What Is Moral Obligation

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Philosophy of life Pages: 2 (508 words) Published: September 10, 2006
What is moral obligation? What is the extent of our moral obligation to other people and other living things?

By definition moral obligation is the belief that an act is one prescribed by a persons set of values (Wikipedia, 2005). It is also a duty, which one owes, and which one ought to perform, but is not legally bound to fulfill. David Hume's moral theory hinges on a distinction between psychologically distinct players: the moral agent, the receiver, and the moral spectator. All actions of a moral agent are motivated by character traits, either virtuous or vicious; the actions have an effect on a receiver. A spectator observes the feelings that the receiver experiences, bad or good. The feelings constitute my moral disapproval or approval of the original act the agent performs. Though there are three separate roles in this theory, some situations a single person may perform more than one of these roles. Our right is a justified claim or entitlement to something against someone, a right used as an adjective describes actions or decisions the opposite of wrong. Our actual moral obligation is after all things considered something we ought to do. Some of our moral rights include: freedom of physical movement, freedom from torture, and freedom from discrimination. Free will is required to perform an act of moral obligation- that how we act is ultimately our decision, therefore we can choose or not to fulfill the obligation. If we are not responsible for our decisions, then how could we decide what we do? So free will gives us control over our decisions, and this control would allow us answerability for said decisions. Without free will, no one could ever be held responsible and every immoral act would have to be excused. People who judge the morality of actions compare these actions to social rules and expectations. Lawrence Kohlberg created six stages of moral development (Kohlberg, 2006). Values, morals, and ethics are all considered behavioral rules....

References: Wikipedia contributors (2005). Moral obligation. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 5, 2006 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Moral_obligation&oldid=23076377.
Farnell, D. (2004). Responsibility without answerability. Retrieved Feb. 05, 2006, from: http://www.chains-of-reason.org/articles/living-without-free-will/morality-without-free-will/responsibility-without-answerability/archive/2004-05-08.pdf.
Kohlberg 's stages of moral development." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Feb 2006, from: .
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