Neither Duty nor the Benefit of the Majority Are Adequate Principles for a Moral Theory Because They Undervalue the Role of Personal Sentiments and Emotions. Explain and Discuss.

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant Pages: 3 (1180 words) Published: September 7, 2010
Many of us would find our emotions to play a vital role in our moral and ethical values. Perhaps this is because it is with our emotions that we are able to sense something is wrong, such as in the case of sympathizing for a person who is passing through a hard time due to a bad action which occurred. We know that action is wrong because we empathize and sympathize with the person and as a result associate a negative emotion with that action. Another example would be feeling anger towards a character in a movie for hurting another. We feel this anger because we sense the action is not good. This association of our negative feelings with that action results in our conclusion that that action cannot be right. However if our emotions were taken out of the picture, we are left only with our reason. Reason as the only source for ethical judgments in many ways can be a rather heartless idea of moral values. Take the example in which a couple just broke up. One is heartbroken yet the other is perfectly fine. There is, reasonably speaking, nothing wrong with the one who is ok, flaunting a new relationship right in front of the one who is heartbroken, however if our emotions came into play, we would take into account the excess and unnecessary pain one would be causing the other. This will make us come to the conclusion that perhaps that heartless and insensitive act is not good or right even though we cannot explain it through reason alone. Two ethical theories which believe in using reason alone to determine the nature of an acton are that taught by Immanuel Kant in what is known as Kantian Ethics and in another theory called Utilitarianism which is followed by such philosophers as Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and Henry Sidgwick. Kantian ethics believes to do good and do what is moral, is to do our duty and our duty is to obey the moral law. Kant argues that we must not let our emotions play a part in our moral decision making process because our emotions may...
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