How to Live Your Life: Moral Epistemology

Essay by jmassimoUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2004

download word file, 9 pages 4.8

Moral epistemology defines our actions as human beings. What we choose to do when presented with a problem or a moral dilemma. If we consistently choose to think of these questions in one particular way, then we have a solid moral epistemology. A system that we know we can rely on when faced with a moral problem. A moral epistemology is how one defines what they believe to be right or good. This system has been articulated by many of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century and each of their systems differs greatly. Although one can believe in a system whole heartedly for one's self, it is wrong to impose such a theory on others. We will examine the moral epistemologies of four philosophers: G.E. Moore, W.D. Ross, R.M. Hare, and John Rawls. When one looks at these philosophers you can almost hear them answering each other's moral epistemologies with objections and concerns.

G.E. Moore begins with a form of "ideal utilitarianism," Ross follows that with his version of "intuitionism," Hare follows Ross with "universal prescriptivism," and finally John Rawls follows Hare with his "theory of justice." Although these are all very viable options for a moral epistemology, one must choose which fits one's life better. It is impossible to be absolutely sure if any of the parts of these philosopher's moral epistemologies is correct. In this examination of moral epistemology we will look at each philosophers system, and then discuss which system works best. Although these four philosophers have developed excellent moral epistemologies, they are all simply suggestions, that have been challenged and defended hundreds of times, and this constant discussion proves that the best moral epistemology is the one that fit's one's life the best.

G.E. Moore believes that in order to find our right...