of the primordial choice, because there is no alternative to being moral. However, for someone who does not favor the Kantian grounding of morality, say people from MacIntyre's father's disillusioned generation, the process of recognizing the foundation of morality and identifying with moral demands on the second-order level is required.
These aesthetic people are also likely to reject Kantian morality because of its strong foundationalism. View all notes Of course they can still choose to be moral by following tradition, for strategic reasons to cooperate with other people, or even because of the rational calculation to avoid despair and pain. But none of these reasons, according to Kantian moral philosophy, qualifies the person as truly moral. On the other hand, it defeats the whole purpose of justifying morality if one appeals to anything other than morality, such as utility and other goods, because a person ceases to be moral if something other than morality actually motivates her.
View all notes Moreover, Christianity and many religious traditions ground the choice to be moral on something above the ethical perspective, and the source of moral authority lies not in this world but in God and the beyond. View all notes Finally, sciences unavailable to Kierkegaard and Kant have recently proposed even more novel grounds for morality. Moral principles we take for granted are now said to be reducible to evolutionary advantages and neurobiological processes. View all notes So now we have at least four types of moral foundations: the unconditional, the rational, the religious, and the scientific.
View all notes The unconditional, the rational, the religious, and the scientific views of morality all claim to offer the true grounding of morality, they all support full-fledged comprehensive moral doctrines, and they each criticize others to be supplying the wrong reasons to be moral. Facing a plurality of reasonable moral foundations, what criterion does an agent have to choose among them? Even if all roads indeed lead to Rome, we still need to address the reason why we choose this road and not others. Because of the lack of criterion to choose among a plurality of moral foundations, traditional approaches to morality whose strength is contingent upon the exclusive power and truth of their foundations are rejected by political liberalism to serve as the source for its political conception of justice.
Moreover, since Rawls says repeatedly that the political conception of justice is still a moral conception, the public conception of morality needs to be non-foundationalist. But one might wonder if the public conception of morality is still properly speaking morality, since it no longer stands on any substantive ground. For instance, how can the public conception of morality explain the objective prescriptivity of morality that is usually derived from its foundation? Is the public conception of morality not powerless due to its groundlessness?
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In the next section, I will show that a justificatory view of morality, which is at the heart of the public conception of morality, can still maintain its objective prescriptivity. If there is a plurality of moral foundations supporting a plurality of comprehensive moral doctrines, which seem to question the validity of each other, then how can we still account for the sense of objectivity and prescriptivity that we usually associate with morality? This question is shared by J. Mackie on a meta-ethical level through his arguments for an error theory of morality.
Mackie's controversial answer is that we cannot, and that there are in fact no objective values. In this section, I will show that morality maintains its objectivity in a justificatory rather than ontological sense. Then I will distinguish between two justificatory approaches to morality by Rainer Forst and Thomas Scanlon, and conclude by demonstrating that only Scanlon's truly non-foundationalist approach meets the challenge presented in the previous section.
Mackie offers two arguments for his controversial conclusion. The correct causal relation will show that different ways of life determine different moral codes, which undermines the objective status of morality. View all notes This is Mackie's first argument from relativity. Mackie's second argument is that there is a sense of queerness in our understanding of morality as objective and prescriptive. Mackie's argument from queerness is sometimes misrepresented. If, on the other hand, moral facts derive their value from subjective sources, then the commands of morality would be prescriptive without being objective '.
View all notes Compared with other objective properties, Mackie thinks that it is only queer that morality is so different.
Morality, Authority, and Law: Essays in Second-Personal Ethics I
Mackie's two arguments show us the heart of the problem with morality in modernity: how can we accept the fact that there is a plurality of moral foundations and still maintain the objective prescriptivity of morality? In order to answer this question, we must first counter Mackie's arguments. Since the argument from queerness is more challenging and also the more relevant one to our discussion, I will limit my response to it by drawing a distinction between two types of objectivity.
View all notes However, morality can be said to be objective in two ways. The strong view of moral objectivity rests on its ontological focus by making references to naturalistic or metaphysical entities and manifests the independent truth of those entities. Let's call this ontological objectivity. The weak view of moral objectivity instead depends on the justificatory dimension of morality. Morality can also be objective because it is reasonably justified to all. Let's call this justificatory objectivity. The criterionlessness regarding the foundation of morality makes it clear that morality can no longer be objective in an ontological sense, and Mackie is correct to argue that morality is not objective ontologically.
However, if we can defend justificatory objectivity against the argument from queerness, morality can still maintain its objectivity and authority. According to Rainer Forst, justification is behind everything. View all notes A variety of definitions of human beings, such as animal rationale and animal sociale , essentially characterize humans as justifying and reason-giving beings.
View all notes Thomas Scanlon shares a similar view. View all notes This principle neither makes reference to the ontological and epistemological aspect of moral reality, nor does it appeal to any metaphysical truth. View all notes In other words, the objective basis of morality need not rest on naturalistic or metaphysical entities. Instead, it can be normatively constructed through mutually justificatory relations. It will be remembered that the source of the queerness of morality is its objective prescriptivity.
Once we adopt justificatory objectivity, this sense of queerness disappears. On the one hand, morality is objective. It will become clear in the next section that people do not necessarily have to give the same reason for a moral principle to be reasonably justified. View all notes On the other hand, morality is prescriptive in virtue of its justificatory objectivity. John M. Being reasonably justified excludes any moral reasons for an agent not to follow the demand, because so doing will be against her justifying and reason-demanding human nature according to Forst and will exclude herself from the cooperative relation according to Scanlon.
View all notes A justificatory view thus maintains the objective prescriptivity of morality. Once we adopt justificatory objectivity, the sense of queerness disappears and one does not have to accept Mackie's overall conclusion that there are no objective values. Both Forst and Scanlon agree that the only answer to moral questions must be a justified one, and that the objective prescriptivity of morality follows from its justificatory basis. Yet their approaches diverge when it comes to how the criterion of justification is derived and whether or not justification should play a foundational role.
The public conception of morality in John Rawls' political liberalism
These differences are especially important because previous discussions have demonstrated that a viable conception of morality in political liberalism must not insist on an absolute foundation. In this section, I will argue that Forst's view of justification is foundationalist in essence, since it still requires a fundamental consensus among people, whereas Scanlon's view is non-foundationalist by design, because it has a thorough focus on dissensus.
Although both are promising approaches to maintain the objective status of morality, Scanlon's approach better accommodates moral pluralism, which meets the demand of the public conception of morality. View all notes Instead of abandoning the notion of unconditionally binding norms, Forst tries to make it intelligible. On the basis of a general and reciprocal understanding of justification, Forst argues that morality will maintain its unconditional status without implying an implausibly metaphysical foundation.
But what concerns thinkers like Ernst Tugendhat is not only that morality is grounded but also how it is grounded, and many argue that if Kantian morality cannot be rationally grounded, it should be abandoned. To overcome this criticism, Forst distinguishes between rational grounding and reasonable justification. Reasonable justification, on the other hand, requires both validity and intersubjective acceptance. With this important distinction drawn, it seems that Forst is ready to address the plurality of reasonable moral foundations.
It requires an unconditional ground'.
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