The Divine Command Theory defines morality as being in accordance with God’s command. Moral obligatory actions are justifiable before God. This Divine Command Theory is, therefore, ethical in itself. Divine believers of both monotheistic and polytheistic paths of faith acknowledge God’s significance of restoring morality in the past and present generations. The theory further suggests that moral uprightness does not entirely rely on God but is supported by divine rules. Although this theory has been challenged by several philosophers in the past, it still holds that moral obligation is regarding obedience to Gods requirements.
The opposite is quite true in that immoral actions are termed immoral since they are against God’s command. The major question that helps identify the position of the Divine Command theorists is widely known as the Euthyphro dilemma that is contained in the dialogue Plato; a well-respected philosopher (Engel 56). In simple terms, the question is presented as “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?” This question continues to feature in theological and philosophical arguments up to date. Several responses by theorists emerged under the dilemma.
Firstly, some responded by accepting that if God does not command evil such as cruelty, then inflicting it upon fellow men would be morally obligatory. Thomas Aquinas responded by arguing basing on human nature. He says that people are made in the nature they possess and are required to live according to God’s love and other people so as to be fulfilled as human beings. Nonetheless, the Divine Command Theory has been criticized in many ways. The Bible has been blamed for dictating harsh punishment to errant children, the mentally ill, animals, the divorced, non-believers. This is evident in scriptures such as Exodus 22:18. Sin is evil. This has manifested in children and young people during historical times but was condoned. Torture in this theory is seen through the kind of slavery while theorists firmly believed that God has no problem with the act. A story told of a clergy who impregnated his wife despite being warned by a physician. The moral behind this is temptation. Later on, his wife passed on, and no one condemned him. This can be seen as silent praiseworthy which is totally wrong.
Ethical Egoism states that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be regarded as morally correct if it brings fulfillment of oneself. Ethical egoism does not only talk about the human achievement of self-interest but also relates to qualities. It argues that one must interact with others in a positive way to gain friendship and protection. How one acts regarding others determines how people around will act in return (Engel 60). Ethical egoism faces some challenges in that it is viewed as a violation of other moral theories particularly in what psychological theology believe I cannot aim at what I cannot do. Other problem includes the fact that one could want to see morality being practical which is not a necessity.
Moral judgments are meant to keep people free from irrational ideas. The issue of duty comes in ethical egoism in that one has a duty of helping others so as to make the world a better place. However, it does not mean one is good enough by helping others. Moore’s argues that ethical egoism is inconsistent since one can recommend other people to try what him /her objects just to be seen morally upright. Rachel goes on to add that we need to have more foresight on what we do since our interests should reflect what we want for our society to experience. The other problem with this Ethical Theory is the fact that most ethicians think that it is a public guide to behavior yet it is not (Hirst 43). Moral theories are expected to flourish human beings which are not the case of ethical egoism, which causes a man to prevent others from succeeding. The theory suggests that recreational torture is immoral. Ethical egoism goes against considered moral intuitions that are condemned by the society.
In his article of Immorality in Eating Meat, Engel is trying to show that a morally upright man would never eat. He argues that man should take steps by avoiding meat to make the world a better place for animals. Basing on religion; it is immoral for anyone to eat meat. This reasoning is not regarded on any moral theory since it is morally wrong to eat meat as presumed by Engel. The five number examples given by Engel aim at projecting his argument that animal farming is insignificant and wastes the environment in a bid to produce food. In his case of energy intensive, he argues that to acquire 1kcal of animal protein, 28 kilocalories of fuel is needed while it only takes 3.3 kilocalories of energy to get 1kcal of plant protein.
Animal farming is considered inefficient compared to crop planting since it wastes several litres of fresh water. He further goes on to suggest that keeping animals is nutrient inefficient because nearly all grain fed on livestock is never regenerated. In the U.S, for instance, oats and corn are fed to livestock. Increasing demand for the crops results in over cultivation thus soil erosion is due to occur. Livestock produces quite large excretions that amount to 1 billion tons a year. Water from streams, rivers and lakes are continually used to appoint that the structure of underground water is affected and water bodies impaired.
