• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent should our actions be guided by our theories in ethics and elsewhere?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Moral wisdom seems to be as little connected to knowledge of ethical theory as playing good tennis is to knowledge of physics" (Emrys Westacott). To what extent should our actions be guided by our theories in ethics and elsewhere? What is the underlying relationship between theory and life? Should theories really be used to guide our choices, our actions? I believe that theories do and should, to a certain extent, guide our actions for the basic reason that overtime they are proven to lead to improved outcomes. However, we should follow only the theories that have been proven to accurately reflect what is really happening in the world. Theories become vulnerable when they try to explain the complexities of universal phenomena far beyond our understanding. It is then that we should not rely on theories; but should allow such things as our instinct and common sense, which are conditioned through cultural factors and experiences, to direct us toward right action. First I would like to discuss the important role ethical theories play in guiding our moral behavior. Generally, ethical theories are used to govern nations to ensure orderliness and equality in society. ...read more.

Middle

She missed class intentionally in order to let a friend take photos of the test. This particular girl has had a long history of cheating; and since most students in the class value academic integrity and honesty, they felt their trust had been breached. According to Kantian ethics, cheating is morally wrong, a violation of principle and duty, thus both the cheater and helper would have to be punished. Everybody told me to report to the principal, but it was a difficult decision to make because I knew I had to expose the person who helped her take the picture. According to Utilitarian ethics, the right thing to do was to tell the principal, because it would most certainly stop her acts of cheating; thus everyone would benefit. However, telling on a friend was difficult. Our friendship would be threatened; and the person who helped her would feel disappointed in me for telling on him. However, I couldn't let my emotions take control in this situation. Clearly it would be fair and reasonable for everyone including myself to report the cheating. In the end I did so. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is why economists use the phrase ceteris paribus, meaning 'if all the other variables are held constant,' a relationship between two variables can then be anticipated. However, when taking into account all that is happening in the economy at once, the reality is far too complex to be explained by any central theory. Low interest rates will have to be raised, since soon enough not enough money will be available for loans that drive the economy. Because economic activities are constantly changing, it is difficult to develop any one theory that can explain all that is happening at any given time. This is why macroeconomic goals such as low unemployment and price stability come into conflict with each other. It can't be denied that human beings attempt to understand the universe by explaining it with theories. The theories that have proven to accurately describe natural phenomena provide a basic guideline to direct our actions. To the extent that the theory is unambiguous, we can follow it. However, most theories collapse when they attempt to explain a reality that is too complex. This is where we as human beings must "go it alone," using our experiences and a bit of common sense to make it through the day. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. work based project

    This could be because of a number of several factors. The healthcare market has grown dramatically and this is reflected also by the many consumers. Statistics (2000) show that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people being referred to psychiatric services since the 1940s - particularly men and young people.

  2. Examine the ethical issues in vivisection and discuss the extent to which it should ...

    of other species and that human life and happiness ultimately takes precedence over that of animals. Therefore, justifying the act of experimenting on animals. On the other hand, other parties against vivisection argue that animals do have rights and should not be subjected to the brutalities of the experiments as they are still living creatures.

  1. Critical consideration: ethics of use of embryonic stem cells

    as a human as they still locate inside the uterus of their mother, but they definitely want to continue and keep on doing the research. At the same time, some people not only want make more money but they also have a passion to improve human health.

  2. The Ascent of Money Book Report

    A major flaw also arises in Ferguson's argument. Although Ferguson argues that all history is deeply grounded in the financial systems, he never makes it clear that all events in history have happened because of finance and financial systems, which is what he is obviously trying to prove.

  1. "There is no such thing as a consistent ethical point of view: in reality, ...

    A further branch of consequentialism is utilitarianism, which states that the most ethical choice is the one which brings about most good as a consequence. Another branch of moral absolutism is deontology which claims that various actions are morally wrong if they are inconsistent with the status of a person

  2. The Law of the Universe: Entropy

    Firstly we have the most pure description of nature, that is logic. We can assume this as it describes the very essence of reality. Then comes the description of logic in practice, in mathmatics - the study of numbers. After that we have the first few sciences, physics being the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work