Contributions of Moral Thinkers and Philosophers from India and World
Abundant of ancient Greek moral theories are concerned with the good life for human beings, or, in a word, happiness. Ethical thinking is vital part of human history. It can be religious or theoretical or geared toward practical application. Ethical thinkers can be grouped into ancient thinker, moral thinkers from modern world and moral thinkers of India from ancient to present day (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015).
In developing moral standards in their moral theories, the ancient philosophers were depended on several important concepts. These include the virtues, happiness (eudaimonia), and the soul. Philosophers claimed that virtue is a good of the soul. In some ways, this claim is found in many traditions. Many thinkers debated that being moral does not necessarily provide physical beauty, health, or prosperity. Rather, as something good, virtue must be understood as belonging to the soul, it is a psychological good. However, in order to explain virtue as a good of the soul, one does not have to hold that the soul is immortal. On the contrary, ancient moral theory enlightens morality in terms that focus on the moral agent. These thinkers are interested in what constitutes, e.g., a just person. They emphasized factors such as the state of mind and character, the set of values, the attitudes to oneself and to others, and the conception of one's own place in the common life of a community that belong to just persons simply insofar as they are just. A modern might object that this way of proceeding is backwards. Just actions are logically prior to just persons and must be specifiable in advance of any account of what it is to be a just person.
The development of a moral character is a scholarly matter that has been argued for many years. Many philosophers have argued the point of their existence with the puzzlement of this subject. This has allowed the philosophers to approach this topic in several ways. These philosophers are Aristotle (in the Nicomachean Ethics), Confucius (in Analects) and Plato (in Apology, Phaedo). To analyse these philosophers judgementally, it is important to appraise their moral arguments and principles. A moral character is elucidated as an idea in which one is unique and can be distinguished from others. Perhaps it can amass qualities and traits that are different from various individuals. It suggests to the way individuals act, or how they express themselves. It can be said that it is "human excellence," or unique thoughts of a character. When the concept of virtue is spoken, this would emphasize the distinctiveness or specialty, but it all involves the combination of qualities that make an individual the way he or she is. Although these philosophers deviate with their arguments, they have some similar views on moral thinking.
Aristotle is one of influential philosophers whom stressed a virtuous character. He states, “Excellence [of character], then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two evils, which depends on excess and that which depend on defect.” A character is a state, whereas, the actions determine the way the person acts. A virtuous character is not a feeling or mere tendency to behave in a certain way. Aristotle argued about different virtues. Virtues relate to the feelings and actions from each individual. For example, the virtue of a relaxed person may be clarified with bad temper. Additionally, Aristotle argued that people get angry at certain things and redundantly stepping up to what he or she thinks is right. Conversely, as Aristotle affirmed that the deficient of this character is punitive and intolerable. Regardless of any situation, it is unsuitable to become angry when it is not worth it. If doing so, again indicates a deficient non-virtuous moral character. Aristotle also referred to any non-virtuous person by inner doubt and predicaments. Even though the person may be single-minded or inconsiderate, he or she must be able to look out for companions to pardon their actions. Aristotle argued that these spiteful people are not able to believe in themselves. On the other hand, virtuous individuals, gain pleasure in their actions (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015).
Aristotle's principles about moral concept had contrasted with Plato’s attitude. Plato argued that incontinence occurs when a person’s desires move him to progress or act in the way that he or she wants to perform. Numerous studies have indicated that Aristotle differed from Plato in his technique of inquiry and his conception of the role of ethical principles in human affairs. While Plato was the fountainhead of religious and idealistic ethics, Aristotle created the naturalistic tradition. Aristotle’s ethical writings (i.e. Eudemian Ethics, the Nicomachean Ethics, and the Politics) constitute the first systematic investigation into the foundations of ethics. Aristotle’s account of the virtues could be seen as one of the first sustained inquiries in normative ethics. It can be well recognized that Aristotle was a towering philosopher of his time in the arena of ancient Greek philosophy that made contribution to Meta physics, mathematics, logic, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agricultural, medicine, dance and theatre. He was more empirical minded than Plato or Socrates and was famous for disapproving Plato’s moral theory. His ethnical thoughts are still relevant and has influence of virtue ethics. He expanded the notion of happiness through analysis of soul which structures and animates living human organism (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015).
The part of soul are divided as under:
Calculative – Intellectual Virtue
Appetite – Moral Virtue
Vegetative – Nutritional Virtue
The human soul has an irrational element which is shared with the animals a rational coherent element which is distinctly human. The most primitive irrational element is the vegetative faculty who is responsible for nutrition and growth. The second tier of soul is the appetite faculty which is responsible for our emotion and desires. This faculty is most rational and irrational. It is irrational since even animals experience desires. However, it is also rational since humans have the distinct ability to control these desires with the help of reason. The human ability to properly control these desires is called moral virtues and is focus of morality. Aristotle observed that there is purely rational part of soul, the calculative, which is responsible for the human ability to contemplate reason logically and formulate scientific principles. These mastery of abilities is called intellectual virtues.
Major part of Aristotle's moral virtue is the principle of mean. This principle states that moral virtues are desire regulating character traits which are at a mean between more extreme character traits. Most virtue means are categorized between two vices:
Similar to ancient philosophers, Plato upholds the principle of virtue-based eudemonistic conception of ethics. It can be said that human well-being (eudaimonia) is the highest aim of moral thought and conduct, and the virtues are the requisite skills and dispositions needed to attain it (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015). Plato is one of the eminent personalities in the world. Plato's writings such as Apology demonstrate dramatic accounts of the events leading to his death, depict matters of concerns, ethical living, and simplicity of thought and expression.
Plato conversed about philosophy as a way of life. A soul is part of a life, whereas, the soul determines the things we do every day. Phaedo illustrates important arguments for personal immortality. In Phaedo, Plato contended that the soul is "something", rather than a sense of “harmony.” Dissimilar to harmony, the soul exists, which is more active than others. Souls are more righteous, which harmony does not pertain to. Soul pre-exists where harmony does not. Alternatively, if soul is in a group of harmony, all souls would be too, which is not possible. Therefore, soul is a sort of material, which is much enhanced than harmony. Plato also argued that the soul is divided in three parts, and each part is a kind of desire. Correspondingly, these desires are rational, appetitive, or spirited. To be virtuous one must understand what is the beneficial. He or she must have the spirited desires to be educated properly, which will eventually lead to the protection from the soul. Plato exemplified the education of the soul in Books II and III. Importantly, a virtuous individual learns to live by a better environment when he is young, and moves on to create virtuous behaviours. His actions are developed while he is growing and learns why the thing he is doing is good. Once he has learned the good, then he would understand why his actions were virtuous. Plato argued that virtue simply indicates one to act in different ways.
If Plato's conception of happiness is elusive and his support for a morality of happiness seems somewhat subdued, there are several reasons (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015).
First, his conception of happiness differs in noteworthy ways from ordinary views. In his early works his approach is largely negative. Socratic questioning seems designed to undermine the traditional values rather than to develop a positive account of his own.
Second, the positive accounts contained in his later works, especially that of the Republic, treat happiness as a state of perfection that is hard to comprehend because it is based on metaphysical presuppositions that seem both hazy and out of the realm of ordinary understanding. In other dialogues he confines himself to intimations of different aspects of what is good in and for the soul, intimations that are hard to fit together in a coherent picture. There is not, as there is in Aristotle, much talk about happiness as a self-sufficient state of the active individual.
Third, in crucial texts Plato's moral ideals appear both austere and self-abnegating. The soul is to remain aloof from the pleasures of the body. Communal life demands the subordination of individual wishes and aims.
