On being rational and knowing what is evil
Published 05 Dec 2016
Exploring the bits and pieces of morality entails a huge topic to ponder on such as rationality and irrationality as well as the good and the evil. It is imperative to scrutinize what makes a commotion in comparing the essentiality of the perspective of Bernard Gert and Robert Paul Wolff together with other insights from similar area of concern. Indeed, dealing with this colossal issue needs a more attentive understanding and a much deeper thoughts to be able to have a grip towards the subject matter.
Taking into account rationality, as we generally perceived it as such a part of a human persona and that of which gives a person the ultimate knowledge of jumping into things that he decides doing. “Man is rational agent” (Wolff), truly it is on a positive note that a person is entitled for his own reasoning and that he is the one per se who could exemplify his inpiduality having his own rationale. In connection with this, “sense of rational that applies to the actions, beliefs, and decisions of moral agents” (Gert, 1988) was actually an exemplification of what moral agents does in order to be rational. These actions, beliefs, and decisions as Gert connotes was that of the preferences of the human being itself. The powers of reasoning indulge with a great responsibility that one should be apt to.
As Wolff expound that “he is capable of moving himself to act by the conception of a rational connection between some act that he can perform and some tend that he has adopted as his own”, this epitomizes the act of being rationale. A person was said to reason because his environment helps him to do such. In a more practical sense, what the realm is providing its people tends for a person to respond accordingly. What was Wolff elaborates was the capabilities of an inpidual as he reacts to what his reasons entails him to endow with. Furthermore, it could possibly by means of adopting his own reasons by itself as he portrays his act in accordance to his reasoning supremacy.
As regards to the perception of Gert, he uttered that “Everyone always ought to act rationally”, by all means, one should be reasoning out just as what they are expected to. There are a lot of expectations in this time and age and we can never deny the fact that majority of the general public look forward to something meaningful and acceptable and thus everyone is expected to act rationally. “It is not true if it is taken as meaning that if an act is rational, it should be done. This is because rational actions include not only rationally required actions but also those that are merely rationally allowed, that is neither rationally prohibited nor rationally required” (Gert, 1988), in lieu of this fact, it has been said that acts that are classified as rational could not always be what is required but what is allowed as well. There is at hand criteria as to how to act rationally; several things wherein the society entails enormous credentials to be able to meet the criteria and be rationally inclined.
It has been said that “An adequate reason for acting is a rational belief that can make rational the otherwise personally irrational action for which it is a reason. An adequate objective reason for acting is a fact that can make rational the otherwise objectively irrational action for which it is a reason’ (Gert, 1988), this is a good stance as to how being rational could transform another person or even instance into a more productive and acceptable occurrence in one’s life. These effect is truly a positive reaction of having a grip to what you perceived is right doing and what the society categorized as acceptable and in accordance with the rules that were at hand in a certain dominion.
As regards to Wolff’s point of view, “The fundamental principle of rationality is consistency, an in conformity with that principle rational agents, insofar as they are rational, choose a system of consistent policies and action them in a consistent way. Rational agents also choose consistent ends, although not necessarily ends which are integrated or harmonious in some richer sense”, this connotes a certain thing, that is having a sets of standards which could be somewhat a template that would be accepted by the majority of the people. The consistency that was thoroughly imposed was expected to be chased to be able to be rationally capable.
The character of a person hand in hand with being rationally inclined connotes a very sensible criterion of exploring circumstances in his life. As Gert believes that an act should be rationally allowed and not just rationally required, and Wolff’s outlook towards the principle of rationality as being consistent and that would be in need of unswerving policies it gives the impression that at some point of understanding the phenomenon of rationality, their views towards this specific things goes hand in hand with one another. It may not have the exact attitude and acceptance as well as it does not comprises of the same notion of epitomizing this certain account, but indeed, they both have the same focal element, and that is to be rational, human being must be credible of following a certain rule which will make his actions and attitude an acceptable one far from the thoughts of derailed perspective and oppose stroke.
Tackling the scenario of identifying what is good and what is bad is a very interesting part of one’s grasp to morality. Understanding the underlying principle it covers was absolutely one great proliferation of an inpidual’s character. Evil is one of the tremendous words we do not want to explore or even hear. As we go in depth of poring over what really is classified as evil, there were some connotations we have to put into account like that of Gert
If I am asked what is evil, my answer is that evil is evil and that is all I have to say about it. Or if I am asked how is evil to be defined, my answer is that it cannot be defined and that is the end of the matter”, this is a quotation from an anonymous author. Without a doubt, it is a little incomprehensible to elaborate what an evil is and as to some extent, it is hard to contextualize it in the eyes of this author. Sometimes in our lives we tend to recognize things which we are not capable of describing it further and most probably, this is the case in the author’s viewpoint. We become a diminutive fright if we hear or say the word evil because simply by saying it we presume that it is already evil like that of evil is evil. In this regard, the anonymous author has a broad grasp as to the uncertainties of what evil it may bring and what it could contribute to the character of a certain person. Considering the viewpoint of the author, it confer the consciousness of impreciseness for the reason that he could not even define what an evil is and to a larger lens, he just have the insight of what evil but does not grasp its intense and deep principle.
On another note, Gert was able to exemplify what evil is. Its peculiarities were extremely articulated, “Defining an evil or harm in this way provides a list of evils, death, pain and disability, loss of freedom and loss of pleasure” (Gert, 1988). Clearly, pain is technically evil. Gert perceives that by hurting oneself or other people, the act is regarded as evil and that which is irrational given the fact that it does not entail proper reasoning. The roles of reason come across the essentiality of defining what an evil is as it contributes to the decision of an inpidual.
Given a particular ingredient of understanding why some was not able to define evil, take for instance how the author expound his insight why he is not capable of defining what evil is, “My point is the “evil” is sample notion; that is, just as you cannot by any manner of means, explain to anyone who does not already know it what yellow is, so you cannot explain what evil is”. By simply giving this circumstance, it was a clear explanation how one must know what exactly a commotion means in order to spell it out. What the anonymous author is implying is that there is certain degree that one must know deeply to be able to understand the chain of that particular circumstance.
Going back to what we mention earlier, consistency is essential in dealing with things thus, a person became rational with his action by doing so. If one is unswerving enough and knew what he is apt to, undoubtedly, the latter part of the scenario he is in is not tough to decode its meaning since from the start you are precise already.
As to the eyes of Gert, he is precise of what is the important component in order to grasp the real implications of evil as he quote “The objectivity of yellow is maintained by the proviso – people with normal vision with normal conditions. When all of these people in these conditions call a color “yellow”, it is yellow” (Gert, 1988). Set of standards is indispensable to be able to have one great understanding towards a certain thing or instance. The focal point of Gert’s paradigm having used of the color yellow was simply to embark that if the common people understands a certain thing and the uniformity of its meaning is there, it is not hard to explicate the denotation of such.
The standpoint of Gert and other philosopher definitely at variance with each other yet, they seem to have one melting point and that is to know what exactly a person call for his actions. Of course, it is impossible to create the same views but what is important is that a criterion is at hand that will make the concept of the authors somewhat in the same path.
- “Problem of Evil.” Problem of Evil – RationalWiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.
- Velasquez, Manuel G. Philosophy: A Text with Readings. Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.