- Moral agency
A Moral agent is "a being who is capable of acting with reference to right and wrong"
Development and analysis
Most philosophers suggest only rational beings, people who can reason and form self-interested judgments, are capable of being moral agents. Some suggest those with limited rationality (for example, people who are mildly mentally disabled) also have some basic moral capabilities. In Judaism, moral agency is restricted to sane adults, but deaf-mutes are excluded from this, as Jewish law forbids legal cases - and hence culpability and contractual rights - without verbal communication between the involved parties.
Determinists argue all of our actions are the product of antecedent causes, and some believe this is incompatible with free will and thus claim that we have no real control over our actions. Immanuel Kant argued that whether or not our real self, the noumenal self, can choose, we have no choice but to believe that we choose freely when we make a choice. This does not mean that we can control the effects of our actions. Some Indeterminists would argue we have no free will either. If, with respect to human behaviour, a so-called 'cause' results in an indeterminate number of possible, so-called 'effects', that does not mean the person had the free-thinking independent will to choose that 'effect'. More likely, it was the indeterminate consequence of his chance genetics, chance experiences and chance circumstances relevant at the time of the 'cause'.
In Kant's philosophy, this calls for an act of faith, the faith free agent is based on something a priori, yet to be known, or immaterial. Otherwise, without free agent's a priori fundamental source, socially essential concepts created from human mind, such as justice, would be undermined (responsibility implies freedom of choice) and, in short, civilization and human values would crumble.
It is useful to compare the idea of moral agency with the legal doctrine of mens rea, which means guilty mind, and states that a person is legally responsible for what he does as long as he should know what he is doing, and his choices are deliberate. Some theorists discard any attempts to evaluate mental states and, instead, adopt the doctrine of strict liability, whereby one is liable under the law without regard to capacity, and that the only thing is to determine the degree of punishment, if any. Moral determinists would most likely adopt a similar point of view.
Distinction between moral agency and eligibility for moral consideration
Many philosophers, such as Kant, view morality as a transaction among rational parties, i.e., among moral agents. For this reason, they would exclude other animals from moral consideration. Others, such as Utilitarian philosophers like Jeremy Bentham and Peter Singer have argued the key to inclusion in the moral community is not rationality — for if it were, we might have to exclude some disabled people and infants, and might also have to distinguish between the degrees of rationality of healthy adults — but the real object of moral action is the avoidance of suffering.
- Singer, Peter, Animal Liberation, 1975.
- ^ Websters Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
moral agency — Моральный агент … Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов
Agency (LDS Church) — Agency (also referred to as free agency or moral agency), in Latter day Saint theology, is the privilege of choice which was introduced by God the Eternal Father to all of his spirit children in the premortal state .cite journal | first= Elder… … Wikipedia
Agency (philosophy) — Agency is a philosophical concept of the capacity of an agent to act in a world. The agency is considered as belonging to that agent, even if that agent represents a fictitious character, or some other non existent entity. The capacity to act… … Wikipedia
Agency — may refer to any of the following:*Agency (country subdivision) *Agency (law), the status of a person who acts for another person. *Agency (Mormonism) *Agency (philosophy), the capacity to make choices *Employment agency, a business that serves… … Wikipedia
Moral psychology — is a field of study in both philosophy and psychology. Some use the term moral psychology relatively narrowly to refer to the study of moral development. However, others tend to use the term more broadly to include any topics at the… … Wikipedia
Moral character — or character is an evaluation of a particular individual s durable moral qualities. The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as integrity, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty … Wikipedia
Moral Aspects of Monopoly — Moral Aspects of Monopoly † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Moral Aspects of Monopoly According to its etymology, monopoly (monopolia) signifies exclusive sale, or exclusive privilege of selling. Present usage, however, extends the term to… … Catholic encyclopedia
Moral Midgetry — The Wire episode Episode no. Season 3 Episode 8 … Wikipedia
Moral responsibility — For other types of responsibility, see Responsibility (disambiguation). Part of a series on Freedom … Wikipedia
Agency-Theorie — Grundidee der Prinzipal Agent Theorie (P: Prinzipal, A: Agent) Die Prinzipal Agent Theorie (auch Agenturtheorie) ist innerhalb der Wirtschaftswissenschaft ein Teilgebiet der Neuen Institutionenökonomik. Sie bietet ein Modell, um das Handeln von… … Deutsch Wikipedia