Most of the ancient thinkers on the problem were trying to show that we humans have control over our decisions, that our actions "depend on us"and that they are not pre-determined by fate, by arbitrary gods, by logical necessity, or by a natural causal determinism. Almost everything written about free will to date has been verbal debate about the precise meaning of philosophical concepts like causalitynecessityand other dogmas of determinism. The "problem of free will" is often described as a question of reconciling "free will" with one or more of the many kinds of determinism. As a result, the "problem of free will" depends on two things, the exact definition of free will and which of the determinisms is being reconciled.
The Concepts of Beneficence and Benevolence The term beneficence connotes acts of mercy, kindness, and charity. It is suggestive of altruism, love, humanity, and promoting the good of others.
In ordinary language, the notion is broad, but it is understood even more broadly in ethical theory to include effectively all forms of action intended to benefit or promote the good of other persons. The language of a principle or rule of beneficence refers to a normative statement of a moral obligation to act for the others' benefit, helping them to further their important and legitimate interests, often by preventing or removing possible harms.
Many dimensions of applied ethics appear to incorporate such appeals to obligatory beneficence, even if only implicitly. For example, when apparel manufacturers are criticized for not having good labor practices in factories, the ultimate goal of the criticisms is usually to obtain better working conditions, wages, and benefits for workers.
Whereas beneficence refers to an action done to benefit others, benevolence refers to the morally valuable character trait—or virtue—of being disposed to act to benefit others.
Many acts of beneficence have been understood in moral theory as obligatory, as determined by principles of beneficence that state moral obligation. However, beneficent acts also may be performed from nonobligatory, optional moral ideals, which are standards that belong to a morality of meritorious aspiration in which individuals or institutions adopt goals and practices that are not obligatory for everyone.
Exceptional beneficence is commonly categorized as supererogatory, a term meaning paying or performing beyond what is obligatory or doing more than is required. This category of extraordinary conduct usually refers to high moral ideals of action, but it has links to virtues and to Aristotelian ideals of moral excellence.
Such ideals of action and moral excellence of character need not rise to the level of the moral saint or moral hero.
Even moral excellence comes by degrees. Not all supererogatory acts of beneficence or benevolent dispositions are exceptionally arduous, costly, or risky. Examples of less demanding forms include anonymous gift-giving, uncompensated public service, forgiving another person's costly error, and complying with requests to provide a benefit that exceeds the obligatory requirements of ordinary morality or professional morality.
Saintly and heroic beneficence and benevolence are at the extreme end of a continuum of beneficent conduct and commitment. This continuum is not merely a continuum mapping the territory beyond duty. It is a continuum of beneficence itself, starting with obligatory beneficence. The continuum runs from strict obligation grounded in the core norms of beneficence in ordinary morality through weaker obligations the outer periphery of ordinary expectations of persons, such as great conscientiousness in attending to a friend's welfare and on to the domain of the morally nonrequired and exceptionally virtuous.
An absence of this sort of beneficence constitutes a defect in the moral life, even if not a failure of obligation. The continuum ends with high-level acts of supererogation such as heroic acts of self-sacrifice to benefit others. Beneficence is best understood as spread across this continuum.
However, there is considerable controversy about where obligation ends and supererogation begins on the continuum. A celebrated example of beneficence that rests somewhere on this continuum, though it is hard to locate just where, is the New Testament parable of the Good Samaritan.
In this parable, robbers have beaten and left half-dead a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. A Samaritan tends to his wounds and cares for him at an inn.
The Samaritan's actions are beneficent and the motives benevolent. However, they do not seem—on the information given—to rise to the level of heroic or saintly conduct.This Is Political Philosophy: An Introduction / Edition 1 This is Political Philosophy is an accessible and well-balanced introduction to the main issues in political philosophy written by an author team from the fields of both philosophy and attheheels.com: $ Autonomy.
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This article is concerned with social and political equality. In its prescriptive usage, ‘equality’ is a loaded and ‘highly contested’ concept. Jonathan Wolff's introduction to political philosophy is by far the superior of all within its kind. Whilst many introductions to philosophy tend to overlook political and social philosophies, Wolff provides a sweeping and impartial review of the main debates in political philosophy through a series of intriguing and engaging questions/5. This Is Political Philosophy: An Introduction / Edition 1 This is Political Philosophy is an accessible and well-balanced introduction to the main issues in political philosophy written by an author team from the fields of both philosophy and attheheels.com: $
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