How should we live?

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How an individual should live is defined by several aspects of life.They include the social and cultural values, laws and duties, andpersonal values. Ethics and morality provide a framework that defineshow an individual ought to live. Morality includes standards thatguide persons or groups to do what is right or good. Ethics askquestions on whether the action is justified or reasonable. What isethical is relative. This means that acceptability of actions isinfluenced by the society or culture we live in. Consequently,recognizing the social and cultural differences in morality isinevitable. For example, what is considered to be morally right inAmerica may be wrong in the Asia. Consequently, no single standard is‘correct’ in defining how we should live. This is because peopleuse different systems to determine what is appropriate within a givensocial group. Thus, no ethical system is considered to be universaland absolute (Velasquez, 2014).

However, the relativity of moral standards does not mean that normswithin a society cannot be criticized. Additionally, some values canbe universal. Relativism is essential in promoting tolerance tocultural and social differences (Velasquez, 2014).

Ethical theories can also be used to define how we live. For example,according to consequentialism, the consequences of an act make itright or wrong. An action is considered to be acceptable if itresults in more good and less suffering. Nonetheless, there areseveral questions that individuals should ask themselves indetermining the morality of their deeds. This includes whether theconsequences considered affects self or all people involved. Additionally, it is important to consider moral duties as well asnatural laws. These deliberations are critical in determining how weshould live (Velasquez, 2014).


Velasquez, M. (2014). Philosophy: a text with readings.Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

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