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Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

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    In this essay, I will argue that “unreasonable demands” is not a threat to ethics. Simon Blackburn, refers to “unreasonable Demands” arguing for moderate optimism about human nature. The point Blackburn brings forward is what is it better to lie or tell the truth, or does the truth only depend on the situation at hand. Some philosophers like Kant object that “unreasonable demands” is a threat to ethics. Though other philosophers have shared their views on why unreasonable demands is not a threat to ethics which is what I have explained in my argument. The common moral principle is not to lie. Most people “claim” to be in agreement to the moral principle of “one should not lie”. Of course, there are flaws to everything, hence why people lie in when they are in danger or when trying to avoid something.

    These little white lies are told in order to protect oneself and are socially expected and condoned. Although lies are altogether unjust, what about the case of home robbery or a young child cancer patient, lying would be okay at the given time for the safety of your children or self. The demands of ethics are not unreasonable for an individual but, I would argue, it is unreasonable to assume that we could effectively codify and quantify all moral codes. When speaking about the unreasonable moral principles, “ it is unethically wrong to kill cows in-humanely.” “This would be an unreasonable demand for businesses to increase costs of production because it affects one group of people e.g. vegans.” unfortunately there is a situation where the lies are unethically especially in a business setting because the only important factor is the money that is made from the lies.

    In Thomas Nagel Fragmentation of Value, he discusses the different values and conflicts. A few are an obligation, general rights, utility, perfectionism, commitment, and self-interest. Which does constitute with Simon Blackburn, in Ethics: A Very short introduction, both have decisions that are difficult for number of reasons, with unexpected outcomes. The reason they are similar is that in Blackburn’s Short introduction, lies have a negative and positive outcome and Nagel conflicts as well as a negative and positive outcome. An attitude of pragmatism should be adapted to make decisions in conditions of conflict. Nagel states, “… the thing to look for seems to be a single scale on which all these apparently disparate considerations can be measured, added, and balanced.” (Nagel, 131) Well most would reply “That’s all well and good but is it practical?”, the issues is it practical for us to never lie, is it possible to tell the truth at all times without any extension to the truth. “Morality is good for some people, but not everyone has the luxury.”

    Everyone does have the luxury to think in the mindset of someone with a higher income, few worries where their next meal will come from and some can only secure job low-income jobs that have some horrifying immoral jobs that must be done at times to make ends meet. Of course, logical inconsistencies exist in our life which makes us question whether ethics even exist and whether it is just a set of rules that we are made to follow but necessarily do not have to. One would object like Kant believes there is no reason to lie regardless of the situation at hand. He forbidden lies, it is the “central to Kant’s moral scheme that the prohibition remained simple and absolute: no exceptions”. If we were to argue with him in the case of just not allowing lies, that basically perfectly reasonable reaction from anyone mixed up in society, or from dealing with a home robbery, would “well at least it was not me”.

    While also think from the opposite standpoint, the Christianity point of view, if speaking biblically it is a sin to lie, while some lies would help sometimes it is still a sin. “Thou shalt not lie” is one of the 10 commandments, that states “speaking falsely in any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising and designing to deceive our neighbor. 2. Speaking unjustly against our neighbor, to the prejudice of his reputation; and (which involves the guilty of both).” When thinking of Christian ethics or any other religious ethical system they are so demanding which makes it seem very possible to fall short. If the only thing that is inherently good are those God commands then nothing would truly be good. Using the verse Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 10:16 – ‘I will put my laws in their hearts and I will write them on their minds’. God writes laws to be in the heart but also for them to always be on our minds, so in a certain situation we can use God for the guidance in decision making. Different people face different situations with various dominant value.

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