The only reason to be moral is because it is the right thing to do

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Virtue Pages: 4 (1861 words) Published: April 19, 2014
‘The only reason to be moral is because it is the right thing to do’ Discuss. Morality is defined as the principles of distinguishing between good and bad behaviour. We call the murderer an immoral person because they have committed a ‘bad’ action. We also stereotype charity workers as moral because they are devoted to helping others. But what motivates our moral behaviour? In an attempt to answer this, I will assess several key theories and thinkers to prove that morality is a means of achieving our greatest happiness out of life. Thomas Hobbes believed that humans are instinctively selfish beings. He justified generous and selfless action by stating that all human interactions are so all parties involved can benefit. For example, several people may work to build each person a house because it would be faster than them all building their own houses on their own. To prove his point, Hobbes asked us to consider life without social structures and governance. The ‘state of nature’ was what Hobbes saw as an environment without human cooperation. In his work Leviathan, Hobbes described the life of a man in a state of nature as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” We can find his argument successful in the fact that it is plausible to imagine, but we must inquire into how a civilised society was formed. Hobbes proposed the ‘social contract’ theory to address this. The social contract allows people to cooperate in order to assist their own living. In short, we use the social contract to use other people as a means to an end. We find the Hobbesian version of morality therefore selfish. Hobbes also implies that the social contract was something that was a formal arrangement. We can also see that Hobbes has no empirical evidence for his social contract being created – we all have no memory of signing such contract, so why should we follow it? The counter-argument to this is the ‘tacit agreement’, which states that no-one ever explicitly signed any social...
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