Major problem to appraise Plato's ethical thought are that it was subject to various modifications during his long life. In Plato's early works, the so-called Socratic dialogues, there are no indications that the search for virtue and the human good goes beyond the human realm. This changes with a growing interest in an all-encompassing metaphysical grounding of knowledge in Plato's middle dialogues, a development that leads to the positing of the ‘Forms’, as the true nature of all things, culminating in the Form of the Good as the transcendent principle of all goodness. Additionally, moral values presume an appropriate political order that can be maintained only by leaders with a rigorous philosophical training. Though the theory of the Forms is not confined to human values, but incorporates the whole of nature. Plato at this point seems to assume no more than an analogy between human affairs and cosmic harmony. The late dialogues, by contrast, display a growing tendency to see a unity between the microcosm of human life and the macrocosmic order of the entire universe. Such holistic tendencies would seem to put the attainment of the requisite knowledge beyond the boundaries of human understanding. But although Plato's later works do not demonstrate any readiness to lower the standards of knowledge as such, he acknowledges that his design of a rational cosmic order is based on conjecture and speculation, an acknowledgement that finds its counterpart in his more pragmatic treatment of ethical standards and political institutions in his late work, the Laws.
Lastly, Plato's philosophy is not a systematic treatment of and commitment to basic principles of ethics that would justify the derivation of rules and norms of human interaction in the way that is expected in modern discussions. Nor is there a fully fleshed-out depiction of the good life. Instead, Plato mainly confines himself to the portrayal of the good soul and the good for the soul, evidently on the assumption that the state of the soul is the condition of the good life, both necessary and sufficient to guarantee it.
Abundant of literature have documented that Plato’s theory defended moral realism and offering an objective ground for moral truths. From the Republic on through the later dialogues and epistles, Plato constructed a systematic view of nature, God, and human from which one derived one’s moral principles. His main goal in his ethical philosophy was to lead the way toward a vision of the Good (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015).
Moral Thinkers from Modern World
Confucius is another renowned personality that has been relative to the modern development of a moral character. Confucius was deeply involved in thinking about the concepts of human compassion and the development of a character. His lessons were basically full of ethnics on human behaviours. He discussed more on the kindness of human rather than spiritual concepts. To explain his ethics, Confucius was famous for insisting things with a name. In another words, Confucius maintained that things must be clear to one’s mind in order to function properly in an environment. The Analects written by Confucius notes the philosophies of virtue and the righteous of human kindness and the way to successful humanity. In XV.8 of the Analects, Confucius stated that “The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of humanity. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their humanity. “Confucius argues that the life of an individual is to protect one’s virtue. The acts of that individual must be preserved to act to the good. Another saying that substantiate Confucius argument is IV.25 (Eastern), it states, “Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbours.” However, in the western philosophical view, Aristotle maintained that the view of virtuous activity exposes how the person contributes to a great life. Actions are important when one live peaceably with another. Confucius continues to seek for knowledge. He seemed to be very petty, unfriendly, and small-minded. Additionally, he can be mature, studious and caring. This can be consistent with Plato’s views. Most societies and culture strives for goodness, and leaders have his or her basic commonalities for personal behaviour. Confucius, wanted to spread the wisdom to everyone. He wanted everyone to be well, not just himself. The beliefs of Confucius is still predominant in contemporary period. He believed that the educated aristocracy and the rulers had an obligation to set a good example and that morals and good control were essential for wellbeing of society. He assumed that society should be ruled by compassion and persuasion instead of threats of penance. According to the lessons of Confucius, a "good official" had to have five virtues which were good etiquette and manners, kindness and compassion, honesty and sincerity, righteousness and strong family values.
Confucius's major contribution to the culture of China was in the arena of education. In ancient times, only the noble society were permitted to education. Confucius believed in education for all irrespective of social status. A student had to find a good teacher and follow his actions and words. The student had to have a keenness to learn and attain good values.
As an educator, Confucius anticipated his students to learn with understanding and not through insight. He taught them about good governance, proper speech and sophisticated arts and good values and stressed the need for ethics. He wanted to equip his students for public service. Confucius aimed at educating idyllic individuals to bring about an ideal social order. Through his beliefs on education, he aimed to bring about a social reform. He wanted society to live in a state of harmony through moral standards. His procedures of teaching were distinctive and his ideas are still followed after all these centuries, in China’s modern system of education. Confucius had a well-organized social viewpoint. In the area of politics and administration, he thought that compassion, light taxes would lead to perfect society. His philosophies created to a new social system in China. The political values that Confucius spoke about and his theories are still valued in Chinese civilisation.
Confucius supposed that strong family values, with mutual respect and family loyalty were vital for a stable society. He stressed the significance of seniority and the need to pay respects to ancestors.
John Locke was prominent British philosopher of the 17th century, who had given contribution in numerous fields of thought such as politics, economics, medicine and education. He devoted 30 years of his life to explore the facts on epistemology (or the theory of knowledge). Through his work, it can be perceived that he always used reason to find the evidence for any proposed idea, and distinguish between legal and illegal practices of both individuals and institutions.
John Locke composed important texts that ranged from political to educational and from religious to matters concerning the natural human rights. In his Thesis Concerning Human Understanding, he attempted to determine the limits of human understanding by developing the empirical theory of knowledge, and disproved Descartes theory that ideas are innate in the human intellect. He assumed that all knowledge comes through experience, from external and internal sources of sensation and reflection, and that the human mind on birth is a blank slate, on which all experience in life, moral principles, and whatever perceived through the senses are written. Major philosophical work of John Lock, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, is generally seen as a crucial work of seventeenth-century empiricist epistemology and metaphysics. The moral attitude developed in this work is rarely taken up for critical analysis. Many scholars of Locke's thought his principles were too vague and confusing to be taken too seriously. The view is not only seen by many critics as incomplete, but it carries a degree of rationalism that cannot be made reliable with the arch-empiricist of his period.
He contended that if inherent ideas existed, they would be present in children, those who have never had any education, or the savage. He also held the faith that humans acquire knowledge during their lifetime, but it is not possible to know something that they are not conscious of. This theory of empiricism has been a prevailing part of British philosophy and a principle on which experimental science has based its discoveries ever since. As for human nature, Locke divided it in three groups.
- The idealists, who consider that reality can be found only in thought.
- The materialists, who held that reality exists only in matter.
- The dualists who agree that reality can be found both in thought and in matter.
Concerning his own acceptance of God, Locke who considered himself a dualist and stated that he recognized God as the vital source of thought, which was at the same time the proof for his existence.
Besides philosophies on human nature, Locke also articulated robust views on government and affected the economic thought through his notion of property rights. In his writings, two Treatises of Government, which a century later was the motivation behind the American Declaration of Independence. Locke, who was not a supporter of disorder, tried to prove wrong the authoritarian and totalitarian philosophy, as it was expressed in Patriarcha by Sir Robert Filmer, and in Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. Locke observed man as naturally moral, and the only reason man would keenly accept to enter an organized civilisation and surrender their personal power to the government, would be to secure themselves against foreign force, and to be protected by the bravest members of the community in case of attack or war. He overruled the theory of "myth, mysticism, and mystery" in government, and developed his principle on natural law and natural right, the public welfare, and the justice of the laws and regulations that concerned the obligations of the peoples. He was also against the "divine right" of kings and emperors to exert subjective power on their subjects, and tried to set the restrictions of governments, with the consent of the people and the maintaining the basic human rights to life, peace, quiet, and property.
Though it is a fact that John Locke's dialog of morality in the Essay is not as well-developed as many of his other views, there is reason to think that morality was the driving concern of this great work. Locke defined morality is the one area apart from mathematics where human reasoning can accomplish a level of rational certitude. For Locke, human reason may be weak with regards to our understanding of the natural world and the workings of the human mind, but it is exactly suited for the job of figuring out human moral responsibility. Appraising Locke's moral philosophy, as it is developed in the Essay and some of his earlier writings, it can be established that Locke's moral philosophy offers us an important paradigm of seventeenth-century natural law theory, perhaps the leading moral view of the period.
It can be perceived that John Locke had a deep influence not only on English, but also on European and American political, economic, and philosophical thought. His thoughts helped to shape the course of the Age of Enlightenment and became a source of motivation for the inventers of the French revolution and the founding personalities of the new Independent American nation.
