A) Definition: MORAL AGENT
A being whose actions are capable of moral evaluation.
A competent and reasonably mature human
somebody that has a capacity for making moral judgments and for taking actions that comport with morality.
What characteristics does a moral agent has?
Exist no universal / standard definition of a moral agent
Moral agent possesses three criteria
1) MORAL CONTENT
Two important aspects
- societal rules
- human characteristics
Rules do not exist by themselves, but compiled from the old, new knowledge and experience
Rules include customary rules and reflexive morality
IMPORTANCE OF RULES
Improve the standard of living
Develop intellectual capacity
Protect human life
Defend human rights and people’s welfare
Prevent degradation in behaviour and morals of the society
An individual should have virtuous characteristics / ethical code
Acquired from parental upbringing, religious education and moral instruction
2) MORAL FORM
PRINCIPALISTIC ETHICS: Based on laws and rules that regulates people – important to avoid unrest
ALTRUISM ETHICS: unselfish concern for the needs or interests of others, providing gratification vicariously or from their responses.
SITUATIONAL ETHICS: absolute standards are considered less important than the requirements of a particular situation. The standards used may, therefore, vary from one situation to another, and may even contradict one another.
3) MORAL DIMENSION
Three dimensions: reasoning, feeling and performance – 3Hs principle
Reasoning: thinking and judging (head)
Feeling: emotion and feeling (heart)
Performance: behaviour and action (hand)
3 H Principle
Head -know the good
Heart – love the good
Hand – do the good
Analysis of the three elements:
- to be able to make moral reasoning i.e. to think and judge rationally and freely an essential component in ethical decision making
- to have moral emotions like conscience and sensitivity over feelings of what is wrong or shameful, of anxiety, sympathy, empathy, generosity, love, compassion, motivated by what is altruistic and correct
- such feelings will enable the individual to act morally
- moral emotions are important to control one’s behavior and actions and prevent one from doing anything that is anti-social
- to be able to conduct oneself in a manner that is morally correct, i.e. to act in a fully responsible way, according to one’s ability, in making decision based on careful reasoning and moral emotions
• an individual who possesses moral action but lacks emotion is considered as IMPERSONAL
• an individual who possesses moral action but lacks reasoning is considered as IRRATIONAL
• an individual who possesses moral reasoning and emotion but lacks action is considered as UNSTABLE
MORAL AGENT AND MORAL RECIPIENT
Who can become a moral agent/moral recipient? (Ashmore 1987)
Only human (rational reasoning, free-feeling and emotions)
A person who does something that is immoral is not stupid – insensitive to the suffering of his victim
B) MORAL CONFLICT
Why does conflict happen?
Groups and individuals have collective and personal goals. Differences are one of the reasons why conflict happens though not all differences may cause conflict.
It can be due to :
when one group feels they are better / greater than the...
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