Sally's Prescriptive Moral Theory

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Sally’s prescriptive moral theory combines two separate and unrelated principles to create an all-encompassing moral theory to be followed by moral agents at all times. The first is rooted in consequentialism and is as follows: 1. Moral agents should cause moral pain or suffering only when the pain or suffering is justified by a moral consideration that is more important than the pain or suffering caused. The second is an autonomous theory, where other’s autonomy must be respected, it is 2. Moral agents should respect the autonomy of moral agents. This requires always taking into account the rational goals of moral agents when making decisions that may affect them. The more important the goals are to the agents, the greater the importance of not obstructing them. Since Sally’s theory has two separate principles, she accounts for the possibility that they will overlap. To do so, she includes an option on how to resolve the conflicts. According to the theory, if the principles lead to conflicting actions, then moral agents should resolve the conflict on a case-by-case basis by deciding which principle should be followed given the proposed actions and circumstances.
To begin the assessment of Sally’s moral theory we must look at the strengths of the theory, I have chosen to focus on autonomy, as it is vital when defining a prescriptive ethical theory particularly when individuals interact with each other. The purpose of the state is to promote the welfare of its citizens. When the individual has the ability to pursue autonomous desires they thereby allow humanity to develop while promoting their personal goals. Challenges arise when the individual has no goals or that their goals are not recognized. Communist societies where the...

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...reserving the principle of autonomous decisions could be considered somewhat more plausible. Essentially the only fault being addressed is the conflicting action, as a conflict no longer occurs. Objections remain based on the inclusion of moral agents exclusively and the promoting of individual’s goals, while introducing the additional problem of self-interest that accompanies prominent autonomy. The theory remains at fault, as it cannot be adequately amended by a single change. Sally’s prescriptive moral theory “picks and choses” from other existing theories and combines them to make a hybrid theory. Doing so creates difficulties as the overlap reduces clarity and limits the strength of any individual argument. This is a challenge that cannot be overlooked; Sally’s theory fails to show structural reliability and is hence too problematic to have sound moral worth.

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