Prichard, true to his vocation as an educator proposes in his much-anthologized essay “Does Moral Philosophy Rest on a Mistake?” the disconnect that students feel towards the study of the subject. The study thereof is convoluted with a number of theories and…
Prichard’s argument is not so deprived of the idea of Newton’s law of gravity that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That we act towards a purpose founded upon a motive. He ponders upon the significance of man’s action and the reasons behind it. Here, the question of why is easily answerable by the case for which it was executed. First, whether the action brings upon something that will be good which is regarded towards one’s happiness or because something or someone’s good is included in the action? It would be wrong to refute Plato and that morality is justified because of its goodness as natural. The question of “Why should we do so and so?” is often the subject of such discourse. He cites a good example on the motive behind the taking of medicines; one, is it because it will heal one’s ailment or two which is towards a more projected goal is because it will enable one to play golf, something that answers the condition of willingness (Prichard, par. 5).
“Suppose, when wondering whether we really ought to act in the ways usually called moral, we are told as means of resolving our doubt that those acts are right which produce happiness. We at once ask ‘Whose happiness?’ If we are told ‘Our own happiness,’ then, tough we shall lose our hesitation to act in these ways, we shall not recover our sense that we ought to do so” (Prichard, par. 7). This question is one that has been a guiding principle since the beginning of time. The idea that we act in pursuit of happiness is something that has proven to reverberate truth persistently. Something integrated into the Declaration of Independence and hails from the philosophy of John Locke. Yet there really are times when this goal doesn’t seem to be enough or that it fails to justify the slight that we feel at a certain point and ...
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