Ethics for an Individual and Society
Who is a Morally Educated Person??
It is not necessary that a person with a traditional moral upbringing will be moral. Morality, to some extent, is independent of tradition and customs. A person who is told about what to do/not do, cannot be an autonomous rational being. Morality cannot be objective and universal. It has to be derived by each individual, according to the time and circumstances before him.
A morally educated person is able to reach to his autonomous self, and make rational decisions based on particular situation. Such a person has a proper balance of the cognitive, affective and psycho-motor domains of personality. A morally educated person is able to make the right moral choices by sizing up the situation impartially and accurately and has the courage to act accordingly.
Morality guides our actions in a socially beneficial way. It is guided by a concern for life and welfare of the people. However, along with the realization of moral principles, one also needs to have a logical understanding to help oneself to connect to the concerns of the social world. Only when a person is able to connect the world of ideas/principles and world of being, can one become a morally educated individual.
Actual morality consists in bringing actual change in the society. Morality, in this sense, is not limited to the philosophical realm. Rather, it is more concerned with the order in society. Most of the time, morality has an inter-personal dimension which needs to be practiced in relation to other.
A morally educated person feels a concerns for the needs and desires of other persons as one has for one’s own. One develops an emotional commitment to others. However, such attitude cannot be developed by mere intellect. Thus, there is a need to balance the intellectual and emotional development of the individual.
Moral Standards in Society
The distinguishing factor between the civilized and primitive societies is that, the former is guided by the principle of rule of law, as against the ‘survival of the fittest’, which is often observed in the latter. However, even in the modern civilized societies, the legacy of the past continues. Standards of professional conduct are largely derived from the moral codes of the society. Religion also plays an important role in create the moral fabric of the society.
However, with the advent of modern ideologies, like Capitalism and Marxism, there has been a replacement of the traditional moral ideas with the more materialistic ones. This, in turn, has led to an erosion of the ethical and social values. Thus, we see newer forms of human exploitation. Hence, there is a growing concern for ethical standards in the present society.
In the background of this concern, institutions like the United Nations Organization (UNO) were born, to save humanity from destroying itself through wars and conflicts. That is why, the issue of human rights has come to assume a paramount position in the contemporary debates of development and welfare. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of the UNO, lays its faith in humanitarian rights of every individual. The question of human rights and ethical standards is a matter of concern to the whole of humanity. There is a growing attempt to inculcate a consciousness in the public institutions.
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