Moraldevelopment and becoming good are two concepts that link closely.Moral development is the process whose final result is a good person.What does it means to become good or virtuous. Virtues fall into twocategories moral virtues, which includes things such as generosity,kindness, and courage and intellectual virtues, which are acquiredthrough education. Aristoteles believes that all human beings areborn blank neither are they good nor bad. The characters that welater develop are shaped by upbringing. These characters can be goodor bad depending on the training we received. This means that parentsplay a great role in bringing one up to become a virtues adult.Aristoteles gives the example of learning to play a musicalinstrument such as a guitar, one must consistently practice. He willstart with the basic note. At first, the child will be stumbling overthe notes but with the daily practice it will seem as though playingguitar is his second nature. Similarly, such a process is involved inshaping a child’s character to a virtuous one. During the firststages, the child will find difficulty but with constant practice, hebecome virtuous and being vicious become extremely difficult. Anotherconcept that comes with becoming virtuous is being able to have soundjudgement. The child will not become virtuous until he is grown oldenough to have sound judgement. To know this is right and this iswrong (Boss25).
Duringthe process of virtue-training come the experience of pleasure andpain. Pleasure directs us to do certain action while pain is thehindrance in partaking in another action.Owing to this, childrenshould be brought up to feel pain and pleasure toward the rightthings. Following proper training one should be able to feel pleasurewhen he behaves well and pain when he behave in bad manner. A goodperson will feel disgust in the prospects of doing a bad thing. Ifhowever the person underwent improper training, he might beexperiencing pain while doing good things and pleasure in doing somebad things.
Accordingto his theory of moral education, Aristotle explains that a virtuousperson’s character in unison whether in public or private. Thisbrings in another idea of hypocrisy. Some people pretend to be goodwhen in public but they are the complete opposite when behind closeddoors. Such kind of people can only improve their character by havinga role model. A person with better characters than theirs.
Accordingto Aristotle, we become better persons by observing the morallyupright people in the society, and making efforts to be like them.This means that one can furnish his behaviour to be more moral.
Virtuesand intelligence are two different things but acquiring virtuesdepends on exercising intelligence. This means that, a person willdeliberately reason in considering the various options and actions tomake deliberate choices that would in the end best fit his humanactions. In line with this, an individual sees faults in hischaracter and perfection in another person’s character. Hedeliberately reasons whether to copy or not, then he decides tobecome like him. In this case, he makes a voluntary action and adeliberate choice.
Aristotle’stheory is centred in four important virtues justice, prudence,courage, and temperance. Justice means giving an individual his dues.Being just means that one is able to comprehend what is good for thesociety and takes a course of action. Prudence means practicalwisdom. It is through prudence that one is able to make soundjudgements. Courage means taking a noble course of action in spite ofthe fear because it is god to do so or is disgraceful not to do so.
Althoughone may make a deliberate choice to become good, it is not alwayssimple. In accordance to Aristotle’s view, it is the weakness ofthe will that hinders the process of moral development. In mostcases, the prospects of pleasure obscure are one’s sight of what isgood.
Thecharacter of a person is greatly influenced by friendship and thegeneral relationship he has towards others. Aristotle argues that inspite of being good, one might not choose to live if he has nofriends. With this come three kinds of friendship. Firstly, afriendship for pleasure comes into play when two people realise theyhave a common interest. Such kind of friendship lasts as long as thepleasure derived from the activity still exists. Secondly, afriendship based on utility For example, an individual may agree toteach another to play tennis at a fee. One of the benefits is bylearning while the other is benefitting financial. Such a friendshiplasts as long as the utility. Thirdly, a friendship for good is whentwo people engage in a common activity for purposes of developingeach other into better people. Such a friendship lasts forever (Boss36).
Moraldevelopment therefore is a process that involves learning virtues,practicing the virtues, having the experience to make good judgementand choices, having a role model, and the kind of friendship we have.
Inthe present time cultural relativism has gained a bad reputation inmost areas and quarters. The theory has conjured the global imageswhere everything and anything goes. It has been noted that whenindividuals open their lives to the probability that the othercultures have valid lifestyles, then it remains a matter of time tosee the practicing these cultures in the street. Therefore, the ideaof regarding an individual as a realist come sound as an insultwithin the academic circles. This raises the question on whatcultural relativism regards the role this theory has played in moraldevelopment of individuals.
Culturalrelativism is ramrodded as the perception that ethical or moralsystem, which may change from a single culture to another are allequally valid with no system being better than the other. The theoryof cultural relativisms is founded on the premise that there is nogood or evil and thus every judgment that one makes regarding what isright and what is wrong remains a society product. This implies thatno ethical position or moral standing that can be regarded as beingright or wrong. The subject of moral development remains challengedin light of the cultural relativism theory given that while moraldevelopment may involve taking a position on a subject being wrong orwith, cultural relativism upholds none of those positions.
Culturalrelativism has remained an extensively held position in thecontemporary world with phrases such as pluralism as well astolerance in addition to acceptance has been provided with novelmeanings following an expansion of the culture boundaries. Anexamination of the society and particularly the American societyreveals that the contemporary society has adopted to apply the use ofany meaning provided that the meaning is justified based onrelativism.
Whilethe American society appears inclined towards embracing of the ideaof cultural relativism, a contradiction of cultural relativism isvery obvious when the society options to embrace the idea andperception of missing or no wrong or right. This in itself makes thesociety to lose the ability to make ethical or moral judgments thatare in most instances influenced by the moral development of anindividual.
Analysethe current state of moral development in most people in America
Themoral development of majority of people in America has beeninfluenced majorly by the adoption of the cultural relativism theory.Close look at the society reveals the way in which the relativismidea including cultural relativisms has penetrated the contemporarysociety. For instance most people are not in a position to make moralor ethical choices evidenced by the way in which they deal withcontradiction. Phrases such as tolerance have been mutilated to meanunwavering agreement and support or having unconditional agreementfor all the lifestyles or opinions. This appears to be the presentstate of the moral development in America with almost none focusingon the need to develop morality as a vital part of enabling thesociety takes a stand. Apparently, while tolerance individuals as perthe watered down definition by relativism, are supported fully, theintolerance are never agreed with or supported.
Examiningthe cultural relativism, it is evident that this cannot overcomelogic override morality that Aristotle suggests as inherent with thehumans or mankind. Instinctively humans are aware that there are somethings that are wrong and therefore the attempt by the culturalrelativists to bend this philosophy to fit their claim of absence ofabsolute good or bad implies an impact on moral development. It isimportant to note that while the view of relativism appears to spreadquickly with the American population, declaring particular actionswrong or very right is nothing compared to constituting laws as oneproceeds. Owing to the nonsensical nature of this philosophy, moraldevelopment implies having some imperative absolute wrong as well asthe irrespective of whether the society has no position following anadoption of the relativism concept.
Inconclusion, this paper sought to respond to a number of questionsarising from the philosophical claims of Aristotle’s and othertheories. The paper attempted to answer the question of whether moraldevelopment was possible, and if Aristotle was correct and that thepurpose for studying ethics was to become good. Examining thecultural relativism theory, which appears to be eroding the need formoral development in humans and in a number of societies, the paperconcludes that moral development is essentially possible. However,there is ethics that is inherent within humans and the idea ofstudying ethics to become good may be true based on a number ofclaims. These include the features of an individual in need of moraldevelopment and the role that moral development plays in moralreasoning. Understanding ethics thus remains core to this process.
Boss,Judith A.: Ethics for Life: A Text with Readings. 6th Ed.,Mc-Graw-Hill, Boston, 2014. Print.