What Is Right and What Is Wrong

Topics: Ethics, Truth, Morality Pages: 4 (1276 words) Published: May 24, 2011
“What is right and wrong?” and “What is Truth?”
What is right and wrong?
Life is characterized by many situations that require decision making, especially on moral grounds. The issue of what makes an action right and wrong has been studied for a lengthy period of time and several theories developed to address this issue. Socrates and Aristotle are some of the early philosophers who came up with theories about the rightness or wrongness of actions. As noted by Warnek (2005), Socrates considered self-knowledge as necessity of life and also, an important ingredient to success. Socrates stated that every individual needs to attain self-knowledge which is acquired by studying every fact necessary for existence. Socrates believed that by possessing knowledge about what is right, individuals are most likely to perform good deeds and that the bad deeds in the society come from those who are ignorant of what is right and wrong. Socrates proposed that, by being aware of the spiritual and mental consequences of wrong actions, no individual would even consider engaging in such actions. According to Socrates, any individual who is aware of a truly right action will automatically choose it over the wrong one. Aristotle on the other hand stated that all humans have physical, emotional and rational natures. Of the three, Aristotle considered the rational nature as not only being the most important of the three but also uniquely human and fundamental to philosophical self-awareness. Aristotle encouraged moderation and regarded extreme actions as being immoral and degrading. For instance, recklessness and cowardice are extreme virtues of courage. Therefore, According to Aristotle, humans should strive to live well by letting their actions be governed by moderate virtues. He further stated that this way of life can be achieved by choosing the right things in life at the right time and place. The ethical theories associated with the modern era include consequentialism and...
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