Thomas Hobbes, was recognized for his visions on how humans could prosper in harmony while avoiding the dangers and fear of societal conflict. His experience during a time of disturbance in England influenced his feelings, which he wrote in The Elements of Law (1640); De Cive (On the Citizen) (1642) and his most famous writing, Leviathan (1651). Hobbes died in 1679 (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015). The understanding of many of Hobbes’ philosophical ideas mainly depends on the attention one pays to a group of different factors such as his education, his travels around the countries of continental Europe, the protection that the aristocratic Cavendish family offered him.
Hobbes's moral philosophy has been less persuasive than his political philosophy, in part because that theory is quite unclear to have garnered any general consensus as to its content. Most researchers have taken Hobbes to have affirmed some sort of personal relativism or subjectivism, but views that Hobbes espoused divine command theory, virtue ethics, rule egoism, or a form of projectivism also find support in Hobbes's texts and among scholars. Because Hobbes held that "the true doctrine of the Laws of Nature is the true Moral philosophy", differences in interpretation of Hobbes's moral philosophy can be traced to differing understandings of the status and operation of Hobbes's "laws of nature", which will be discussed below. The previously prevailing view that Hobbes adopted psychological egoism as the foundation of his moral theory is currently widely rejected, and there has been to date no fully systematic study of Hobbes's moral psychology.
Adam Smith was also an influential thinker of his time. He stated that moral distinctions depend wholly on sympathy. We approve in others what corresponds to our own tastes and habits and we disapprove whatever is opposed to them (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015). Smith is popular for his two classic works: The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776).
Smith differentiated two kinds of normative guides to action: rules and virtues. Moral rules shaped on the basis of our reactions to specific instances, barring certain especially egregious kinds of behaviour murder, rape, theft and provide a framework of shared expectations for society. They are essential to justice, especially, without which societies could not survive. They also allow people who are not fully virtuous to behave with a minimum of decorum and decency, and help all of us cut through the "veil of self-delusion" by which we misrepresent our situations to ourselves. Virtue needs more than simply following moral rules, however. Emotional dispositions of people need to be re-configured so that we do not merely “affect” the sentiments of the impartial spectator but "adopt" those sentiments: identify ourselves with, become, the impartial spectator, in so far as that is possible. Smith gave more a virtue ethics than the rule-based moral systems that was identified with Kant and the utilitarian. Nevertheless, he also incorporated some of the intuitions that generated these other systems.
But Smith's moral philosophy has been blamed of three major shortcomings. First, it provides vague procedure for deciding which actions people should take in specific circumstances, no guidelines for how they can tell, in specific cases, what the impartial spectator has to say. Second, the impartial spectator seems too enmeshed in the attitudes and interests of the society in which it develops for it to be free of that society's biases, or to help us care impartially for all human beings. Third, even if Smith's analysis of moral assertions is correct, even if it is true that moral judgments in ordinary life consist in attempts to express how an impartial spectator would feel about our conduct, it remains uncertain what justifies these judgments.
Ralph Cutworth was an English philosopher and theologian and representative of a 17th century movement known as Cambridge Platonist Three types of work of Ralph Cutworth, The true intellectual system of the universe, A treatise concerning Eternal Immutable Morality and A Treatise on Freewill together constitute the most complete available exposition of the Platonist world view. The Platonists constructed a natural theology supporting the concept of free will and the opposing the materialism of Thomas Hobbes. To its member, there was no natural divide between philosophy and theology. To support this agenda, Cutworth devoted himself in developing a model of the universe based on the vast body of both ancient and contemporary sources. His ontology was based on Neoplatonism and involved a world soul he called plastic nature. His epistemology was amended Platonism where the essences were served as the standard of rationality, ordering both mind and the universe were innate to God (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a French philosopher and author of the Age of Enlightenment. His Political Viewpoint, particularly his creation of social contract theory (or Contractarianism), greatly impacted the French Revolution and the development of Liberal, Conservative and Socialist theory. He was a wonderful, undisciplined and unconventional philosopher throughout his bright life. His views on Philosophy of Education and on religion were equally contentious but nevertheless powerful. He is considered to have conceived modern autobiography and his novel "Julie, ou la nouvelle Heloise" was one of the best-selling imaginary works of the 18th Century. He also made major contributions to music, both as a theorist and as a composer. Rousseau saw a essential divide between society and human nature and believed that man was good when in the state of nature (the state of all other animals, and the condition humankind was in before the creation of civilization), but has been besmirched by the artificiality of society and the growth of social interdependence. This knowledge of the natural goodness of humanity has often led to the ascription the idea of the "noble savage" to Rousseau, although he never used the expression himself and it does not adequately render his idea.
In the Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts and in the Discourse on the Origins and Foundation of Inequality, Rousseau acclaimed ignorance (both that of the savage and that of Socrates) and censures learning (i.e., the sciences and the arts) for the moral corruption that it has imposed upon his age, yet he confessed that the arts and the sciences are good in themselves. Rousseau proposed a less sensational account of these negative effects of learning and a deeper account of the benefits of ignorance in the Emile. Rousseau recognized inequality is major problem of modern social life. In contemporary society, individuals are forced to compete with each other for scarce resources. The result is a growing inequality as victory goes to the strong, and the reduction of the weak to a condition of dependence. The physical inequality related with the ‘harsh yoke of necessity’ comes to be overlain and exacerbated by a ‘conventional’ or artificial inequality which issues from the antagonistic, exploitative relations in which human beings are entangled. Where once human beings in general were subjected to a single form of physical necessity and dependence, now they come to be split into two groups, strong and weak, masters and slaves. Rousseau differentiated between two kinds of inequality, the one natural or physical, the other moral or political.
Rousseau talked about human beings in a state of nature. Here, human beings live in an animal state at the level of pure sensation, seeking to satiate the basic needs of food and rest in the immediate environment. Human beings in a state of nature, therefore, lack the supernatural, social, artificial characteristics of the cultured human being. In this immediate, primitive existence the problem of evil does not arise. The state of nature is an unprincipled existence in which consciousness is limited. Rousseau's Natural Man portrays a non-alienated condition of being in which the individual ‘lives with himself’, ‘always has all his powers at his disposal’, ‘and carries himself whole and entire about him’. Thus, the modern world, in which individuals were alienated from each other from their selves, ‘is by no means the original state of man, but just the state of society, and the disparity which society produces, that alter and transform man’s natural feelings’ and destroy the original unity and wholeness of being. The condition of self-estrangement could only be understood through the social functions it has served throughout history. Thus Rousseau validates the extent to which both the ascriptive statuses of traditional society and the achieved identities of modern society operated to prevent individuals from being themselves. Rousseau also demonstrated how both forms of self-estrangement served to support and legitimise the inequalities particular to these societies. Rousseau denied that discontent had its origins in human nature and was therefore a constant force in human history. Dissatisfaction played no role at the start of history. Discontent developed to become the most powerful human motivation only in time.
In short, Rousseau is mainly concerned to assert this immorality. He squabbled that any human being created by a good God must also be good. This goodness is a state of natural and passive innocence. Rousseau disclaimed Hobbes’ argument that human beings are innately wicked and violent. Hobbes’ poor view of human nature forms the basis of an absolutist political system.
Immanuel Kant was also influential philosopher of 18th century. He was one of the earliest philosophers belonging to the enlightenment tradition, and often considered the father of German Idealism. Kant is popular in modern time for his contribution of his moral philosophy instead of developing dogmas of metaphysics and epistemology (Rohlf 2010). His contributions to the field of life-extension, however, remain almost completely unexplored, despite the fact that certain claims made in his Theory of Ethics debatably qualify him as a historical precursor of the modern social movement and academic discipline of life-extension.
Kant's theory is based on a deontological moral theory. This theoretical model stated that the rightness or wrongness of actions does not depend on their consequences but on whether they fulfil our duty. Kant believed that there was a supreme belief of morality, and he referred to it as The Categorical Imperative. Kant argued that a person is good or bad depending on the motivation of their actions and not on the goodness of the consequences of those actions. Kant debated that one can have moral worth (i.e., be a good person) only if one is inspired by morality. It can be said that if a person's emotions or desires cause them to do something, then that action cannot give them moral worth. This may be strange but there is good reason to agree with Kant’s philosophy. Kant employs his justification of the subsistence of metaphysics as a discipline in his ethical philosophy.
