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My Personal Moral Philosophies And Their Sources

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The purpose of this paper is to bring forth examples of the moral values and philosophies I hold and use to guide my decision making skills. I examine the self-determining impacts of my personal moral philosophy on Ethical Decision Making. Agreed that Ethical Decision Making is of great importance to general functional efficiency, it is fitting for me to analyze the various effects of my personal moral philosophy on the Ethical Decision Making.

Introduction

Moral philosophy is defined as the rational study of the meaning and justification of moral claims, moral claims examine and determine the rightness or wrongness of a particular action or someone’s character. An example of this is if someone were to make a claim that lying is wrong he/she will have to prove or justify with objective reasons why lying is wrong and the effects it will have. Moral philosophy can be distributed into three separate subject areas: metaethics, normative ethics and applied ethics.

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Metaethics is a field where we try and understand the nature of moral claims and arguments, this subject area begs the questions what is morality itself, what is the source and foundation of moral values, does morality vary from person to person, culture to culture or context to context. Haan, Aerts, & Cooper (1985) for example, argues that individuals’ moral behavior varies because interpersonal demands vary across situations. Haan feels that moral action is “informed and influenced by variations in contexts” and by individuals’ “own strategies of problem solving” when they confront a moral dilemma.

Normative ethics on the other hand looks into moral standards in an attempt to define right and wrong conduct and whether it can be applied universally. The golden rule is a typical example of a normative principle that institutes a single principle to which we judge all actions. Historically this field has been fixated on the prospect of a single moral standard but contrary to this philosophers propose moral pluralism and multiple moral standards.

Applied ethics focuses on specific moral issues and dilemmas. For instance, a person is analyzing applied ethics when he/she discusses the morality of abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, environmental concerns, or homosexuality. Using the lessons learned from metaethics and normative ethics, deliberations in applied ethics try to decide these subjects. According to Meyers Diana, everyone has their own moral principles, these principles differ from individual to individual. For some, it is crucial to consult their own personal philosophies before making any moral decisions. Personal philosophies to some people might often be seen as unclear or undefined. However, they do have forms of moral philosophies they follow or rule by but the might fail to realize the existence of these philosophies.

My effort in this paper is to unravel, examine and bring out my personal moral philosophies and how they affect my actions and decisions on a day to day basis and further down explain the effects of having these philosophies.

Personal Moral Philosophy

Ever since I was able to make a distinction from right and wrong, the concept of morality has been something that I value so much. To be precise, many of the numerous decisions I’ve made over the years I have considered ethical according to my personal moral compass. These values I hold mostly come from the various experiences and times spent with my parents, teachers, mentors and my fellow peers. Additionally, I gathered knowledge on these thing from socialization with the group of people I’ve interacted with an example of this is getting congratulated for greeting people, being welcoming and sharing to name a few on the contrary doing something that would be considered wrong I would be condemned from behaving that way. A person’s moral beliefs, attitudes and values comprise his or her personal moral philosophy, as stated by Forsyth (1980). A moral principle that I hold dearly on how I interact and treat others is The Golden Rule, with its origins mainly found from religious teachings most notable biblical texts it certainly is a proper way to deal with situations when interacting with other people. It certainly needed no further explaining that I should be able to treat others how I’d like to be treated. I find it helpful many at time to step back and think of whether the actions I’m taking towards someone else would go right with me. The challenges associated with this principle is that not everyone holds the same ideals, I for one as well as people who identify as being Idealistic would argue that we should avoid harming other people while individual who are less Idealistic might argue that causing harm might sometimes be essential to yield good. Idealism is not based on an embrace of moral absolutes; but yet it involves values related to altruism and a sense of optimism in considering responses to moral issues.

Through the experiences we undergo the slowly shape and mold your moral values as well as affect the decision you make on a daily basis. A personal example of this is growing up in a single parent family introduced me to the idea of death earlier than perhaps normal, but that showed me the fragility and shortness of human life. Because of those occurrences I saw the need to use the short time I have as wisely as possible as well as seeking happiness which I view as a naturalistic goal imbedded into humanity, the pursuit of happiness some would say. As a result I arrived at various guidelines that will propel me further into my personal pursuit of happiness and a good life, one of which being You Only Live Once simply encouraging me to take chances and calculated risk for the betterment of myself. I’ve experienced great help from in when it came to ethical dilemmas as well as general decision making. Another one of these principle is from the coined from the motto of the popular sports brand Nike in the same light as the one mentioned above “Just Do It”. Just do it for me symbolizes courage in difficult decisions that you have to make, it encourages pursuing something that I have planned and fighting procrastination.

Growing up enjoying science I have always been the admirer and upholder of the scientific process, this process involves the collection of data and drawing conclusions about those data. This has been the framework used by all those in the scientific field to apply objective procedures free from bias and emotion of the scientist in order to obtain objective truths. Ethics is part of the “watchdogs” for science; that is, science can be brilliant simply if its general practitioner conduct their research in harmony with the recognized practices in their fields. These principles can be directly applied to the decisions we make on a daily basis when choosing between two or more options. For instance when I’m at crossroads when trying to make a choice a good practice derived from the scientific process is listing down the good against the bad and thereby make a more objective decision that you will benefit from. This process can be applied universally across all the decisions you will come across and is sure to provide good results as I have experienced. The scientific method requires a hypothesis along with testable premises, which can be verified by others. Ethics can and should be held to these same standards. The only difficult part with regards to ethics is that the testing is done internally through introspection, not externally using matter.

