Ross: What Makes Things Right?

Ross begins this chapter by saying that determining “right” things is actually really hard. He discusses a theory by a Professor Moore that describes right things as morally good things that are also productive for the moral agent who enacts said right thing. He discusses utilitarianism and how the concept of maximizing happiness relies upon a moral agent to do the right thing when faced with any scenario. I think Ross is saying that rightness is indicative of happiness. He says happiness can only be achieved through righteous actions, at least while discussing Moore’s theory, or ‘ideal utilitarianism’.

Duties are also highlighted in this chapter and are used to help determine rightness. There are right and wrong duties that each moral being has in each situation. The duties that the moral being chooses to do result in either a right or wrong final event.

I think each person has his or her own individual idea of what right and wring actions are. Each being is different, and I think Ross understands this uniqueness among these moral agents. I also agree with Ross when he says ideas of right and wrong are external factors and that we, as humans/moral agents, are not born with this sense of rightness and wrongness. It is given to us through societal factors.


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