In abundant of theoretical studies, it is revealed that Immanuel Kant utilized practical reasoning in his moral theory and proposed that there exists only one moral obligation; categorical imperative. This obligation is resultant from the concept of duty, and described the categorical imperatives as the demands of moral decree, and further accentuated that an individual's behaviour ought to live up to the moral laws. These categorical imperatives should be the constitution governing all men, they should be the principles of human life. Kant argued that all moral duties inherently expected of humans stem from these categorical imperatives, and it methodically follows that human obligations are put to the test. He stated that employing these imperatives, an individual regarded as coherent could be able to achieve specific ends using certain means. Kant's categorical imperative forms the basis of the deontological ethics. The vital principle of the metaphysics of morals hypothesizes that moral law is a base or foundation of reason in itself and it does not have to be influenced by other contingent factors. Main flaw of Kant's moral theory is that it fails to mention the role of human desire in the choices individuals make. Kant' theory prospers only in emphasizing moral versus immoral human actions, and specially makes it easier in making choices that absolutely involves evil versus good. It does not offer insight into what an individual should do in case he or she is faced by two evils, and he or she has to make a choice between the two.
Basically, Kant wanted to explore the rational principle that would stand as a categorical imperative grounding all other moral judgments. The imperative would have to be categorical rather than hypothetical, or conditional, since true morality should not depend on our individual likes and dislikes or on our abilities and opportunities.
John Stuart Mill was eminent British philosophers of the 19th century whose literatures on political and social theory, and political economy still have significance. He was initially a supporter of Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism, but later rejected all thoughts that avert the pursuit of spiritual growth and warned on the dangers of democracy as “tyranny of the majority”. Mill's Utilitarianism is a more sophisticated ethical theory compared to Kant's analysis of the metaphysics and its use in proving what is right and what is wrong. Mill's utilitarian ethical theory offers a rule that illumines this dilemma. Utilitarian theory supports Machiavelli's 'the end justifies the means'. According to the utilitarian view, the end of human action, is necessarily also the standard of morality. The greatest happiness principle suggests that humans should intrinsically choose the option that gives them the most happiness. Mill developed a world where the happiness of humans is judged. Mill believed that the best happiness is realised when everyone is happy; the absence of suffering and pain. He also considered that true happiness must be moral or knowledgeable in nature. Physical happiness does not qualify as true happiness. Happiness is greater than feeling of contentment.
Mill described the moral sciences as those areas of study that has relation with human dispositions, character, and action, extending from psychology to social science. The notion of social science knowledge that he presents has had profound impact on consequent thinking about "scientific" social analysis and is worth examining again. Mill developed a general idea of science that was derived from the best current examples of progress in the natural sciences, and he applied this vision to comprehend human and social phenomena logically. According to his revelation, science consists of the discovery of general causal laws based on systematic empirical observation. It sets the framework for a positivist conception of social science, and it prepares a charge of "Not scientific" to social scientists who deviate from these central positivist doctrines.
Mill discussed different forms of happiness, high and low happiness. When an individual experiences both forms of happiness, he or she develops a liking of one over the other. Mill pronounced that simple pleasures are preferred by individuals who have not experienced greater ones. Nonetheless, he still holds that higher pleasures are really valued. Because happiness predetermines human desires, it is only logical that our actions are determined by will and will to be happy. Mill however postulated that the realization of human desire can at times be subjective to the will of an individual or an individual's habit. Mill's utilitarian covers more on human motives as compared to mere tolerance. Every intrinsic human desire is a derivative of elementary human desires to be happy or achieve gratification. Sometimes the chase of basic human pleasures may result in pain as a result of sacrifices humans consciously or subliminally make. Such sacrifices for the sake of happiness in the end are fully vindicated.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was popular systematic philosopher in the history of Western philosophy. In addition to epitomizing German idealist philosophy, Hegel bravely appealed that his own system of philosophy signified an historical culmination of all previous philosophical thought. Hegel is best known for his attempt to elaborate a systematic account of reality. Hegel called this reality the Absolute Spirit. Hegel used the dialectic for a different purpose than arriving at first principles. Supporting the dogmas of Kant, Hegel believed that people do not perceive the world or anything in it directly and that all their minds have access to ideas of the world that is images, perceptions, concepts.
Hegel's overall encyclopaedic system is categorized into the science of Logic, the philosophy of Nature, and the philosophy of Spirit. Main interest are his opinions on history, society, and the state, which fall within the realm of Objective Spirit. Some intellectuals have considered Hegel to be a nationalistic apologist for the Prussian State of the early 19th century, but his importance has been much broader. Hegel himself considered his work to be a manifestation of the self-consciousness of the World Spirit of his time. At the core of Hegel's social and political thought are the concepts of freedom, reason, self-consciousness, and recognition. There are important influences between the metaphysical or speculative articulation of these ideas and their application to social and political reality, and it can be established that the full meaning of these ideas can be grasped only with an understanding of their social and historical quintessence.
When comparing philosophies of Kant and Hegel, it is found that Hegel assumed that the ideas we have of the world are social, which is to say that the ideas that we possess individually are utterly shaped by the ideas that other people possess. Our minds have been shaped by the judgements of other people through the language we speak, the traditions and mores of our society, and the cultural and religious institutions of which we are a part. Spirit is Hegel’s name for the collective consciousness of a given society, which shapes the ideas and consciousness of each individual. Hegel visualized that spirit evolve according to the same kind of pattern in which ideas might evolve in an argument, namely, the dialectic. It can be established that Hegel perceived human societies evolving in the same way that an argument might evolve. An entire society or culture begins with one idea about the world, which naturally and irresistibly evolves into a succession of different ideas through a dialectical pattern. Since Hegel thought that this succession is logical, meaning that it could only happen one way, he thinks that we can figure out the entire course of human history without recourse to archaeology or other empirical data, but only through logic.
Basically, Hegel's philosophy of history highlighted the development of freedom and the consciousness of freedom over the course of world history. For Hegel, this development is marked by conflict and struggle, rather than smooth uninterrupted progress, and is manifested for the most part in political developments construed broadly, including world-historical events such as the French Revolution.Karl Marx:
In the 19th century, Karl Marx emerged as great philosopher, social scientist, historian and revolutionary visionary. Although he was disregarded by researchers in his own lifetime, his social, economic and political ideas gained rapid recognition in the socialist movement after his death in 1883. Karl Marx is one of the most contentious philosopher of the twentieth century. As one of the original minds behind communism and a fundamental revolutionary, he is popular as a radical and somewhat dangerous political thinker.
In modern period, almost half the population of the world lived under commands that claim to be Marxist. This very success, however, has meant that the original ideas of Marx have often been altered and his meanings improved to a great variety of political situations. Additionally, the fact that Marx deferred publication of many of his writings meant that is been only recently that academics had the opportunity to appreciate Marx's intellectual stature.
Karl Marx's concept rests on the fact that the production portion of Capitalism signalled great trouble. He believed production in Capitalist society worked in a way that the rich factory owner promoted and the poor factory workers lost. In his description of reasoning, the Capitalist system was innately meant to benefit the rich and exploit the poor. “All the middleclass economists are aware of that production can be carried on better under the modern police than on the principle might make right. They overlook only that this principle is also a legal relation, and that the right of the stronger succeeds in their 'constitutional republics' as well, only in another form.” Marx held that in a cultured society production would occur among individuals. This production would be aimed to fulfil the needs of the individuals in the society. Marx opined that in production, men not only act on nature but also on one another. They produce only by co-operating in a certain way and mutually exchanging their activities. In order to produce, they enter into definite connections and relations with one another and only within these social connections and relations their action on nature take place."
Marx adopted a historical materialist outlook of society and the world. He believed that humans create change in their lives and in their environment through practical activity in the practical world. In this philosophy, it follows that Marx supposed that practical activity in the practical world leads to the desire to meet the needs of people in civilisation. The need to meet society’s individuals’ desires leads to production. Marx recognized the four-part economic process, production, distribution, exchange, and consumption. In this way “Production creates the objects which correspond to the given needs; distribution divides them up according to social laws; exchange further parcels out the already divided shares in accord with individual requirements and lastly, in consumption, the product steps outside this social movement and becomes a direct object and servant of individual need, and satisfies it in being consumed."
