Ethics in Philosophy

Document details
Category: Philosophy Essay
Subcategory: Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy
Words: 3016
Pages: 6

Let's try a thought experiment imagine an ethical discussion void ofthought experiments. Conceivable, yes, but it would be a very confusing(and unenlightening) discussion. Indeed, empirical observation will showus that conversations about ethics are often full of imaginaryscenarios, extended metaphors and, most importantly, thoughtexperiments. Ironically, the most accurate definition of thought experiments israther vague Thought experiments are performed in the laboratory ofthe mind. Beyond that bit of metaphor it's hard to say just what theyare.'' For some, any sort of analogy or metaphor counts as a thoughtexperiment for others, a thought experiment has to be a possibleexperiment that is able to fulfil its aims without physical execution.Generally, a thought experiment is a manipulation of circumstancesconceived with the intention of fulfilling a certain aim which willproduce new insights or raise new queries.The empirical observation that all ethical theories use thoughtexperiments to exemplify or support their viewpoints is a fairlyuninteresting point to make, its implications are interesting. Canthought experiments be sufficient mediums for the construction of moralknowledge?II.The construction of moral knowledge is at best a hazy concept. Ethicsis a mess - try hard as they may, moral philosophers have been unableto formulate a Grand Theory of Ethics in fact, they haven't even beenable to come up with a single determinant for rightness or goodness.Despite this mess, the average layman still speaks of morality,signifying a distinction between the moral philosopher's theories andthe average layman's deliberations. When dealing with a thoughtexperiment, we are forced to exercise our skill of making moraldecisions. Drawing upon an inherent vague guiding sense of right andwrong, we ask ourselves questions such as Is this the right and goodthing to do?'' and Should I do this?'' before coming to a decision,justifying that decision to our peers, and patting ourselves on the backfor a problem solved. Evidently, just as a scientific experiment consists of determining aright method and generating the right results, there are two parts to athought experiment - the justification of the moral...

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