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Philosophy Essay: Does It Make Sense To Say Individuals Can Create Their Own Moral Rules?

1374 words - 5 pages

Encompassing a famous history, morality seems to serve a purpose in our world. So how did it begin? Initially, it was set up in society because our personal moral opinions began to clash with one another, and we needed to understand what is actually meant by something being "right" or "wrong." On this account, it seems that morality by birth, is something beyond individualistic judgements and perhaps universal and objective in nature. On the other hand, Ursula Le Guin's parable "The One's Who Walk Away From Omelas" delineates the conflict that exists between consequentialist and deontological moral considerations, which prima facie tempts us to believe that morality is ultimately subject to one's personal attitudes and values. However, if we delve deeper into ethics, it becomes clear that with any sort of objective grounding for morality, it makes absolutely no sense that individuals can create their own moral rules. Furthermore, any attempts made by various moral subjectivist theories to dispute this claim are flawed on both normative and meta-ethical levels.As we can now see, the answer to this question falls down to the clash between the subjectivity and objectivity of morality. Moral objectivism can be described as "There is a fact of the matter as to whether any given action is morally permissible or impermissible" and this does not solely rely on our individual attitudes. Contrastingly, moral subjectivism generally holds the view that morality is subject to our personal attitudes and there is no moral reality. On this view it may seem, that it makes sense to say that individuals can create their own moral rules, but I will now expose the problems associated with both normative and meta-ethical branches of moral subjectivism.So let us then uphold the view, that it there is sense in saying individuals can create their own moral rules, based on normative subjectivism, that states we ought to do what we feel like doing. One begins to realise, almost anything is now morally acceptable as long as one "feels" like committing the action they commit. So as long as a thief "feels" like stealing money from a bank - he is morally correct in doing so. Surely, this is not the case with morality and such a theory seems to lead to nihilistic conclusions (where there is an absence of all values and hence no moral rules). Similarly, Existentialism (another subjectivist theory) places importance on our human existence and the freedom and responsibility of individuals to make their own decisions. Once again this theory leads to nihilistic conclusions as "everything is now permitted" (Dostoevsky, Fyodor). On this account, Hitler's widespread assassination of Jews would seem morally correct along with almost any other individual action; this supports the nihilistic thought that any action is as good as any other, in which case there are no moral rules . So as we can see subjectivism on a normative level is threatened with nihilism, in which case, it makes no...

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