Ethics Greek Essay
The greater the knowledge and freedom, the greater the voluntariness; and the greater the voluntariness, the greater the moral responsibility.” – Alfredo Panizo MODIFIERS OF HUMAN ACTS a) Ignorance b) Passions c) Fear d) Habit e) Violence A) IGNORANCE – Absence of knowledge which a person ought to possess “Ignorance of Law exempts no one” – implies that one who has done wrong may not simply and directly claim ignorance as defense or justification or to be freed from sanction attached to the Law that was violated – implies that one should not act in the state of ignorance but always strive to dispel it 1) Vincible Ignorance – form of Ignorance which can be easily remedied through ordinary diligence and reasonable efforts 1.a) Affected Ignorance – a person possess this kind of Ignorance when a person employs positive efforts to be ignorant in order to be escape responsibility – it is Vincible Ignorance explicitly wanted = studied ignorance 2) Invincible Ignorance – kind of Ignorance which a person possesses without being aware of it or lack the means to rectify it PRINCIPLES:
1) Invincible Ignorance renders an act involuntary – a person is not liable or cannot be culpable if he is not aware of his ignorance or when there is nomeans of rectifying his ignorance 2) Vincible Ignorance does not destroy but lessens voluntariness and the corresponding accountability over the act – when a person becomes aware of one’s ignorance, he/she has the moral obligation to rectify it- and to act with this is a form of imprudence 3) Affected Ignorance though it decreases voluntariness, increases theaccountability over the resultant act – it interferes intellect – decrease voluntariness – it is willed to persist – increases accountability – refusing to rectify ignorance is malicious – and malice is graver if ignorance is used as an excuse for not doing the right thing
B) PASSION – Either tendencies towards desirable objects (positive emotions like love, desire, delight, hope, bravery etc) or tendencies away from undesirable or harmful things (negative emotions like horror, sadness, hatred, despair, fear, anger etc) Passions – psychic responses –neither moral nor immoral – however, man is bound to regulate his emotions and submit them to the control of reason 1) Antecedent Passions – precedes the act – predisposes a person to act 2) Consequent Passions – those that are intentionally aroused and kept – voluntary in cause; the result of the will playing the strings of emotion PRINCIPLES: 1) Antecedent Passions do not always destroy voluntariness but they diminish accountability for the resultant act – they weaken the will power without obstructing freedom completely – therefore, crimes of passion are always voluntary although accountability is diminished because it interferes with the freedom of the will
2) Consequent Passions do not lessen voluntariness but may even increase responsibility – consequent passions are direct results of the will which fully consents to them instead of subordinating them to its control C) FEAR – disturbance on the mind of the person – being confronted by an impending danger or harm to himself, to his loved ones or to his property – one is compelled to decide to perform an act so as to avoid threat of future or imminent evil 1) Act done with fear – certain actions which by nature are dangerous or risky – in theses cases, fear is a normal response to danger – these actions are voluntary because the doer is in full control of his faculties and acts inspite of fear- fear here is an instinct for self-preservation (we even fear new experiences or situations) ex.
Being left alone in a strange place, being asked to speak before a group of people 2) Act out of fear or because of fear – fear here becomes a positive force compelling a person to act without careful deliberation – fear modifies the freedom of doing, inducing the person to act in a certain predetermined manner, even without his full consent Ex. A child – studies/reads his books – out of fear of his mother A man – stops smoking – fear of contracting cancer PRINCIPLES: 1) Acts donewith fear are voluntary – acting inspite of his fear and is in full control of himself 2) Acts done out of fear are simply voluntary although conditionally involuntary – simply voluntary = person remains in control of his faculties – conditionally involuntary = if it were not for the presence of something feared, the person would not act or would act in another way – Intimidating or threatening as person with horror is an unjust act – Legally speaking, acts done out of fear – invalid acts Ex.