Marx's labour theory of value included labours itself and he gave the name labour power. This is the employee’s capacity to produce goods and services. In order to produce, a worker must be fit to do so; this means that he or she must be clothed, sheltered, fed, and rested before he or she will be able to correctly complete the job. Marx specified that the hours it would take society to feed, clothe, shelter, (etc.) the workers that he or she is fit to produce, should dictate the worker’s wage. Marx was drawn towards politics by Romantic literature and his earliest writings exemplify an idea of reality as subject to tempestuous change and of human beings as realizing themselves in the struggle for freedom. His identification with these elements in Hegel’s thought brought Marx to associate himself with the Young Hegelians. Marx’s principles on morality and ethics has been a matter of substantial dispute. One prevalent view is that Marx had no ethics, he disproved morality, and envisioned a communism beyond both. Marx believed in a science which sought in an objective, morally neutral manner to understand the origin, growth, and collapse of capitalism as well as the ultimate succession of communism. Marx's revolution in philosophy explicitly renounced the normative tradition of philosophical ethics while sustaining the heritage of positive science (Hodges, 1962).
It is established that Marx used his dialectical philosophical principles to comprehend modern society in order to observe the nature of social change. The principal idea of Marx's dialectical technique is the objectively existed contradictions to historical changes (Ritzer and Goodman, 2004). Derived from Hegel's dialectic philosophy, Marx thought that there are inconsistencies as dynamical forces existed in the whole process of social development. He was able to link this idea to the analysis of contemporary society, which considerably helped him to perceive a certain incongruity between human nature and the capitalist labour. Alienation. Marx (1967, Pp: 56) described it, the object confronts as something alien, as a power independent of the producer. This realization of labour appears as loss of reality for the workers." He assumed that under capitalist market, the labour could be no longer creative but separated from human nature. Workforces no longer work for their own needs but for the capitalists and they have to pay for the products produced by them in order to maintain routine life.
Marx offered a critical analysis of the structure of the modern society with a restructuring of economic base as the deterministic cause to philosophy. From his observations of the social, economic, and political environments into consideration, Marx visualized the society as a certain system composing two distinctive components, the base and the superstructure. The base refers to material base taken form of the economic and class relations which always involves the mode of production, while the superstructure means other social organizations and prevalent ideas such as state policies (Fulcher and Scott, 2007. One of Marx's best summary of the internal meaning of this structure is that, "The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, which is the real foundation on top of which arises a legal and political superstructure to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness"(Ritzer and Goodman 2004, p. 150). It is observed that Marx whispered that the superstructure is established upon the economic foundation and human culture and ideas are transformed according to the economic changes. Nevertheless, although the political ideas seem a systematic reflection through Marx's analysis of social structure, when comes in but in the context of capitalism, he also indicated that the society is not just simply an economic system but also a political system as a "mode of exercising power" and a "process for exploiting the workers" (Ritzer and Goodman, 2004). This idea can be assumed as that the economic base is the centrality determining the other forms of social existences, which, however, highly varies from the opinion of Max Weber.
Marx was able to forecast the future of capitalism through his view of historical materialism. David Caute (1967, p12) debated that Marx's thinking provide a general analysis of the past, present, and future. Politely, Marx visualized the present modern society through its historical past and tried to predict its future through the current social trends. It was well described that in theoretical literature, Marx believed that human history is a process of class conflicts and social change takes form of class struggles. Facing the modern society, Marx designated that the society has been polarized into two classes such as bourgeois and proletarians. He (Marx and Engels, 1848) contended that capitalism had played a revolutionary role in the social development from the feudal relations to the modern relations, improving production and consumption, and bringing progress to the world. Nevertheless, he considered the supremacy by bourgeois towards the working class as an irrational and "inhuman" process, which would only be changed through the proletarian revolution to reach a new mode of production called communism. Positively, Marx supposed that this communist society would establish a more advanced production and there would be no exploitation, no alienation any more (Fulcher and Scott, 2007).
Socrates was a philosopher of Athens, generally considered as one of the intelligent people of his time. His style of teaching immortalized as the Socratic Method involved not conveying knowledge but rather asking question after clarifying question until his students arrived at their own understanding. Socrates had deep interest in understanding the limits of human knowledge. Socrates differ significantly between two extremes. At one side, Socrates claimed to know nothing about virtue and confines himself to asking other characters questions; this is found in the Apology and in certain dialogues most of which end inconclusively. These dialogues, e.g., Charmides, Laches, Crito, Euthydemus, and Euthyphro, are called aporetic. Another side of his views, Socrates explained positive teachings about virtue. In this respect, Socrates generally asks questions only to elicit agreement. These dialogues are didactic, and conclusive in tone, such as Republic, Phaedo, Phaedrus, and Philebus. However, these dissimilarities between kinds of discussions and kinds of Socratic characters are not elite. There are dialogues that mix the aporetic and conclusive styles, e.g., Protagoras, Meno, and Gorgias. In observing these dissimilarities, it can be established that there are only to the characteristic style of the dialogue and leave aside controversies about the relative dates of composition of the dialogues. The connotation of this distinction among dialogues is that one can isolate a strain of moral teaching in the aporetic and mixed dialogues. In spite of their indecisive nature, in the aporetic dialogues the character, Socrates, upholded the principles about morality that he seems to take to be fundamental. In the mixed dialogues, scholars observed similar teaching. This strain is distinct enough from the accounts of morality in the more didactic dialogues that it has been called Socratic, as opposed to Platonic, and associated with the historical personage's own views.
The first aspect of Socratic teaching is its heroic quality. In the Apology, Socrates stated that a man worth anything at all does not reckon whether his course of action jeopardises his life or threatens death. He looked only at one thing whether what he does is just or not, the work of a good or of a bad man. This statement is both about himself and a fundamental claim of his moral teaching. Socrates puts moral thoughts above all others. If people think of justice as, roughly, the way they treat others, the just actions to which he refers cover a wide range. It is unfair to rob temples, deceive friends, steal, break oaths, commit adultery, and mistreat parents (Rep 443a-b). A similarly strong statement about wrong-doing is found in the Crito, where the question is whether Socrates should save his life by escaping from the jail in Athens and aborting the sentence of death. Socrates stated that whether he should escape or not must be governed only by whether it is just or unjust to do so (48d). Clearly, by posing wrong-doing against losing one's life, Socrates emphasized that nothing outweighs in positive value the disvalue of doing unjust actions. In such writings, then, Socrates seemed to be a moral hero, willing to sacrifice his very life rather than to commit an injustice, and to recommend such heroism to others.
However, this heroism also includes an important component of self-regard. In the passage from the Apology just quoted, Socrates explained his approach to the citizens of Athens. He reproached them for being absorbed in the acquisition of wealth, reputation, and honour while they do not take care for nor think about wisdom, truth, and how to make their souls better (Ap. 29d-e). As he developed this idea it becomes clear that the perfection of the soul, making it better, means acquiring and having moral virtue. Rather than heaping up riches and honour, Athenians should seek to perfect their souls in virtue. From this catchphrase, it can be concluded that for Socrates psychological good outweighs material good and that virtue is a psychological good of the first importance. The Crito gives another viewpoint on psychological good. Socrates stated that life is not worth living if that which is harmed by disease and benefited by health i.e., the body is ruined. But likewise, he added, life is not worth living if that which is harmed by wrong-doing and benefited by the right. The soul is ruined (47e-48a). This claim can be understood in positive manner. Virtue is the chief psychological good; wrong-doing destroys virtue. So Socrates' strong assurance to virtue reflects his conviction in its value for the soul, as well as the importance of the soul's condition for the quality of our lives.
