David Hume’s Moral Skepticism – Philosophy Essay
David Hume’s moral skepticism concluded that an individual’s morals are matters of their feelings about the fact, resulted from ones own experience. This was Hume’s empiricist method. Hume’s argument shifted
philosophy in general from the norm to a radical point of view. Hume believed that the materials of thinking, our perceptions, are derived either two categories our ideads and our impressions. After reviewing Hume’s argument one can conclude that facts have no impact on a individual’s actions and morality never consists in any single matter of fact that could be perceived by reason alone.
Today astonishing achievements in biomedical science and technology have led to an amazing ability to harvest stem cells. The debate over this issue is that of abortion. The opposition of stem cell research argues that the embryo is being destroyed during this process. This issue is one of our society’s morals. It is a promising area of research that can ultimately lead to the cure of many diseases. But why is it immoral to explore a process that can heal individuals suffering from such conditions as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Hume had argued that an individual’s “sentiments and affections,” not reason, is what leads us our actions. One can conclude that this stem cell research is moral because of their feelings about the subject. Not how they “ought” to feel about it, but how they really feel about it. The feelings associated with certain facts change from person to person. One may favor this research because they have personally been affected by it. Society says how we ought to feel about something and it is subjects that encounter this issue will reason it immoral because they have never had previous experience with it.
So an individual who supports stem cell research had deemed it moral because his reason gave way to his “sentiment and affections.” Hume creates a point in that an individual ought to feel a certain way about something but they really feel different due to the impact of our feelings. It is our preception of the subject that creates a division amoung our people.
I agree with Hume in that facts are neutral in determining an action. Somone can know all the facts about this issue but until they experience it personally they will continue to denouce stem cell research as immoral. Yet, when they experience first hand the outcomes and benefits of it their feelings will overpower their reason.
In contrast to David Hume, Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of categorical imperative argued that the individuals are able to make decisions free from ourside forces. We have a free will which acts under the laws of itself. According to Kant, in each of us there is a noumenal reality, and a phenomental reality. The noumenal reality is that of which is unexplainable and unknown. It is everything the mind cannot explain, like an individual calculating how long they will live. It is just not possible, one can only The phenomental reality is that in which is known, or experienced. It is the natural world in which we live in. For instance, like how many days are in a week. The individual knows because they personally experience it weekly.
Moral law of our own will means that we are able to make decisions by themselves and freely. To be subject to moral law of our own will is to question yourself whether or not the subject matter is ultimately good or bad. It is a point in which you decide that something is bad and you will not condem it. For instance, road rage results in many individuals raising the middle finger, but one may be subjected to their own moral law and decide it imoral to conduct such behavior. Moral law from an external source is those laws in which we are subject to by outside forces. It can be one’s society, religion, or family that pronouce what is right and wrong. For example, in the Jewish faith, tattoos are frowned apon. So if the individual wishes to remain a good jew, then they will condem tattoos.
Kant emphasized the way in which the moral life was centered on duty. He believed that duties are created by rules or laws of some sort. For example the laws of a club lay down duties for its officers or city and state laws establish the duties of citizens. So when the subjects of these legislators do something because it is because of their duty to do so. The motivation we have for these duties comes from our own will to do so, if one wished not to conform to the laws, then one can choose not be be part of that city, state, or organization. Kant looks to the motives to see if the motive has true moral worth or not. He does not determine the moral worth on the consequences of an action. According to Kant, if a person is motivated purely by the good will, then does the motive have true moral worth? If the motive of doing inclinations, then the motive does not have true moral worth, even if such a motive brings about happiness for others. Kant isn’t concerned about the consequences of whether your actions bring happiness or not. The problem with motives is that they are always changing. They are never absolute or constant feelings, emotions, or desires. The answer to the question on why there is so much violence and hate in the world is because people’s incentives or motives are based on desires and self-interest and NOT on the good will. So therefore inclinations cannot be relied on for making moral decisions.