Theory of the Moral Life
John Dewey’s book, ‘Theory of the Moral Life’ is a reflection of the interpretation and practice of morality. Various philosophers demonstrated huge diversity in their opinions and statements concerning the maintenance of utilitarian theory, moral theory, and hedonism. The book exhibits unique qualities in its application of collusive theories containing morality vision and the higher virtues of the human race. Based on the mentioned theories, the paper provides proper analysis that portrays Dewey’s sustention on the law and abandoning the cold justice myth which opposes the virtues.
‘Theory of the Moral Life’ is an expression of the outlook of John Dewey. He is seen as a key founder of Pragmatism a philosophical stream on the basis of practice as the dominant criterion for sense and truth. Numerous disciples from the elite surrounding attended his school. The writer gained a pedagogic experience not only being a renowned tutor at Columbia University for 47 years but also through his prolific writing skills and anti-war activities. The content of the book is made up of six chapters each containing two introductions and an additional explanation. The first introduction dictates the moral and ethics definitions while the other constitutes human and moral conduct. The first chapter is divided into seven paragraphs containing critical issues concerning Dewey’s theory. A rhetoric technique by the author is exemplified to capture the reader through his discussion of moral act.
Moral theory helps in the presage, administration, and removal of conflicts. Speaking out on the moral act nature, the author considers it as a voluntary issue thus acknowledging the Aristotle’s practice. Moreover, Dewey explains clearly on how habit defines the general character of a given individual. Each person’s character is defined by the continuous habit he/she exposes. Majority of the talk regarding motive as the true moral reflection and action generator are explained further in the fourth to seventh parts of the first chapter. This is evident when he talks about moral code as key in the construction of a person’s legal and social behavior. During the end of the chapter, the author defines moral theories in three categories: teleological, virtue, and Jural.
Divided into seven parts the second chapter is a true reflection of the writers opinions on moral actions, human desires, Epicureanism interpretation, thoughts, asceticism and hedonism in one’s life, and the of success measures. Hedonism is an ethics philosophy that asserts that the happiness highest value is through physical satisfaction. Consequently, the philosopher explains how desire has an enormous impact on human character and filters out further feelings and emotions. The failure of cultural norms leads to arising queries on how to change goals among individuals, due to earlier dysfunctional institutions. Dewey gives comprehensive allusions concerning habit and goods: conditions may provoke certain changes to happen on the last ones. To add with, he presumes that building a habit provides positive moral discipline and further encloses wisdom.
The third chapter involves duty, loyalty and right issues. The author provides a distinct interpretation regarding law as a pure expression of the community’s wisdom. The application of Roman classical traditions of moral theory by the author claims the interaction between individuals dictates the moral chain of duties. In contrast, Dewey’s application of Kantian theory concerning extreme duties is evident in one’s desire as primary motive to do a given task which facilitates self love replacement. Though there is a vivid recognition of Kantian theory on virtues and morals, the author believes Kant helps in promoting atheistic postulates. Atheism is based on the view which denies any kind of power that is embraced in religious studies. Ultimately, the author in his quest for alluding to Christianity doctrines forgets the arising conflicts and thus creating equality in the right of preaching the law, morality and the ideal routine.
Dewey professes that Christianity lead to both physical elimination and the emergence of mental and legal autochthonous moral law. Frequently, Dewey applies to necessity of the role played by law and right as an element of strength and constancy of the social good. There is a clear impression by his opinions that prove relationship exists among people and the cohesive group expresses its existence through the mechanism of law. The law binds the sense of duty discussed by John Dewey in this chapter by delivering an affirmative justice that is righteous and fair. He earmarks that today’s culture forsakes the vigor that accompanies Jural acceptance.
Additionally the fourth chapter, concerns the approval and disapproval issues on the basis of Utilitarian theory, the concept of virtue, good and morality as well as Hedonism. The Utilitarian theory concept is the measurement of objects, process and phenomenon from the utility position and its possible use in reaching its goals. Dewey’s work acknowledges some few established English philosophers such as, Adam Smith, Bentham, Mills, and Hume. Bentham provides vivid assessment on the blame and praise traits of a character within the standards of Utilitarian theory. The writer uses the Bentham’s theory which reflects contradicting element in Hedonistic psychology as it is more fascinating. Easy given individual acts according to her pleasures and benefits. However, performing deeds worth of praise creates a satisfaction for various persons that is particularly an anomaly. This depicts the author’s application of individualism challenge- a paired percussion between altruistic and selfish as well as approbation morality which reiterates on the purpose of harmony between a person and the collective pleasure.
Nevertheless, the author makes an argument on the inference that justice domination is a requisite condition; even with abandoning essential values behind justice domination is necessary condition, even with abandoning essential values behind. The philosopher assumes that without benevolence and humanity, justice aggravates crimes making a nostalgic idea of justice seem nonsensical. Dewey propels a conviction that reflective moralities distract the virtue views. There is difference and changes regarding location of circumstances with time while certain peculiarity reflecting the individual’s sole interest. Therefore, it is mandatory for humans to promote fairness and equality in their treatment. Immense collectives may result to discontinuity of moral virtues, propelling a significant space for racism, hate, and belligerent tendencies.
The fifth chapter is dedicated to important issues concerning the moral aspect knowledge and judgment. Impulsive consent yields a desired maturation of the moral mentality and ratios evaluation of specific people and specified circumstances. The author nonetheless uses intuition as a perfect tool in determining the disapproval or approval of various actions and values. In this context, the previous habit definition in the book seems flanked. Additionally, the writer distinguishes altruism and egoism on how various inner requests and collisions depicts a person’s motifs, responsibility recognition, relationships and freedom demands. Altruism dictates self-denial in accordance to selfless desire in working for others benefits. On the other hand, egoism constitutes the principle in view of personal priorities and huge benefits as high value. Dewey’s responsibility approach is irresistible as he claims habitual changes shapes the future of people in that it has an impact on their desires and defines humankind virtues.
Concisely, ‘Theory of the Moral Theory’ by John Dewey unifies numerous positions accordingly on the morality and law concept. He uses his own profound experience and acknowledges the timely theories of Mills, Kant, Hume, Bentham and Adam Smith. Simultaneously, he cushions the moral law hypothesis, social agreement implementation and maintains individuality. Furthermore, the book entails contradicting elements in number, which represents human actions and other moral behavior in aspect of ramifications they ruffle.