Contract – made out of fear – voidable – later be annulled 3) Acts done because of intense fear or panic are involuntary – panic – obscures the mind – in this mental state, the person is not expected to think sensibly D) HABIT – permanent inclinations to act in a certain way – lasting readiness and facility born of frequently repeated acts or for acting in a certain manner – acquire the role of second nature – moves a person to perform certain acts with relative ease Habit – not easy to overcome or alter – requires a strong-willed person to correct a habit Voluntary Habits – those caused by the repetition of voluntary acts Involuntary Habits – a habit becomes such if the will is resolved to remove it and there is a struggle to overcome it PRINCIPLES: 1) Actions done by force of habit are voluntary in cause, unless a reasonable effort is made to counteract the habitual inclination – Bad Habits – voluntary in cause because they are results of previously willed acts done repeatedly – as long as the habits are not corrected, evil acts done by force of habit are voluntary and accountable – can be not accountable – if a person decides to fight his habit. For as long as the effort towards this purpose continues, actions resulting from such habit may be regarded as acts of man because the cause of such habit is no longer expressly desired E) VIOLENCE
– any physical force exerted on a person by another free agent for the purpose of compelling the said person to act against his will Ex. Bodily torture, maltreatment, mutilation, etc PRINCIPLES: 1) External actions or commanded actions performed by a person subjected to violence, to which reasonable resistance has been offered, are involuntary and are not accountable – active resistance should always be offered to an unjust aggressor – if resistance is impossible and there is a serious threat to one’s life, a person confronted by violence cab offer intrinsic resistance
DETERMINANTS OF HUMAN ACT: 1. ACT IN ITSELF – nature of the act itself ( cheating is bad itself in its nature) 2. MOTIVE OF THE AGENT (intention/purpose) 3. CIRCUMSTANCES Who=Person What=Quantity or quality Where=Place How=Manner, Means or instrument When=Time Why=Motive DETERMINING A GOOD ACTION ACT MOTIVE/END Good + good =GOOD Good + bad =BAD Bad + good =BAD Bad + bad =VERY BAD ETHICAL THEORIES 1. Deontological 2. Teleological 3. Divine Command Ethics 4. Virtues Ethics
DEONTOLOGY Deos – “what is binding, right and proper” Duty-oriented appeals to obligations, laws, rules or orders 1. STOICISM Stoics : nature is good Good – surrendering/denying/accepting nature or whatever happens Self-denial/simplicity/frugality Wrong- contradict nature Three moral convictions: 1. Nature is innately good and man is part of nature 2. Man does good by following nature and evil by contradicting 3. Man ought to accept everything that is happening to him w/o question in order to live a good and tranquil life EPICTETUS: everything is governed by nature : determinism: things come as they do : “the essence of good and evil lies in that attitude of the will”
: absolute obedience – greatest virtue : resignation and tranquility
2. KANT’S DEONTOLOGICAL THEORY Immanuel Kant Morality is based on “A PRIORI”( pre knowledge) of the imperative of human acts Pure reason – consistency of valid knowledge of the mind Practical reason – valid knowledge of the mind Basis: FREEWILL moral duty IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL sanctions EXISTENCE OF GOD ultimategiver of sanctions Kant: good without any qualification is based on GOOD WILL “a person with good will acts with moral duty” (businessman/politician) KANT’S CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE Like golden rule: command every human rational agent to cons istently abide with moral duties 1. Principle of Universality “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (evil if it cannot be universally willed. Sample: killing) 2. Principle of End in Itself “act in such a way that you will always treat humanity, whether in your own person or the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always
at the same time as an end.”( self-preservation/selfrealization/charity)
3. CONVENTIONALISM OR CONTRACTARIAN THEORY THOMAS HOBBES What is good is agreed by the society through social contract TELEOLOGICAL THEORIES Telos- end Consequence oriented theory Good is based on the result of the act 1. HEDONISM Hedos – pleasure “eat and be merry for tomorrow you will die” Good is personal experience of pleasure ARISTIPPUS – The greatest pleasure/ pain is the greatest evil – The only norm of determining what is good is “the most intense sensual pleasure of the moment.” – Sexual act between lovers give one of the most intense sensual pleasure EPICURIUS – Man is material and spiritual (death is disintegration) – Man by nature seek pleasure – “good and evil consist in sensation but it should be directed by reason and virtue. – Real pleasure – moderation decided by the mind
– Prudence – wisdom and capacity to control oneself – Social injustices source of pain in human relation 2. UTILITARIANISM Greatest good for the greatest number of people JEREMY BENTHAM – Good if it promotes greater good (generic law/ofw) – Bad – suffering – Quantitative utilitarianism – Utility or usefulness of an act
JOHN STUART MILL – Qualitative utilitarianism – Not the act and its end but more on the dignity of the person but the dignity of the human agent. – “better to be dissatisfied than a pig satisfied” – Action is right if it promotes happiness/ bad-unhappiness –
VIRTUE ETHICS Virtue- moral practice or action in conformity to a standard of right Wisdom based on knowledge of what is good Good is the possession of moral characters or virtues Reason elevates and leads man to things true and good Aristotle: good is based on function : rational faculty of man achieves excellence through exercise of virtue : moral virtue is a result of habit :ARETAIC ETHICS (ARETE – excellence or virtue) : focus on heart and character of the moral agent :Virtue ethics- disposition/motivation or trait of being good : self-actualization – doing good as a part of being a rational animal Golden mean or moderation SOCRATES: INTELLECTUALISM knowledge is virtue / virtue is knowledge : “know thyself” : unexamined life
is not worth living PLATO: PHILOSOPHICAL LIFE -contemplation of true and good is best for life
DIVINE COMMAND THEORY Religious idea Rules and commandments provide moral guidance St. Thomas Aquinas: Natural law
ETHICS OF CONSCIENCE Subjective norm of morality Based on natural law Voice of God / inner voice / other self Practical judgment of reason Types:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Right conscience – correct ethical evaluation good as good/ evil as evil Erroneous – good as evil and evil as good Certain – firm judgment of the validity and morality of an action Doubtful/dubious – uncertain Lax – bahala na / Scrupulous- sees evil or wrongness even though there is none