The directives and potential difficulties of the universal sentient rights

Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December General Assembly resolution A as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over languages. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

The directives and potential difficulties of the universal sentient rights

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To the extent that ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics raise questions about judgments relating to value, they are concerned with axiology. The philosophical attempt of ethics to provide a standard for evaluating laws, religions, customs, and individual preferences is itself based on each philosopher's personal values.

In the retributive notion of justice, the purpose of punishment is to change the person's character so that he or she does not commit such offenses again.

As a utilitarian justification for capital punishment, the reform theory recommends the reform of society at large through the elimination of threatening individuals in the community. Because retribution serves a purpose--namely, giving someone what is due to him or her--it is generally considered a utilitarian justification for punishment.

According to the retributivist, the execution of criminals is a form of respect shown to them as beings capable of making free choices for which they should take responsibility.

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According to Socrates and Plato, we should act virtuously for the sake of others, regardless of whether acting morally improves our ability to discern what is good or to control our passions. According to Socrates and Plato, we can be truly happy only if we allow our reason or intellect to guide our emotions and appetites.

The point of Plato's story of the ring of Gyges is this: In responding to the story of the ring of Gyges, Plato argues that immorality can never be in someone's ultimate self-interest because immoral people are never truly happy.

The directives and potential difficulties of the universal sentient rights

In Plato's theory of the state, justice is ultimately achieved when the ruling class is able to do away with social inequalities by driving the military and working classes out of society. For Plato, the moral balance or harmony of the three parts of the soul is a parallel to the condition of political harmony one must seek in the state.

According to Plato, the soul achieves balance or harmony only when reason controls both the spirited or courageous part of the soul and the soul's appetites. According to Plato, moral goodness is achieved by eliminating the activities of the lower parts of the soul and acting solely on the basis of reason.

In Epicurus' version of hedonism, all decisions about how to live should be based on whether or not one's actions will produce pleasure and avoid pain. For Epicurus, since death is the end of sensation and therefore the end of all paindeath is a positive good that we should look forward to.

Hedonism is a form of teleological ethical theory insofar as it recommends that we act so as to produce happiness pleasure as the consequence of our actions.

The egoistic hedonist says that, if producing the greatest amount of pleasure for ourselves means that we have to take into account the pleasure of others, then we are under a moral obligation to do so.

Stoics note that we accumulate power and wealth by restricting our desires to things over which we have control.

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According to the Stoics, the only way to fulfill our duty to live in harmony with the universe is to yield to our passions, desires, and emotions. For the Stoic, the reason one does one's duty is that it is the only way that a person can achieve true happiness.

According to Aristotle, because moral virtues are habits, they cannot be taught but only learned in living according to them.

According to Aristotle, in a good or happy life someone is able to fulfill himself or herself through behavior that combines moderation, good fortune, and wisdom. In Aristotle's virtue ethics, moral value is a purely private matter, unconnected to how people interact with others in the community.

Because hedonism is a consequentialist way of thinking, it is more properly identified as a form of ethical egoism rather than as a form of psychological egoism. Teleological theories of ethics determine the moral value of actions in terms of their consequences. Though both Epicurus and Bentham agree that we should do that which produces pleasure or happiness, they differ on whose pleasure or happiness should be taken into account.

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If psychological egoism is true, then no ethical position including ethical egoism is possible. Because ethical egoism claims that we are incapable of doing anything other than promoting our self-interests, it violates the moral dictum "ought implies can.

The directives and potential difficulties of the universal sentient rights

For the utilitarian, the whole purpose of ethics and virtuous behavior is the production and increase of happiness. According to the utilitarian principle of morality, one should always act so as to produce the greatest overall and long-term amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.

Utilitarians claim that actions have value and thus are morally good insofar as they produce happiness good consequences for the greatest number of people.

Since utilitarianism is really a form of social hedonism, it cannot be considered as a consequentialist theory of morality. Because Bentham's hedonistic calculus does not consider the pleasures or pains that other people experience as a result of a person's action, it is more egoistic than Mill's version of utilitarianism.

According to Mill, the proof that happiness is good and thus desirable is that human beings desire it. Utilitarians argue that, because all moral values are relative to cultural or individual choice, no universally valid moral principles hold for all human beings.

Mill, the quantity as opposed to the quality of pleasures is determined by how well those pleasures enhance human fulfillment and well-being. A deontological ethical theory is one that makes judgments about the morality of actions based on the ends, purposes, or consequences of the actions.Address of Bertrand Ramcharan, Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Opening of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Palais des Nations, 28 July, Distinguished members of the Sub-Commission, fr.

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From Human Rights to Sentient Rights | Alasdair Cochrane -