Moral valuses, cultural relativism, rights and virtue ethics
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Case Analysis #2
In this essay, we aim to analyze four cases and give an insight into the moral approach for each of the presented situations. To keep this article short, we will not write each case’s situation. Instead, we will refer to them by the numbers provided.
It is a rather anachronistic perspective to think that inventions themselves are immoral. That could indicate that a Frankenstein complex seeps in the Western society. Inventions are not immoral, their use might be, but we cannot say that automobiles, or printed press are. To answer the case presented, we will use the Aristotelian concept of eudaimonia. The Greek term means happiness and well-being (Gowans 1). In a strict sense, if technological advancements make unskilled workers lose their jobs, that is a consequence of technology and have to be regarded as such. To Aristotle, the greater good eclipses the individual good. In that way, inventions meant to alleviate manual labor are inherently good. If these machines contribute to well-being, they are not immoral, and the advocates of manual labor must understand that advancements have to be made in order to advance as a society.
In this case, we are in front of two colliding visions. On one hand, we have the moral response of an individual who wishes to maintain a position, although it might be discriminative. On the other, we have the ethical decision of allowing same-sex couples to marry. This is an issue of moral relativism. If the women were a Kantian person, she would try to align their moral sentiments with the ethical values proposed by the laws. In that way, she would not be violating her conscious, and abiding by the law. Nevertheless, if she decides to follow her morality, she would be breaking the law. (Hursthouse 1) If the woman decides to follow a contemporary moral approach, such as the one proposed by McIntyre, she could argue that her moral framework is superior to the ethical values recommended by the society. Thus, her decision is understandable in the lines of morality. The problem here is between the moral sentiments and the ethical reasoning behind the law. In a country where free-will is upheld, as long as the person does not discriminate, she might decide not to serve same-sex couples.
In this case, we face an issue of what is right, and what is wrong. Basing on Bernard Williams’ distinction between moral, and ethics (IEP 1). Morally, the decision might be justified on the grounds of that it is a practiced that society has turned into normative. Ethically, the decision might pose different meanings. In the same way, we should not take the situations out of context. In those cultures, the practices were regarded as an entirely normal behavior that ensured the well-being of the people. In those cases, the people sacrificed were honored, and their families received social benefits. If those cultures considered sacrifices an honor, we could not impose our moral sentiments upon them. That way, those decisions seem morally justifiable.
This case poses a deontological decision. The psychiatrist can, or cannot decide to turn her patient to the police. In a strict sense, if she decides not to do it, she might be punished, but she might say that the law protects professional secrecy. Mill might say that this deontological decision reflect the values system of the person who decides. On the other hand, Kant would answer with his categorical imperative and saying that if that person decides not to turn her patient to justice, she has no moral right to expect justice herself. That way, the psychiatrist’s choice might prove flawed and incompatible with the standards of well-being proposed by the Western society.
Gowans, C. “Moral Relativism.” Stanford University. Stanford University, 19 Feb. 2004. Web. 26 June 2015. <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-relativism/>.
Hursthouse, R. “Virtue Ethics.” Stanford University. Stanford University, 18 July 2003. Web. 26 June 2015. <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/>.
“Virtue Ethics.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 26 June 2015. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/virtue/#SH1b>.