Almost all cultures in the world developed or adopted a system of beliefs and ideological truths that can be defined as Religion. As a result a large number of people derive moral principles from religious teachings and leaders and justifiably so many of these teachings have been proven to improve the quality of life. However, myself being an atheist I would say that these teachings are helpful but I would argue that the framework and source of these religious norms originate from the social nature of humans and not from religious promoters. For example our closest relatives the apes don’t go around killing because they lack the Ten Commandments or a clergy, it is because of their social nature that is exhibited by social living mammals. When Einstein was questioned on Religion and science he expressed the following “For science can only ascertain only what is, abut not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgements of all kinds remains necessary. ” Religion on the other hand, deals only with evaluations of human thought and actions; it cannot justifiably speak facts and relationships between facts, this is why I personally believe that humans do not need religious teachings in our modern society to guide their moral compass. According to David Chapman, in an article about five simple rules of science says: “Consider how Astrophysicist Neil Tyson’s Five Simple Rules (Question authority, Think for yourself, Test ideas by evidence, follow the evidence, remember you could be wrong) are almost entirely opposed to the faith-based belief systems advocated by religions. They ask us to look up to power, not inquire religious doctrine, have unwavering beliefs, remain within a single select belief, and accept that some saint, clairvoyant, or other pious person was able to flawlessly know heavenly truth. ” Nonetheless, some Religious people advance the inquiry, “What is to stop a nonbeliever from killing and thieving? After all, they have no fear of God and no outright ethical code. ” The solution is unassuming: Atheists are capable of leading their own ethical conduct and getting along in the world the same as everyone else.

Another one of my Moral principles is living a simple life. Nature can be often seen as a lazy creator as its creations usually take millions of years to be complete and likewise to experience change, it can also be observed that nature like to take the route with the least resistance as well as one that uses the least amount of energy for example the hexagonal shape used by bees to make bee hives is the simplest and least energy consuming shape the bees could use. It is without a doubt that many of the human inventions over our evolution have been greatly influenced by the established mechanics of nature and nature still does them to some extent better than our technology. It is by the argument above that I follow in nature’s path by using its principle of least resistance and simplicity. This is often quite easy to say rather than implement as life tends to throw at us hardship after hardship and hurdles that you have to jump over. A key way to overcome this is by learning to be comfortable admits chaos this will give you the calm needed to think through difficult decisions as well as ethical dilemmas. This is a great tool that I possess as organizations nowadays value employees that will not operate on impulse and tarnish the organizations public image.

Doing something or making a decision that consequently results in favor of a majority of people coined utilitarianism as opposed to egoism which refers to doing things for the betterment of yourself. As much as the former sounds more attractive, I view myself as an egoist, this is because as much as I value helping others I think that because we have our own lives to run having your best interests at heart first will give you an edge over everyone else. Don’t get me wrong I love helping people but before you go out and start helping others get thing in order you must get your thing in order prior then you will have a better understanding as to how to help others.

Respect has great significance in daily life. As a child I was shown to respect our parents, instructors, and seniors, school guidelines and traffic regulations, family and cultural customs. I believe that respect begets respect meaning if you properly respect a person they are more than likely to respect you back. I believe that to gain respect from others, you have to give it first. I strive to respect everyone I come in contact with, as I know they all might have overcome obstacles or faced tough times to get to where they are today. I don’t assign respect as per status. I have immense respect for my professors, for my peers, and for everyone else who is around me. Growing up in a tight nit African society like Kenya where our cultural values all point to respecting one another it is only natural that these values come down to us using them on a day to day basis, be it thanking or properly greeting the woman selling vegetables at the grocery store to your boss. The ubiquity and importance of reverence and self-respect in daily life fundamentally describes why philosophers, predominantly in moral and political philosophy, have been concerned in these two conceptions. They turn up in a diversity of philosophical perspectives, including deliberations of fairness and equivalence, inequality and oppression, self-sufficiency and agency.

Another source of my moral philosophies is from my mentors. Among the many moral philosophies I derive from my mentors health seems to come up numerous times, mental health has become an epidemic in today’s strenuous and depressing world. Issues of depression and mental health complications seem to just about pop up everywhere in today’s world. These issues have been often ignored in the past when not many realized that mental health can have very serious implication on your physical health and as well as affecting the people around you, to be precise mental health has dire effects in developing children. As a result of awareness on this issues mental health has become a crucial part of my moral philosophies. I believe that having a good level of self-respect, and appreciation one will be ready to properly interact with the people around them and generally keep a positive mood around. The healthier you are, the more capable you are to do hard work. The harder you work, the more likely you are to increase your income. Therefore, to be in ill health can only restrict your ability to produce wealth. Health has become the cornerstone of my personal philosophy. Things like an immaculate diet, exercise routine, sleep patterns, and sobriety (with minor exceptions) are all non-optional for myself.

Conclusion

The end result is, nevertheless, the important query of how to lead a good life cannot be disjointed from the crucial question of how one ought to act morally. I believe that adhering to the mentioned and unmentioned fundamentals of my moral code I’ll be able to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Life always throws at you challenges and experiences that in turn shape and mold my moral compass in order to make decisions that benefit me as well as providing significance to the people around me.

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