The Most Ethical System

Motives that motivate human behavior have been studied extensively across a broad range of social sciences. However, based on the course of history, it is prudent to conclude that the majority of what is actually believed to be true will be found to be either false or imprecise in the future. There is no question that people’s opinions on the best moral framework differ from one another and from culture to culture (Baumane-Vitolina et al. 109). People also assume that certain habits are positive and deserving of praise, while others are not. It is true that people participate in negative habits that are, in most cases, not considered positive. However, there might be particular situations that such behavior might be considered good and tolerated. This paper will present an argument supporting teleological ethics as the best moral system.

Teleology is the explanation of the purposes that phenomenon serve as opposed to the suggested cause, as Aristotle accentuated throughout his philosophy. Aristotle claimed that the best way to comprehend why phenomena are the way they are is to recognize the purpose they were intended to fulfill). For instance, as much as a scientist may cut up a rat to analyze its anatomy, the only way to gain a true understanding of the rat’s body parts is to recognize the function that each organ was designed to perform. Aristotle says “every art, every method, every action and choice seem to aim at some good” (Vermigli et al. 17). This shows that there is a purpose for everything. Therefore, this explanation supports the view that morality is best defined by understanding the outcome of an action.

Teleological ethical theories define morality based on the consequences of an action and not the act itself. According to Baumane-Vitolina et al, “Teleological ethics theories are based on an assumption that a decision behind certain conduct has to be based on an assessment of a respective outcome” (110). This is to say that, from a teleological point of view, all sane human actions are teleological because human beings deliberate about the strategies to be adopted to accomplish a particular goal. For example, when a man is deliberating on how to get some prescribed medications from the drug store during a stormy night, he can adopt many strategies to get the drugs. He can opt to send his son to the store but he decides otherwise because of the possible dangers of the storm such as low visibility. There is nothing naturally wrong with sending the son to the store, but because of the possible consequences of driving in the storm, the act of sending the son to the store at that particular time is morally wrong. This is to say that, moral behavior is goal-oriented.

According to teleological ethical theories, a person’s actions are neither right nor wrong in and of themselves (Baumane-Vitolina et al. 110). In other words, what is of much importance is the potential consequences of human behavior in a particular context. For instance, in the above case, the man may decide to drive to the store on his own, because sending his son may endanger him. However, if the man were involved in an accident, the society would probably blame him for his actions. In this case, the society would consider his behavior irresponsible and not necessarily immoral. An issue only has moral importance in as far as it affects people. Therefore, “…an action itself cannot be good or bad; however, an outcome or an impact of this action upon involved parties can be either positive or negative” (Baumane-Vitolina et al. 110). This means that human actions can only be judged as good or bad, right or wrong when the context under which the decisions were made are considered.

Based on Teleology ethics, human life seems to be structured and directed towards an end just like biological systems. For instance, Aristotle argues that because people are essentially rational, shrewdness is the final goal; therefore, a person highest goal is always to fulfill his or her rationality (Vermigli et al. 18). This argument has a deep impact on how one understands the moral system. It shows that the best moral system is one that emphasizes the end of all action. Therefore, it could be argued that the best moral system is one that is based on an assumption that a choice behind a given behavior has to be founded on an evaluation of a particular outcome. In a sum, Aristotle supports teleology ethics as the best moral system because it is based on an evaluation of a given outcome, which in this case is important (Vermigli et al. 18).

From a teleological perspective, a person’s action cannot be arbitrated to be integrally right or wrong independent of the situation and the probable consequences (Baumane-Vitolina et al. 110). For example, stealing cannot be arbitrated to be intrinsically right or wrong independent of the situation and the probable outcomes. In a case where a person is planning to steal drugs from the neighborhood store, many people would argue that morality requires an assessment of his or her intent. Many moral theorists would contend that the person’s motives behind the behavior be analyzed. Conversely, from a teleological position, motive, in this case, has nothing to do with appropriateness or wrongness of the action (Baumane-Vitolina et al. 112). Therefore, supporters of teleological ethics could argue that it is the best moral system because rightness or wrongness of an act is not based on motives or intent.

According to Teleological ethics, the thing that really matters when determining the rightness or wrongness of an act lies in the probable displeasures and gains that are associated with both short and long-term consequences. Aristotle claims, “All things desire the good” (Vermigli et al. 17). In this manner, human action is determined by the desire to realize good. For example, if the individual above has a sick child, and by stealing the drug, it might prevent the child from dying, then he or she might seriously consider stealing. However, the person would have to ask him or herself if the outcomes would significantly hurt the drug store. At the same time, there are chances that he or she might be caught. If he or she is caught, chances are that the person might end up in jail. If he or she goes to jail, there would be no one to take care of the sick child. Therefore, even if the person’s intention (preventing the child from dying) were good, stealing drugs might still be immoral because there might be other more cost-effective actions that could bring about the anticipated outcomes. Maybe, the person would be better off asking the storeowner to give him or her the drug on credit. In a sum, teleological ethics finds rightness or wrongness in the impact of an individual’s behavior.

Teleological ethical theories allow for flexibility, individuality, and practicality when differentiating morally wrong or right behaviors. For instance, as the teleological system is relative to circumstances, it is easy to use since it puts the intricacies of the human life into consideration during decision-making, such that the option that would result in the most pleasurable consequence is made. This is particularly important due to the dynamic nature of life. Furthermore, teleology qualifies as the best moral system since it advocates for decisions that can benefit the majority. Aristotle says, “Good is that for which all things strive” (Vermigli et al. 20). To this end, teleology is the best moral system.

In conclusion, the paper has argued that teleological ethics is the best moral system because it sees rightness and wrongness in the outcome of an individual’s behavior rather than his or her actual conduct. According to teleological ethics, the best way that a person should realize his or her life is by anticipating how desire and pain would be redirected because of his or her actions. Therefore, it could be argued that teleological ethics is the best moral system because of the belief that all ethically good acts promote pleasure and bad conduct stimulate pain. However, despite the argument that it is the best moral system, some people see it as a logical fallacy. For instance, one might question the foundation of its moral good when it is in the social context. Also, by entirely relying on the outcomes to evaluate morality, some people might question the efficacy of teleological ethics in case there are no consequences.

Works Cited

Baumane-Vitolina, Ilona, et al. “Is ethics rational? Teleological, deontological and virtue ethics theories reconciled in the context of traditional economic decision-making.” Procedia Economics and Finance, vol. 39, 2016, pp. 108-114.

Vermigli, Pietro M, et al. Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Truman State University Press, 2015.

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