Free Essay: Ethics and the Examined Life

Published: 2023-04-05
Free Essay: Ethics and the Examined Life
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Mental health Ethical dilemma Emotional intelligence
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1112 words
10 min read

The first part of the article covers the first two chapters concerning ethics in section one and subjectivism in chapter two. The first chapter covers the ethical landscape, elements of ethics region, and morality. The beliefs that concern the right and wrong things to do, including values, rules, and principles are referred to as morality. Such ideas help in guiding actions, defining the values, and giving the reasons for the behavior of people.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

In discussing the ethical landscape, the literature piece states that the domain of ethics is significant that is divided into several elements that include descriptive ethics, normative ethics, metaethics, and applied ethics. Descriptive ethics refers to the scientific study of practices and mora beliefs (Joyce, 2019). The aim is to describe the behavior of people as well as their thinking when they are dealing with moral issues and concepts. Normative ethics refer to the study of principles, rules, and theories that guide judgment. The rationale of this type of ethics is that it tries to establish the soundness of moral norms.

Metaethics is the study of the logical structure and meaning of moral beliefs (Joyce, 2019). It takes a step back from the concerns of whether the actions of an individual are right or wrong and asks basic queries about them that include the meaning of an act that is right, how to justify a moral principle and whether the good is the same as desirable. Applied ethics refers to the application of moral norms to specific cases, especially the ones in professional issues that include law or medicine. It involves studying the results that are from applying a moral principle to a particular circumstance.

The elements of ethics include the preeminence of reason. It involves grappling with one's feelings while considering the facts of the situation (Joyce, 2019). One tries to understand the ideas that bear on the case, and it requires critical reasoning where there are considerations of reasons for statements in the question. The logical argument is known to be the essential backbone of reasoning, where the discussion involves a statement to be supported.

Another element of ethics is the universal perspective where it is required that logically follows the moral norms and judgments in line with the universalizability principle that a moral statement applying in one situation may also apply in others (Joyce, 2019). Another element is the principle of impartibility, where all reasons are considered equal, and they should be treated accordingly.

It is such that the welfare, as well as the interests of an individual, are given the same concern as those of others. Individuals need the same treatment despite their differences. The dominance of moral norms is that they stand out in an exciting way to dominate. The aspect of region and morality is that they are inseparable. In most cases, philosophers have reached the conclusion that religion is the basis of morality and that these moral precepts are the things that God says should be done.

Believers are expected to have moral reasoning such that in the case of a conflict, they will use ethics to settle the differences. Moral philosophy is particularly important because it enables productive discourse that involves explaining the moral positions, supporting claims with reasons, and judging the reasoning with common rational standards. The first chapter reveals that the more significant point of doing ethics is the use of critical reasoning for examining the moral life, which can be a useful tool for a believer and non-believers as well.

Subjectivism, Relativism, and Emotivism

The second chapter describes the concepts revolving around subjective relativism, cultural relativism, and emotivism. Cultural relativism refers to viewing an action to be morally right if the culture of an individual approves it (Joyce, 2019). This way, the idea of being morally right or wrong is related to culture. This way, in the culture of an individual, other actions may be ethically correct, while in others, they may be morally wrong.

Subjective relativism refers to viewing an action to be morally right if another person approves it (Joyce, 2019). It shifts from the rightness of an action being dependent on culture to being dependent on an individual. Similar to cultural relativism, an action may be morally wrong according to someone and ethically right according to another. This theory implies that in the event that one is rendering an opinion, there is a chance that each person is incapable of being in error.

If individuals approve an action and that they are sincere in the approval, then the act becomes morally right. It is such that if a person offers the idea that inflicting pain on another innocent person is correct, then the action is morally right. However, it should not be the case because human beings require common sense. They should use moral reasoning to state whether an action is wrong or right in the perspective of the affected.

Cultural relativism requires an individual to provide critical reasoning to the arguments (Joyce, 2019). If the primary evidence for the view fails, it is enough to conclude that there are no good reasons to believe that such a doctrine is correct according to culture. Even so, there are also no reasonable grounds for thinking that the belief is true. Generally, cultural relativism provides a poor job in explaining some of the crucial features in the moral existence of an individual.

Emotivism refers to the commonsense view of moral judgment of ascribing moral properties to things such as the actions of people. The point of view of an emotivist is that apart from expressing one's attitudes and feelings, there is the addition of moral utterances that take part in influencing the attitudes and behavior of people (Joyce, 2019). An example is a suggestion that stealing money is wrong. The statement shows feelings of disapproval and also influences others to have the same feelings towards the act and respond accordingly. Emotivists also maintain that the occurrence of moral disagreements is as a result of conflicts of beliefs (Joyce, 2019). It is the same case when an individual approves that something is right and another says it is not.

Emotivism views that moral utterances can neither be true or false. However, they are ways of expressing attitudes and emotions. The first part of doing ethics suggests that there are different opinions to beliefs because they depend on culture, feelings, individual notions, and religion. However, it indicates that there is a need to use commonsense to provide moral judgment on activities. It is necessary that individuals refer to the influence that a decision will have on an individual.


Vaughn, L. (2019). Doing Ethics: Moral Reasoning, Theory, and Contemporary Issues. Fifth Edition. Teaching Philosophy. W.W. Norton& Company, Inc.

Cite this page

Free Essay: Ethics and the Examined Life. (2023, Apr 05). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism