Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Some Criteria for an Adequate Moral Theory

From some notes I made for tomorrow's Phil 1 class I teach (anything else I should add?):

The more plausible a moral theory is, the more it should…

1. Give plausible answers as to which actions are right and which are wrong.

2. Give the right reasons for why an action is right or wrong.

3. Make moral thinking rational in some sense.

4. Help guide us in doing the right thing.

5. Be the sort of thing that can be followed by a perfect human being leading a full human life – it shouldn’t require us to be omniscient or omnipotent.

6. It should be difficult – morality should not be too easy but should be stringent and should set a very high standard for us to achieve. If a moral theory says we aren’t very good people, we should take that as an impetus to improve ourselves not to reject the theory.

7. Allow for error – sometimes we go wrong.

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