Engels evaluation of “Free Range” Fantasy and Consistency in the Utilitarian Gambit is exclusive. Following Engel’s argument that eating meat from farming is immoral and is bound to cause pain, the following objection emerged. This complaint states that there is no reason for our beliefs to entitle us to immorality just because of consuming meat from animals raised in a free range and killed painlessly. Engel replies to the objection of Utilitarian Gambit of thugs and gustatory by pronouncing that people do not take into consideration the human acts of pleasure that cause suffering to animals (Hirst 33). An example of thugs getting away with the evil act of burning a cat and the case of skinning a live dog for meat are considered satanic.
Despite the fact that gustatory benefits are obtained, still the act is bad. In both cases, the animals would have escaped suffering had it not been the immoral act of man. Free range birds and animals consistently get killed illegally and eaten as food. He further goes on to convince that man’s actions of eating factory meat makes them immoral following the fact that they admit that 90% of meat people eat is not good for their health.
The Two-Edged Sword argues that consistency does not demand one to stop eating meat. Engel comes in to say that if beliefs dictate that eating meat is immoral, then by eating animal meat human beings become immoral. Engel responds to this by arguing that it is worse to kill a sensual animal compared to killing plants for food since plants have more nutritious value. Engel disputes that meat is not a necessity citing an example of world class vegetarian athletes who seem totally healthy.
James Rachel has had a great contribution towards the safeguarding of animal right. In the article; “Do Animals Have Rights” James Rachel is trying to say that animals though non-human are to be treated right. Following the case of chimpanzee, Rachel states that smart intelligence should be allowed through education.
Fundamentally, he is trying to make people understand that to determine how an individual is to be treated; one should consider the features of those treating the person. According to James Rachel Human Rights are the freedoms accorded to human beings in a way that they restore their moral status in the society and to be allowed to do what does not bring significant harm to them. Animals are referred to as human beings since they also have moral standing. The right of not to be tortured is accorded to both mankind and animals. This is simply because both parties are very much similar in that they feel pain if harmed in any way. The right to worship by Rachel suggests that if truly God exists, then he deserves to be worshipped. Worship of any other being is blasphemy. In explaining the right to property, Rachel uses the example given by Locke. The man is said to own labor and work of his hands making labor appear as property.
The right to liberty is imperative in the history of manifestos. In the same way, animals are entitled to liberty. A good example of humans harming animals’ right to liberty denies them their natural right by taking them to captivity in zoos. Animals here will not function as they would be in their natural setting. The rhesus monkeys, for instance, have been found to have compassion. This means man just like the monkeys has moral virtues. Unfortunately, this feature has not been preserved by humanity. Squirrels also had been partly denied liberty because when it collects nuts, man goes to pick the nuts where the animal placed. Another vital example is that of the baboon colony in the zoo. Their numbers have been limited in London, for example, by destroying the female baboons. In Africa, they are observed to live peacefully in colonies.
The principle of utility is considered as an analysis of action on account of whether it instills happiness on those affected by the action. In section 1 Bentham argues that nature has contributed to the governing of mankind through pain and pleasure. The principle acknowledges that the two forces dictate what people think, do, say. Section 2 goes on to say that moral science is to be modified but not without use of metaphor and declamation. This chapter also explains that this principle is responsible for approving or disapproving actions about how it impacts on others (Hirst 46). It is seen that property in any object whether the whole community or a single person is responsible for happiness or unhappiness in that particular purpose. The general interest of the community is what each member of that community feels thus; this can be viewed regarding morals. To get the clear view of the community, one must evaluate each person. An action is then said to be according to utility if it fulfills the community.
Chapter of Value of a Lot of Pleasure or Pain, How to be Measured concentrates on analysis on measurement of pain and pleasure. This aims at how non-human animals should be treated whose utility is a challenge to estimate. Pleasure or pain for a person is determined by intensity, duration, certainty and propinquity of the accompanying events. For proper analysis to be completed, purity and fecundity are included in the assessment tools. Bentham however, insists that these approaches are not always practical. He adds that moral judgment can be obtained by determining whether the action is good or bad. This theory is not as good to be considered perfect. The aspect of purity and fecundity are only keen on the properties of the act but not the feeling of pain or pleasure. The occurrence of pain or pleasure is never certain regardless of whether the event happened or not.
Engel, Morris. Engel. New York: M. Engel, 1986. Print.
Hirst, Paul Q. “Marx and Engels on law, crime and morality.” Economy and Society 1.1 (1972): 28-56. Print.