preview

Kant’s Moral Philosophy in Readdressing the Is-Ought Problem

Satisfactory Essays
There are several different connections between the terms 'ethics' and 'morals.’ In most cases, the term ‘ethics’ is synonymous to the term ‘morals.’ However, they can also be used to distinguish between the different areas within morality (Downie 33). Ethics is the philosophical study of morality. Morality is the system that describes the rules or criterias that guide human conduct. It is a system that is comprised of moral rules and principles that is used to differentiate between the right and the wrong. These moral rules and principles are otherwise known as "rules of conduct.” A theory is a structured set of statements used to explain (or predict) a set of facts or concepts. A moral theory, then, explains why a certain action is wrong -- or why we ought to act in certain ways. In short, it is a theory of how we determine right and wrong conduct. Also, moral theories provide the framework upon which we think and discuss in a reasoned way, and so evaluate, specific moral issues. In presenting a moral theory, are we merely describing how people, in their everyday 'doings' and 'thinkings,' form a judgement about what is right and wrong. Or are we prescribing how people ought to make these judgements (The Nature of Morality and Moral Theories)?
Is there a way to adequately describe morality? Different cultures and traditions have different cultural and traditional values. The same can be said of moral values. Like cultural and traditional values, moral values are developed through the process socialization and are influenced by a particular environment. Does this simply imply that morality is inherently subjective and that our understanding of it is potentially flawed? Is morality just a construct that evolves in order to suit “o...

... middle of paper ...

...o definition of morality can bridge the gap between facts and action. Nor does any one definition of morality have any important overall advantages as against the other plausible definitions that have been suggested. It follows that the disputes over the definition of morality and over the "is-ought" problem are disputes over words which raise no really significant issues. This point is not entirely new. The existence of the gap between reason and action was the basis of Hume's arguments that moral judgments are not derived from reason. For Hume thought that moral judgments must be connected with action, while reason alone cannot lead to action. Had someone suggested that "moral judgment" be defined in a way not necessarily connected with action, Hume would no doubt have been prepared to grant that, so defined, moral judgments could be derived from reason. (Singer)
Get Access