A Challenge for Moral Theories: The War

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Throughout moral theories there are surten problems and difficulties in the matter of applying them. It seems that life turned out to be a little bit more complex than any philosophical system, and within its complexity we shall try to find answers for defining our own nature. What represents the concept of moral theories? The moral theories represent the main sub-domaine of axiology. Also named the moral philosophy, axiology is defined by specialists as the science of moral virtues.

How can we devide the moral theories?

Philosophers which have studied and written about the moral theories can be devided in those who have agreed that an action can be or not named moral by its end and in those who have agreed that an action can be or not named moral if it has or not been made according  to a moral principle, or a moral law. The theories of the fist category of philosophers are considered teleological (“teleo” comes from ancient greeque and it means “the purpose” of an action) and the theories of the second category of philosophers are considered deontological (“deonto” comes from ancient greeque and it means “necessity”).

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What do teleological theories have in common and which are the differencies between them?

All teleological theories have in common the identification of the purpose of our actions and our activities with happiness,but they devide in the matter of sustaining the means of achieveing it in eudaimonist theories, which say that the mean of achieveing happiness is a rational behaviour and that an action can be defined as moral if it is guided by reason, and in hedonist theories, which say that the mean of achieveing happiness is by practicing and cultivating pleasures.

How can it be described Aistotel view of virtue and his moral theory?

One of the most beatiful and complex eudaimonist theory it has been elaborated by Aristotel. The Platon’s disciple,Aristotel lived in the Ancient Greece,in Athena,between 4th and 3rd century b.c., and he has structured his theory in his work, The Nicomahic Ethic. He considered happiness as the supreme good, the final purpose, what it is desired always for itself and never for something alse. The supreme good is given according to Aristotel view by a specifique action which has its base in the nature of the subject. He shows us that like “for the flautist,the sculptor, or any other artisan” the good and perfection are in their works,for a person also, the supreme good can be found in her specifique actions (Aristotel). Aristotel identifies the specifique actions for the human nature in “the activity of the soul and in the acts which obey reason”,”the human specifique good will be the activity of the soul according with virtue”, and if the virutes are many according to the greatest one (Aristotel).

What are the relations between different kinds of virtues in Aistotel view?

As Platon, Aristotel also finds that the greatest virtue is wisdom,which is proper only to the philosopher. But he does not deny the other virtues,such as courage,wit o tuthfulness,since fo Aristotel a human been is a zoon politicon, which needs for developpeing herself a proper environment,a safe and civilised community. And therefor the courage in war and military actions is considered by Aristotel an important virtue,especially for the leader of a community.

What would Aristotel say about the war?Is that a problem for his moral theory?

The act of killing another person without even knowing her could never be moral or specifique human. It is true that the purpose of any war is usually considered a noble one, such as defense, protecting our territory or eliberating other territories, but the costs are sometimes enormouse. Like Jean Paul Sartre says in his work, The existencialism is an humanism,we are entirely responsable for our actions under any circumstances, even in war. The activity of the soul according to virtue,to reason is notcompatible with any kind of murder. Every war,every murder is a fail for humanity, for morality, and so breaveness in war is a rather conflictual virtue. Although our deep sense of morality does not seems to be enough for stoping wars not by another war,but by love, by peace.

 How do other teleological theories resolve the situation of war?

The war seems moral under surten circumstances from another teleological theory   point of view ,the hedonism elaborated by the modern english philosopher, John Stuart Mill.Mill represents the 19 century utilitarianism and his moral theory continues the ancient philosopher Epicur hedonism. Therefor,like Epicur,Mill also devides pleasures in superiors and inferiors, by superior pleasures understanding the pleasures of the spirit and by inferiors the ones of the body. He sustains thathappiness can be achieved by practicing pleasures, but he also says that it is better to be “an unhappy man than a satisfied pig”,”an unhappy Socrate than a satisfied imbecil”(Mill,The Utilitarianism).He elaborates in his theory two main pinciples.The first one is the pinciple of the qualitative differentiation of pleasures which affirms that a pleasure is moral if it brings happiness to more than one person.

The second pinciple is the principle of the bigest happiness which affirms that “a happy life is a life filled as much as possible with pleasures, quantitative and qualitative, and avoided as much as possible of pain”(Mill). Mill is no adept of the pure hedonism, considering superior the pleasures of the spirit for their certitude and higher intensity, neither of the selfish hedonism,a pleasure is better according to him if it bring happiness to more people,and therefor his theory can not be described as godless. We can conclude from Mill’s theoy,structured in his work, The Utilitarianism, that the action of war will be moral if it would bring happiness to more people than the number of people to which it brings unhappiness. Only that these would not stop what the philosopher Hobbes described as “the war of all against all” (Hobbes),and so it is not the moral theory humanity should apply.

Is there any theory which does not admit the war as moral?

The deontological theory represented by the german philosopher,Immanuel Kant,who lived in the 18 century,does not admit any kind of murder under any circumstances. In his work, The critique of the practical reason,he elaborates his moral theory,according to which a behaviour or an action is moral if it respects a moral principle or law and if  it is made only out of duty. Kant describes three types of actions, actions made out of inclination, actions made out of both duty and inclination and actions made only out of duty. According to Kant only the last type of actions is moral. In order to be moral in our actions and our behaviour, we should eliminate from them any kind of inclination or subjectiveness and dedicate them entirely to the others. Furthermore, Kant extends is theory and sustains that our actions should be guided by categorial imperatives, characterised as universal, applyble under any circumstances,and as necessary, not applying them under any cicumstances would make our actions imoral.

Can the categorial imperatives be confonded with the christian laws?

These categorial imperatives do not confond with christian laws or commands.Kant makes us aware that we should always give ourselves imperatives and ty to make them universal and necessary and he also gives us one of the most beautiful categorial imperatives:”Act in the way to use the humanity in your person and in the person of anyone alse aswell always as an end-in-itself and never only as means”(Kant). Therefor, the war,aswell as the suicide are in Kant’s theory imoral.

Beside wars,there are many situations in life to which the moral theories seem contradictory or unapplyble,like avortion,animal rights or euthanasy,how could we apply in our lifes the moral theories? The moral theories pretention of universality has been discoussed and accused as unfounded and unjustifiable while another domaine of the moral philosophy has been created, the apply ethic, which searches resolvations to moral conflictual situations and which  tries to make moral theories applyble in different situations of life.


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