A second feature of Socratic teaching is its intellectualism. In the Meno (78a-b), Socrates argued that no one knowingly desires what is bad (to kakon). His argument showed that by ‘bad’ he meant things that are harmful to the subject, i.e., the one who would desire these things. In the Protagoras (358c-d) he made a similar point when he stated that it is not in human nature for someone to wish to go after what he thinks is bad in place of the good. Even if we understand good and bad here (as Socrates seems to intend) to be what is good for the subject and what is bad and harmful for the subject, the claim is still paradoxical. It is apparent that humans sometimes desire to have what they know will be damaging. Socrates, thought that we wish for or desire only what we take to be good for us. This position is called intellectualism because it implies that what ultimately motivates any action is some cognitive state.
Socratic intellectualism has two major consequences. One is that virtue (which guarantees good action) is knowledge and the other is that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Both are elaborated in the Euthydemus. While most of this discourse is given over to Euthydemus' and Dionysiodorus' eristic display, there are two Socratic interludes. In the first of these in a passage that has a parallel in Meno. Socrates helped the young Cleinias to see that wisdom is a kind of knowledge that infallibly brings happiness. He used an analogy with craft (technê); a carpenter must not only have but know how to use his tools and materials to be successful (Euthyd. 280b-d). In turn, someone may have such goods as health, wealth, good birth, and beauty, as well as the virtues of justice, moderation, courage, and wisdom (279a-c). Wisdom is the most important, however, because it is a kind of knowledge, like carpentry, about how to use the other assets so that they are beneficial (281b-c). Furthermore, all of these goods are useless, in fact, even harmful without wisdom, because without it one will misuse any of the other assets one may possess, so as to act not well but badly. Wisdom is the only unconditional good. Socrates' dialog leaves it vague whether wisdom (taken together with its exercise) is alike with happiness or whether it is the dominant and essential constituent of happiness.
In this explanation, main focus is on a kind of knowledge as the active element in happiness. The other parts of the account are certain assets that seem as passive in relation to wisdom as wood and tools are to the carpenter. Further, since there seems to be no opposition to the work of reason in the soul, Socrates' interpretation seems a bit simple. In fact, the neglect of the complexities of moral psychology goes hand in hand with Socratic intellectualism.
It is established from bulk of literature that in the Western Philosophy, the history of ethics can be traced back to the fifth century B.C with the advent of viewpoint of Socrates. As a thinker among the Greeks, his task was to stimulate his fellow humans to the need for rational criticism of their beliefs and practices. In that time, the philosophers began to search for reasons for established modes of conduct. Socrates, in demanding rational grounds for ethical judgements, brought attention to the problem of tracing the logical relationship between values and facts and thereby created moral viewpoint.
Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer, who is renowned as the originator of modern political science and political ethics. Machiavelli had played vital role in developing huge number of important discourses in Western thought political theory most remarkably, but also history and historiography, Italian literature, the principles of warfare, and diplomacy. Many professionals observed that Niccolo Machiavelli was one of the most noticeable writers and theorists of the Renaissance. His greatest works include The Prince, The Art of War, and Discourses of Livy. His theories are marked with strong expressive statements that have stood since centuries. 'The ends justify the means and 'it is better to be feared than be loved' are two such quote that have never lost their dynamism.
According to the views of Machiavelli, good laws follow naturally from a good military. His famous statement that “the presence of sound military forces indicates the presence of sound laws” designates the relationship between developing states and war in The Prince. Machiavelli conversed the conventional understanding of war as a necessary, but not definitive, element of the development of states, and instead asserts that successful war is the very foundation upon which all states are built. Much of The Prince is devoted to defining exactly what it means to conduct a good war: how to effectively strengthen a city, how to treat subjects in newly acquired terrains, and how to avert domestic insurgence that would divert from a successful war. The Prince is based on one main subject that Machiavelli believed to be major factor to success in politics. He believed that a man had to control his own destiny and may resort to any means in order to establish total control. Machiavelli then cautioned leaders to always pay attention to their army if they want to remain in power. He then went on to converse the four types of armies. The most dangerous, according to Machiavelli, were the mercenary armies. Auxiliaries that are loaned to you by other rulers, as well as mixed troops, are also untrustworthy. The most appropriate army is one that is composed of native troops. In The Prince, Machiavelli affirmed that 'a prince should have no other object, nor any other thought, nor take anything as his art but that of war and its orders and discipline; for that is the only art which is of concern to one who commands' (the military).
But Machiavelli's explanation of war includes more than just the direct use of military force. It comprises international diplomacy, domestic politics, tactical strategy, geographic mastery, and historical analysis. The Art of War clarified effectual ways to use military force, acquire land, and control that land. Machiavelli stated that war is an extension of politics. It should be limited fighting with an emphasis on a state militia and armed citizens. The security of society rests with the military. Machiavelli suggested training, discipline, and classifications in the military. His insistence on drilling, dividing an army in sections, planning, and organizing campaigns are still somewhat feasible. He thought that Romans were the example that should be followed in almost all aspects of their military. Within the framework of Machiavelli’s explanation of Italy situation, when cities were continually threatened by neighbouring principalities and the area had suffered through power skirmishes for many years, his method of viewing almost all affairs of state through a military lens was a timely innovation in political thinking to remain in power, a prince must avoid the hatred of his people. It is not compulsory for him to be loved; in fact, it is often better for him to be scared. Being hated, however, can cause a prince’s collapse. This proclamation might seem incompatible with Machiavelli’s statements on the utility of unkindness, but Machiavelli supported the use of cruelty only insofar as it does not compromise the long term goodwill of the people. The people’s kindness is always the best defence against both domestic insurgence and foreign belligerence. Machiavelli advised princes against doing things that might result in hatred, such as the confiscation of property or the dissolution of traditional institutions. Even installations that are normally valued for military use, such as fortresses, should be judged primarily on their potential to garner support for the prince. Definitely, only when he is absolutely sure that the people who hate him will never be able to rise against him can a prince cease to worry about incurring the hatred of any of his subjects.
Free Will: Machiavelli often adopted the phrases “prowess” and “fortune” to define two dissimilar ways in which a prince can come to power. “Prowess” is explained as an individual’s talents, while “fortune” suggests chance or luck. Part of Machiavelli’s aim in writing, The Prince is to scrutinise how much of a prince’s success or failure is caused by his own free will and how much is determined by nature or the environment in which he lives. Machiavelli applies this question specifically to the failure of past Italian princes. In his writings, Machiavelli deliberates the role of fortune to determine human affairs. He tried to compromise between free will and determinism by arguing that fortune controls half of human actions and leaves the other half to free will. Nonetheless, Machiavelli also maintained that through foresight, a quality that people can protect themselves against fortune’s vicissitudes. Consequently, Machiavelli can be described as confident in the power of human beings to develop their destinies to a degree, but equally confident that human control over events is never absolute.
Virtue: Machiavelli explained virtues as qualities that are acclaimed by others, such as generosity, compassion, and piety. He debated that a prince should always try to appear virtuous, but that acting honestly for virtue’s sake can prove detrimental to the principality. A prince should not essentially avoid vices such as cruelty or dishonesty if employing them will benefit the state. Cruelty and other vices should not be followed for their own sake, just as virtue should not be pursued for its own sake. Virtues and vices should be considered as means to an end. Every action the prince takes must be considered in light of its effect on the state, not in terms of its intrinsic moral value. Machiavelli proclaimed that a number of traits are intrinsic in human nature. People are normally self-interested, although their affection for others can be won and lost. They are happy so long they are not victims of something dreadful. They may be dependable in prosperous times, but they will swiftly turn selfish, dishonest, and profit-driven in times of adversity. People appreciate honour, generosity, courage, and piety in others, but most of them do not display these virtues themselves. Ambition is usually found among those who have accomplished some power, but most common people are gratified with the status quo and therefore do not desire for increased status. People will naturally feel a sense of obligation after receiving a favour or service, and this bond is usually not easily broken. However, loyalties are won and lost, and kindness is never absolute. While Machiavelli supported his political arguments with concrete historical evidence, his statements about society and human nature sometimes have the character of assumptions rather than observations.
