Again, Locke is not suggesting that we do this from considerations ofrewards and punishments, but because it is the fulfillment of ourdivinely-created natures. Despite failures to comply, the normativeforce of morality is undeniable, for Locke, on these teleogicalgrounds. Though Locke seems to believe that our failings with regardsto moral knowledge result from a failure to engage our minds in theright direction, he does however acknowledge that the discovery ofmoral truths is difficult and laborious. And this is where sanctionscome into play.
The preceding reasonings may perhaps make a stronger impression upon being reduced into a short argument, after the following manner. When a being acts merely by instinct and without any view to consequences, every one must see that it acts necessarily. Though not so obvious, the case comes to the same where an action is exerted in order to bring about some end or event. This end or event must be the object of desire; for no man in his senses who uses means in order to a certain end, but must desire the means to be effectual: if we do not desire to accomplish an event, we cannot possibly act in order to bring it about. Desire and action are then intimately connected; so intimately, that no action can be exerted where there is no antecedent desire: the event is first the object of desire, and then we act in order to bring it about. This being so, it follows clearly, that our actions cannot be free in any sense opposed to their being morally necessary. Our desires obviously are not under our own power, but are raised by means that depend not upon us. And if our desires are not under our power, neither can our actions be under our power. Liberty, as opposed to moral necessity, if it have any meaning, must signify a power to act in contradiction to desire; or, in other words, a power to act in contradiction to any view, purpose, or design, we can have in acting; which power, beside that no man was ever conscious of it, seems to be an absurdity altogether inconsistent with a rational being.
Book design essay form good morality - …
But waving these observations, there occurs an argument founded on a stuborn fact directly inconsistent with this theory. The three philosophers last mentioned agree in maintaining, that as external objects are hid from our eye-sight, our belief of them must depend on a process of reasoning. Their reasonings have been found insufficient by two acute philosophers, Berkeley and Hume, as shall by and by be mentioned. But supposing them solid, what must be the condition of a great plurality, who are incapable of abstruse reasoning? they must remain utterly ignorant of external objects. Yet the direct contrary is vouched by the testimony of all men; these philosophers excepted, who renounce the evidence of their senses for the sake of a favourite opinion. Even children have as lively a conviction of external objects as the most acute reasoners. In fact, objects of sight are perceived so clearly, as that we cannot even conceive that the Author of our nature could have made them more clear, or have given us a more satisfactory conviction of them. The means by which this is done, are beyond the sphere of human knowledge: we do not therefore pretend to say how it is done: we only say that it is done.
Morality Essays: Examples, Topics, Titles, & Outlines
There is a kind of argument from moral knowledge also implicit inAngus Ritchie's recent book From Morality to Metaphysics: TheTheistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments (2012). Ritchie presses a kind of dilemma on non-theistic accounts ofmorality. Subjectivist theories such as expressivism cancertainly make sense of the fact that we make the ethical judgments wedo, but they empty morality of its objective authority. Objectivist theories that take morality seriously, however, havedifficulty explaining our capacity to make true moral judgments, unlessthe process by which humans came to hold these capacities is one thatis controlled by a being such as God.