Philosophical Perspectives on Religion, Ethical and Moral Values (8)

Three Moral Philosophies:

Paternalists, Consequentialists, and Deontologists provide theories of the ‘will of man and social control’ in society’s evolution. At the heart of these philosophies are differing beliefs. Under what conditions society should demand a man relinquish his free will for the people’s good. And whether he should be judged by the consequences of his actions or the actions themselves. Socrates and Jean-Paul Satre gave the two most famous examples of moral dilemmas.

The Socrates example: 

According to the Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy (, If someone borrowed a weapon from a friend, the borrower must return the weapon, but what if the friend is not in his right state of mind? Huebner, Bryce argues here that there is a conflict between two moral norms: Repaying one’s debt and protecting others from harm.

In Jean-Paul Satre’s example, the student was torn between two kinds of morality: devotion to his mother and desire to defeat an unjust aggressor. One thing common in the two conflicts is that the agent is in a state where he wants to do both but can only perform one of the possible actions. People are often not congratulated for being prudent; instead, they are praised for having social values (Falk, 2008, 232). Everyone feels that a commitment that has only personal grounds is morally inferior. Morality without self-interest or personal reason seems more binding and promising for a better society.

According to (Omoregbe, 1993), standards of moral behavior and norms with which human conduct should conform are guides of human conduct, indicating specific ways of behavior one should avoid and other ways one should adopt. According to (Mill, 1907), individuals should remain in complete control of their lives and choose their paths based on individual circumstances. At the same time, Reid (1981) believes that it is the job of people with strong moral beliefs to guide and protect those that lost their ways.

Paternalist, Consequentialist, and Deontological moral philosophies provide theories on the role of the will of man and social control in the evolution of society. These philosophies have conflicting beliefs regarding relinquishing man’s free will for others’ good or society and whether the consequences of his actions should judge a man. An action is considered correct if it results in happiness − not the agent’s happiness, but ‘the most significant amount of happiness altogether, (Mill, 1907, 16). Actions are right if they promote happiness and wrong if they do the reverse (Mill, 1907, 9).

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