In consort with human nature, Machiavelli thought that government should be a depiction of the humanistic philosophy of his time. He had a proper and theoretically precise way of defining how the government should be run, and a lot of it comes through knowledge. The knowledge to be effective in the future comes from those who have been successful in the past and it is recognised as examples of success and failure of Princes throughout history in "The Prince". Success is directly associated to being able to keep and control the Princedom, regardless of how it was gained, and this is done by using practises people succeeded with in history.
In brief, Niccolo Machiavelli was the political leader of the Resurgence time. He understood and explained thoroughly how to be thrived in politics.
Annie Besant was distinguished British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and enthusiast of Irish and Indian self-rule. She also became involved in politics in India and joined the Indian National Congress. When World War I erupted in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for egalitarianism in India and dominion status within the Empire. This led to her election as president of the Indian National Congress in late 1917. In the late 1920s, Besant toured to the United States with her dependant and adopted son Jiddu Krishnamurti, whom she claimed was the new Liberator and incarnation of Buddha. Krishnamurti overruled these claims in 1929. After the war, she continued to crusade for Indian independence and for the causes of theosophy, until her death in 1933. Fundamentally, she fought for the causes she thought were right such as freedom of thought, women's rights, secularism, birth control, Fabian socialism and workers' rights. She was a leading member of the National Secular Society alongside Charles Bradlaugh and the South Place Ethical Society. Pursuing her feminist schema, Besant led in the publication of Charles Knowlton's The Fruits of Philosophy, an early text that supported birth control.
Annie Besant had two main approaches to the reawakening of India and the achievement of independence. Which include the religious and education. She gave lectures and supported the independence movement she condemned the British policies openly. Annie Besant began numerous reforms that have given women the equality of status and rights which they enjoy today. Annie Besant’s educational philosophy is based on theosophical ideals of education according to which each child should receive an education suited to develop his particular and individual faculty. He should be imparted education which makes him useful citizen of nation (Chandra, 2005).
Malala Yousafzai was an 11-year-old schoolgirl in Pakistan when she spoke against the Taliban’s efforts to ban girls from attending school. At that time, she was just 12 year old. Through her noble thought, she had gained worldwide recognition. On October 9, 2012, when she was still 15, Taliban murderers boarded her school bus and demanded Malala identify herself or they would shoot the entire bus. She disclosed her identity and said that “I am Malala”. The assassins shot her in the head. Malala healthier and underwent intense therapy. Less than a year later, she spoke at the United Nations and issued a call for worldwide access to education for girls. On October 10 of 2014, at the age of 17, she was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize jointly to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi were celebrated. The award was initially named the national youth peace prize and awarded to her on 19th December, 2011 by prime ministerYousafzai Raza Gillani for her superb contribution in promoting girls education in her home town where the Taliban had banned girls for attending school. She has received award for moral bravery. Malala mainly campaigned for girl's access to education.
News reports revealed that the 17-year-old Pakistani rose to fame as a vocal advocate for girls' right to education. The Taliban, which passionately disagrees with Yousafzai's position, was dreadful that her activism would motivate others to act.
Malala considers that all women in Pakistan must be educated. Malala decided to show moral courage because she wanted an education. She was tired of seeing all the women not having any education. So she spoke out. Her moral thoughts greatly impacted on world society. She indicated people that she is not frightened to stand up for what she believed in. It is stated that Malala is recognised mainly for human rights support for education and for women in her native Swat Valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan.
Moral thinkers of India
Buddha: Buddhism is a set of moral guidelines and practices which, if followed, can bring people to the ultimate state of reality and peace. The Buddha described these morals after he reached enlightenment, or nirvana: the true understanding of the universe.
Basic Buddhist principles of moral thought and action is karma. Fundamental conviction in Buddhism is that life is a cycle of birth, death and rebirth and that people’s actions in not only the present but also in the past affect into what realm they are reborn and how their life is lived. This idea of the continued effects of all actions is the definition of karma (John Daido Loori, et, al., 1996). Until such time, as one becomes open-minded, one's actions in this life will determine the nature of future rebirths. A related thought fundamental to Buddhism is merit. Acts of generosity toward and support of Buddhist monks are channelled by the monks toward progression for the giver in future rebirths or toward improving the lot of deceased relatives.
The Buddha's Four Noble Truths are another guiding norm of moral thought and action, particularly as expressed in the fourth truth, the Eightfold Path. The truths are as follows:
- The Truth of Dukkha is that all conditional phenomena and experiences are not ultimately satisfying.
- The Truth of the Origin of Dukkha is that craving for and clinging to what is pleasurable and aversion to what is not pleasurable result in becoming, rebirth, dissatisfaction, and redeath.
- The Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha is that putting an end to this craving and clinging also means that rebirth, dissatisfaction, and redeath can no longer arise.
- The Truth of the Path of Liberation from Dukkha is that by following the Noble Eightfold Path; namely, behaving decently, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation ; an end can be put to craving, to clinging, to becoming, to rebirth, to dissatisfaction, and to redeath.
The motivation for following the Four Noble Truths is not to "be good", but to facilitate the recognition the Buddhists call enlightenment. The English translation of the terms within the path does nothing to dissipate the impression that the Eightfold Path is a series of moral injunctions "right effort," "right livelihood," etc. as the term "right" in English implies "correct." A more accurate translation for "right" in this case might be "skillful." Practically speaking, since the earliest days of Buddhism, many have regarded the Eightfold Path as a set of guidelines for correct behaviour, and it is not difficult to see why. Even in the early texts, the Buddha often mentioned "do nots" when discussing the Eightfold Path.
Buddhism agreed that there is evil in man, but it teaches that this evil can be eliminated by understanding and determination. Because people, especially government leaders and educationists, fail to understand the true nature of life, they do not attempt to teach their young the right values. Buddhism teaches man to live in peace and harmony. The Buddha exhorted his followers not to take His Teachings on blind faith but to accept them only after close investigation and inquiry as to whether the Teachings are really acceptable according to one's own intelligence and experience. Even though Buddha wanted his followers to absorb the Dhamma. He did not want them to accept it without clarity of mind and complete understanding.
The Buddha wanted all human beings to lead perfect lives to be kind, compassionate and considerate to one another and to exercise patience, tolerance and understanding in all activities and relationships. The Buddha, with his supreme wisdom, realised that there were weaknesses and pit-falls in human society. He introduced the Buddha Dhamma in order to enlighten, liberate and reform mankind to lead a meaningful life. His Teachings were clear and comprehensive. They covered the existence of a human being, from birth to the grave. Those who were unable to comprehend his teachings or were not prepared to accept his Teachings, would rate his Teachings as too idealistic and incapable of accomplishment. In spite of such assertions, his Teachings, if reduced to the simplest of terms, could be contained in just a few words: "DO GOOD, SHUN EVIL AND PURIFY THE MIND". These words were true during the Buddha’s period. These words are just as true and applicable for the present and the future. If everyone does what is good for oneself and for others as well and completely shuns evil, that would affect others as well as oneself and the world would definitely be a better place to live in. Buddhist Teachings are designed to empower men and women to achieve fulfilment and satisfaction in this life through their own continued efforts and to boost them to create a social order conducive to the benefit and welfare of all mankind. It develops selfless moral codes, generosity, concern and a spirit of real discipline for the good and wellbeing of relations, friends and acquaintances.
Buddhists morality is based on freedom i.e. on individual development. It is therefore relative. In fact, there cannot be any goodness nor any ethical principle if there is compulsion or determination from an agent outside ourselves.
Swami Vivekananda is one of the well-known philosopher as well as educationist in the history of Indian teaching. His educational views and ideas have been influenced by his philosophy of life. Swami Vivekananda believed in the Vedanta philosophy which considers that the ultimate goal of human life is to attain ‘Unity with the Creator’. He believed that God resides in every human heart’. So that, the best worship of God is service to mankind. According to Swami Vivekananda ‘Education means that process by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, and intellect is sharpened, as a result of which one can stand on one’s own feet’. According to Swami Vivekananda, one idea stands out as the centre of all ethical system expressed in various forms, namely doing good to others. The guiding motive of mankind should be charity toward men charity toward all animals. Lessons and beliefs of Swami Vivekananda stressed on different facets of religion, youth, education, faith, character building as well as social issues relating to India. Swami Vivekananda emphasized to provide the public only positive education, because negative thoughts deteriorate men. Swami Vivekananda told, if young boys and girls are encouraged and are not unnecessarily criticized all the time, they are bound to improve in time.
