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Un Secretary General Kofi Annan once Remarked That "the World Cannot Stand Aside When Gross and Systematic Violations of Human Rights Are Taking Place". What Is Needed, He Said, Are "legitimate and Universal Principles" on Which Interv

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Morality is not about, what we should not do, but about what we should do. It is about doing the right thing. It is about how we should live our lives. No one seems to have the power to control another's actions and life. In order to find out if anyone has power, the source or basis of morality has to be established. With regards to this, there are four schools of thought. The four schools of thought believe the basis of morality to be god, society, individual or culture.

Within the boundaries of the first school of thought exists the Divine Command theory. This theory states that god lays down what is right and wrong. The problem with this theory is the dilemma other wise known as the Euthyphro Dilemma. The Euthyphro dilemma rests on a modernised version of the question asked by Socrates in the Euthyphro: "Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?"

When we look at the first part of the dilemma, it says that what is morally good and wrong has already been defined. God is just reiterating it. What is morally good is independent of what god says. Then god loses his value. This questions the nature of god. When we look at the second part, it is said that something is right or wrong because god says so. That means, even if none of us feel that something is wrong, it will still be wrong because god says so. For example, if god says killing is morally right, and then killing is right. Killing is wrong no matter what god says so. And just like, we can't make killing right by saying so, god cannot as well. Then he can't be source of morality right?

Lets ignore the dilemma for a while. When god says something is right or wrong. Either he has a reason, or he does not. If he does, then when he says something is right he is reminding us that it is right not that he is the source of why it is right. This once again questions the nature of god. This makes him irrelevant. If he does not have a reason, then what he says is right becomes arbitrary. He is just acting on impulse. And as such, it would be mad to follow anyone who is saying something on impulse. Then there is no guarantee that the same person will not say something else later on. And this refutes the very definition of morality. Morality is about doing the right thing. If one thing is right now and wrong later, then how can it essentially be right? This only emphasises the point that god cannot be the source of morality.

Another school of thought is the functionalist accounts of morality. This school states that society is the basis of morality. This school defines morality as the essential rules on which society exists and cannot do without. Without these rules, society will collapse. The three main rules otherwise known as objective facts include honesty, justice, and respect. Basing morality on society means that moral rules are seen as instrumental for society to survive. For example, when an individual is thinking of what to do, his thought process will be somewhat like "I should do this because if I do this my society will survive. "

The problem with this is that the intrinsic value of morality is lost here. People start doing things not knowing whether they are right or wrong but only because they contribute to the survival of society. A person will also lack moral motivation to do what is right when the ultimate end is survival. Morality seems to be having an extrinsic value. It is independent of its definition of doing what is right and wrong.

The third school of thought states that morality is subjective. The basis of morality is an individual. Our moral judgments describe our personal feelings: "X is good" means "I like X." We are to pick out our moral principles by following our feelings. It reflects what we think or feel is right or wrong. Things aren't wrong or right independently of what we might happen to think or feel about them.

The problem with this is that, for example, if I feel that eating meat is wrong, and someone else feels that it is right, and we are both expressing our feelings. So we are both right. But we are obviously contradicting each other. In this case, morality is in the eye of the beholder. This school holds that the mere fact that we like something (such as getting drunk and hurting others) would make it good. It gives a weak basis for dealing with practical areas like racism and moral education. And it tells us to follow our feelings but gives us no guide on how to develop rational and wise feelings. In the case of racism, "Racism is good" is true or false only relative to a specified individual. There's no objective fact about racism being good or bad. Instead, different people just have different feelings about racism; moral judgments describe these feelings.

The fourth and last school of thought is cultural relativism. This school states that the basis of morality is culture. Good and bad are relative to culture. What is "good"

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