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How would you answer the question, "Why be Moral?"

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Introduction

How would you answer the question, "Why be Moral?" Morality is often viewed as a set of values by which people live. These values may have derived from a variety of sources; the main causes being, the family, the school and the church (if one is religious). Ones knowledge of right and wrong are installed within us from early childhood. One would be punished if any actions were wrong, and praised if any good actions were performed. Due to the way one is taught we grow to accept that to be moral is to avoid reprimand. The fact that nearly everyone has some sort of moral code that they follow, implies that it is essential for one to be moral. A definition of what is meant by being moral is needed in order to answer the question as the word can be interpreted in various ways. Moral is " concerned with goodness or badness of character or disposition, or with the distinction between right and wrong"1 If one is to answer the question without having to enter into a deep thought, the responses one is likely to hear are; to ...read more.

Middle

The motive behind being obedient to God's law is to avoid being punishment for ones "sin(s)." The motive behind following one's conscience, is that one will feel continuously uneasy until something is done to rectify that feeling. If we harm or injure another fellow-being, we also bring some sense of harm to our conscience, which may have become flawed. The motive behind conforming to the norms of society is just "to go with the flow," this is the common motive for people. Everyone else is being moral so they feel that they should follow in the footsteps. This theory seems to imply that one should be moral not because they want to, but because of the feelings that they experience. It could be easily argued, that to be moral is to be good. So as long as your actions are good, whatever the motives behind the action is not of any importance. This can be expressed in Hume's phrase, "there is nothing wrong with self-love and confined generosity in themselves."5 J.L Mackie in his book6 accepts that egoism and self-referential altruism, plays a large part as to the way people conduct themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

Those that choose to be immoral often face the consequences for their actions. Again this returns to the point that the prime motive for us to be moral is because of the consequences. It can then be argued that it is impossible to be moral leaving behind self-interest. Kant on the other hand, believed it to be possible as, "we act morally only when we have put aside all motives stemming from our desires or inclinations."11 From a personal view, it is difficult for one to answer such a question when one has been brought up with morals passed onto to them. It is not that simple to break away from the custom that we are used to. Being moral is what one knows best. As was stated beforehand if everyone was to act immorally the world would just be an enormous jungle. The reason why one actions are virtuous is, because, "It is the best, simplest, most convenient way of achieving whatever it is that he wants to achieve." Being moral is a result of intuition (being able to discern what is good and bad) whatever the intentions are is not important; as long as you are happy together with those around you. ...read more.

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