What Is A Good Life? Essay example

What Is A Good Life? Essay example

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“We cannot justify a moral principle just by showing that following that principle would promote someone’s or everyone’s desire in either the short or the long term (Dworkin 3).” With this assertion, Ronald Dworkin, author of What Is a Good Life?, realizes that we humans cannot use morality as a key to what we want in life. Our morals should be independent of our desires. Yet, we have the tendency to utilize morality to our benefit because we conceive it as a means to a good life. But, having a good life does not correlate with human desire. Instead, it corresponds with, what Dworkin believes, how well we live—getting the most experience out of life. Dworkin argues that if we follow our duty to live well, by gaining experience, the consequence will be a good life. Likewise, Dworkin’s ideas are evident in the works of philosopher Peter Singer and psychologists Sonya Sachdeva, Rumen Iliev, and Douglas L. Medin, but because they question human morality, Dworkin’s beliefs are, what these authors think, dependent on choice.
In his essay, Dworkin describes living well and having a good life as “…a distinction within ethics that is familiar in morals: a distinction between duty and consequence, between the right and the good (Dworkin 5).” He then goes on to mention, “…we recognize that we have a responsibility to live well and believe that living well means creating a life that is not simply pleasurable but good in that critical way (Dworkin 6),” to show that living well, our duty, and having a good life, our consequence, are based on our morals. In other words, what we believe is the right way of living well determines the good life, but that good life may simply not be what we want it to because having a good life does not depend on o...


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...an immoral decision (Sachdeva et al. 524-526). Depending on whether they had to write negative or positive traits about themselves, determined if they made a choice that was morally right (Sachdeva et al. 527). That determined if they were living well and on to having a good life.
In the end, our duty is to live well in order to benefit from a good life as Dworkin argues. However, it comes down to our choices which are influenced by what we perceive as moral as illustrated in the works of Singer and Sachdeva, Iliev, and Medin. By making good choices, or being morally right in our actions, a good life will no doubt come about because we will be challenging ourselves, which is living well. But, what are the right the right choices? That answer varies because our morals are different from one another, which is understandable, because we are different from one another.

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