We are exploring the different paths that we can use to develop a moral or ethical outlook and the obstacles that might undermine ours, or society's, efforts to develop a "good" outlook.
In Part I, we examined the concept of moral behaviors, analyzed some examples of rules and guidelines for their features and moral content, and conjectured on how the list of moral behaviors may have come into existence – either as evolutionary or cultural constructs.
In Part II, we will pick up with the contexts and conditions calling for moral judgments, identify some potential conflicts when two maxims are at odds for a particular situation, and discuss the nature of mechanisms that one might develop to resolve these conflicts. Finally, after establishing the epistemological requirements, we will examine the various institutions that society has developed to attempt to gain acceptance of all the principles and guidelines that society wishes to use to lay claim to its members behaviors.
Moral System (The Definition of Morality, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [SEP] / The Sources of Normativity, CM Korsgaard, 1996,)
...a. List of moral actions/behaviors – Code of conduct, guide
...b. Actions/behaviors – “Oughts” and “Ought Nots”
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...c. Contexts and conditions calling for moral judgments
...d. Scoring factors: happiness/joy/ecstasy, goodness, greater good; nonmalevolence, temperance, kindness, beneficence, love; desert, fairness, justice; veracity, loyalty (to whom), kinness; societal order (safety, et al); universality; courage; compassion, sympathy, empathy, altruism, charity; guilt, shame, disgust; dignity
...e. Mechanisms for resolving conflicts in moral principals – empiricism, rationalism, utilitarianism, pragmatism, Veil of Ignorance (Rawls, Kant’s Categorical Imperative); dile
...f. Sources of normativity (a claim on behavior) – Higher power ( God, Natural Law,…) and Rational Thinking; voting; force
“System” may not quite fit when considering personal moralities and self-reflection.
Normative Ethics – Required, forbidden, or permissible actions/behaviors
...a. Aretaic (virtue) Ethics – Virtue, practical wisdom, and eudaimonia (flourishing) ; emphasis is on individual character or becoming; acquiring knowledge, actualizing one’s full potential, happiness
...b. Deontological Ethics – Agent-centered (duty based) – Kant; patient (object)-centered (rights-based); and contractualist (social contract);
...c. Consequentialist (teleological) Ethics - Choices—acts and/or intentions—are to be morally assessed solely by the states of affairs they bring about -- Mill <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism/> & <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-deontological/#DeoFoiCon>
...a. Ontological Issues – The List; actions/behaviors/intentions on The List, or considered for The List; the agent; the object (person) of the action; the relationships between the agent and the objects; consequences; legal system
...b. Metaphysical Issues – Why The List and it’s contents are important to the agent and society (have affect); normativity; character
...c. Epistemological Issues - Features of the actions/behaviors/intentions, virtues, contexts/conditions, moral principles, consequences (possibilities, prior results), conflict resolution mechanisms; sources of normativity, natural laws, reasons, laws; deserts, rewards/punishments
...d. Institutions with capacity to teach; effectiveness; limitations
...e. Incorporation into character -- natural inclinations + influences + self-reflection
Primatologist Frans de Waal explores traits like empathy and fairness in our closest relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, and argues that human morality is not the product of rational thought or religion, but evolved long ago. (Frans de Waal , The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates, 2013; Radio interview: < http://www.sciencefriday.com/segment/04/05/2013/-searching-for-the-roots-of-right-and-wrong.html >)