Ethics: Natural Law Theory And Ethical Moralism

1536 Words 7 Pages
Ethics is a subject fully steeped in observation and informed speculation. It seeks to construct a sort of ‘outline’ to life, referencing interactions with self and others. Ethics, also referred to as moral philosophy, forces us to think about morality under a thousand different scopes. Many philosophers described endless theories; all in efforts to teach people how to live. Philosophers often ascribe to theories characterized by a group of interconnected ideals that result from a single, basic truth. These are monistic in nature and include Natural Law Theory and Utilitarianism, however in this paper I will be discussing non-monistic ideals. Ethical pluralism is a group of theories rather than a single postulate. All theories that fall …show more content…
monistic. Monistic theorists believe there is a supreme rule that acts as the foundation for all other moral actions. This supreme duty is both absolute and fundamental. If a moral rule is ‘absolute’ this means, there is no excuse to break that rule and doing so is always wrong. To be fundamental, a rule has no predecessor or acts as the basis of all others. As stated before, I will go on to discuss prima facie and ethical particularism. I support prima facie principles because they do not find basis in absolution, but rather offers permanent reasons to do specific actions that benefit the self and others. Each principle, or duty, is of fundamental importance, meaning no duty is derived from another, more basic duty. So far, as determined by W.D. Ross, rewritten by Russ Shafer-Landau (238), there are 7 duties oriented towards our moral requirements, these …show more content…
In addition, this theory resonated with me because of its lack of structure, which is often a cited as a weakness. Ross’s prima facie duties are not absolute; therefore, contradictions are not relevant and duties are not always morally decisive. There are situations in which it is acceptable to leave some prima facie unfulfilled at the cost of others. For example, Bob has two friends: Sally and Tom. Bob and Sally have been friends since childhood and Tom joined the group in high school. Tom physically assaults Sally and Bob sees it happen. Bob knows reporting Tom would violate both fidelity (trust between friends) and non-maleficence (would harm his future and well-being). Bob tells on Tom regardless and remains a moral person even though he violated a duty. How? Based on prima facie, the situation called for Bob to prioritize Justice over fidelity and

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