Swami Vivekananda always thought that the development of a nation is not possible without real education. He opined that development of good personality in every human being is very essential in case of nation building. That’s why, Swami Vivekananda emphasised on Man making education by which we can make a good citizen for our national development. According to Swami Vivekananda ‘Man making means a harmonious development of the body, mind and soul’. According to him, Moral values are the standards of good and evil, right or wrong which govern an individual’s behaviour and choices. Moral values are the rules and guidelines, the mores, which an individual or a group has about what is right or wrong, good or evil. Morality communicates of a system of behaviour in regards to standards of right or wrong behaviour. Moral values include some important characteristics:
- Moral standards, with regard to behaviour.
- Moral responsibility, referring to our conscience.
- Moral identity or one who is capable of right or wrong action.
Vivekananda comprehended that mankind is passing through a disaster. The tremendous importance on the scientific and mechanical ways of life is fast reducing man to the status of a machine. Moral and religious values are being damaged. The fundamental ideologies of civilization are being overlooked. Conflicts of ideas, manners and habits are pervading the atmosphere. Disrespect for everything old is the fashion of the day. In this situation, Vivekananda explored the solutions of all these social and global troubles through education. Vivekananda stressed on such education through which moral values can be developed among the students so that they can conduct their life ethically. They can decide what is right or wrong; what is good or evil; what is justice or injustice. Vivekananda believed that if we can make a student as a good human being, the development of moral values within him is the prior task of education. According to him, ethics is the important aspect of personality. To accomplish such objectives, Vivekananda laid stress on religious education. Swami Vivekananda believed in the generous concept of religion. Essential elements of all religions are the same. No religion is inferior to other religion. Man should follow an attitude of respect for all religion. According to Vivekananda, love is the highest goal of religion. Man should imbibe love for all and hatred for none. Swami Vivekananda realized three things are necessary to make every man great and every nation great.
- Conviction of the powers of goodness.
- Absence of jealousy and suspicion.
- Helping all who are trying to be and do well.
Swami Vivekananda advocated that it is significant to give up jealousy and self-importance and learn to work unitedly for others. He told, purity, patience and perseverance overcome all obstacles. He suggested to take courage and work on. Patience and steady work, according to Swami Vivekananda, this is the only way to get success.
In brief, Swami Vivekananda offered new direction to meaning and content in the thought of Political philosophy and, who stood firmly rooted in tradition in declaring that service of humans was service to God, that one should see Janardana, God, in Janata, the people. Swami Vivekananda reinforced the cause of egalitarianism and socialism and declared that it was the working class that would be the ruling class in the future.
Mahatma Gandhi was eminent personality and known for his great ideologies all over the world. Mahatma Gandhi had immense sense of morality. Gandhi developed his life's work around two moral values. He realized that it was important to recognize the humanity of all people. He also felt that there is necessity to fight against injustice but to always do so in a way (non-violence) that protected everyone's human self-respect.
He wanted to empower the Indian nation by empowering its people. In his famous book Hind Swaraj, he interrogated Western civilization, which he felt was unspiritual. He disapproved British democracy. In his opinion, it was thoroughly commercial. Its elected leaders looked after their own self-interest. He called the British parliament a chattering shop. He wanted that Swaraj for India in which everyone would enjoy the glow of freedom. He did not want India to imitate the Western model of state and democracy. He did not want 'white men' to be substituted by ‘dark men’ while the British mechanisms of repression remained intact. He quoted the example of Italy: after independence, Mazzini was not happy because the independent Italy for which he had fought was not a democratic state; it had been captured by domestic vested interests. Gandhi had a desire that the state to be freed of its forced elements and sought to instil courage in the minds of people. In his concept of Swaraj, there was decentralization of power and India was to be a confederation of thousands of self-reliant and self-governing villages: innumerable circles of village republics. But these village republics were not to be hierarchically organized; instead they would be ‘oceanically’ organized. In the ocean, all waves maintain similar levels and none dominates over others; similarly, to prevent oppression, no system should be hierarchically organized. In the Gandhian idea of Swaraj, Ramrajya or the kingdom of God ought to be established first in our own souls, only then can it be established in our villages. Swadeshi, use of home produced materials in industry and the boycott of foreign goods was a means to attain Swaraj.
Primarily, Gandhi ji was concerned about the attitude of man through his conduct. He emphasized that each man should aspire for living together which is called a social living and should strive also to live for mutual benefit. The entire life of Gandhi ji was based on two principles that include truth and nonviolence. These were considered by several saints as greatest moral values (Ratana Dasa, 2005).
Kautilya was genius and prominent figure in the history. He was the minister in the kingdom of Chandragupta Muarya. He was considered as shrewdest minister of his time and had explained his view on state, war, social structure, diplomacy, ethics, politics and state craft in his book Arthashastra. He had strong opinion on each of the four dimension framework: war and peace, human right, international economic justice, and world order (Santosh Ajmera, Nanda Kishore Reddy, 2015). It is visualized that he was an epoch making personality. He nurtured the sense of nationalism and inculcated in the minds of people that they owed their basic allegiance to the Rajya and not to dharma (Chaturvedi, 2004). He highlighted the necessity of moral values in social and political life and administration (Sen, 2006).
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an Indian religious, social, educational reformer and humanitarian, who challenged traditional Hindu culture and indicated the lines of progress for Indian societies under British rule. In modern times, Raja Rammohan Roy who has been called the ‘father of modern India’, injected fresh life into political thinking in the nineteenth century by attempting to bring together the democratic ideas of the modern West and the philosophy of Vedanta as preached in the Upanishads. The Raja had notions of establishing a modern democratic state in India and fought against many superstitious and evil practices that were prevalent in the nineteenth century. He had a very broad vision in sympathy with the known major religions of the world. He is regarded as one of the pioneers who ushered in the age of enlightenment in modern India. He supported the introduction of Western learning into Indian education system. So he promoted study of English, Science, Western Medicine and Technology in India.
Saroji Naidu also recognized by the sobriquet The Nightingale of India, was a child genius, Indian independence activist and poet. She was the first Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman to become the Governor of Uttar Pradesh state. She was a great patriot, politician, speaker and administrator of all the famous women of India. Her birthday is celebrated as WOMEN’S DAY. She got recognition as “BulBule Hind” for collection of her poems under the title 'Golden Threshold'.
During 1915-1918, she travelled across India, preaching on social welfare, women empowerment, liberation and nationalism. She was motivated by Jawaharlal Nehru and embarked on providing help and support for the indigo workers in Champaran who were being subjected to violence and tyranny. She played a vital role in awakening the women of India. She re-established their self-esteem and often said, "When there is oppression, the only self-respecting thing is to rise and say this shall cease today, because justice is my right".
With the institution of the Rowlatt Act in 1919, Sarojini joined the Non-Cooperation Movement organized and led by Mahatma Gandhi. In the same year, she was chosen the Home Rule League's ambassador to England. In 1924, she became a delegate to the East African Indian Congress. In 1925, Naidu was appointed as the President of the National Congress thus making her the first Indian woman to hold the post. With the Indian Independence in 1947, Sarojini Naidu was made the Governor of the Uttar Pradesh in the wake of her contribution to the movement.
To summarize, several moral thinkers and philosophers of ancient times to modern period provided intellectual arguments against the various ways of developing a virtuous character. Aristotle took his stand to debate that the actions contribute greatly to the way a character is. Earlier to that, he elucidated how individuals act the way they speak or behave. Confucius in Analects demonstrated the notion of how the environment acts upon the way the person interacts. Another prominent figure, Plato exemplified the soul as a lead to the characters desires and wants. Several modern thinkers of India such as Mahatma Gandhi has great contribution in developing ethical ideologies.