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Philosophies of Augustine, Descartes, Arendt on Morality Essay

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Philosophical musings on the nature of morality are often expressed by thinkers who focus on human nature. Among the factors which determine human behaviour, a moral analysis of the concepts of right and wrong is often prominent. In investigating human behaviour through the relationship between reflection and action, this morality is often observed. Therefore, in the course currently entitled Human Sciences 101: Reflection and Action, both phiolosophy and morality are key themes. However, the calendar description for the course is as follows, “What is the relationship between thinking and action? Do they pull us in different directions? Can they be integrated? This course investigates how our own dialogue with core texts, from antiquity (e.g., Homer, Plato, Christian Scriptures) to the present (e.g., Joyce, Arendt), offers ways of understanding the dilemmas and issues raised by these texts and present in our culture” (Waterloo 2013). The description lacks a mention of the philosophical concepts of morality within the course's content. One of the core texts of the course where morality can be seen is Saint Augustine's Confessions, where Augustine explores a theological philosophy. The theme of morality is also seen in René Descartes' Discourse on Method and Related Writings, where Descartes proposes a scientific moral philosophy. Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem also explores morality through a philosophical examination of the relationship between thinking and committing evil. Therefore, the writings of Augustine, Descartes and Arendt each exhibit a philosophical perspective on morality which can be tied to the course's central theme of reflection and action. [END OF INTRODUCTION]
[AUGUSTINE START] In Confessions, Saint Augus...


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... this by also stipulating that acting reasonably leads to becoming as morally good as one's potential allows, by gaining all virtues one is capable of attaining. Therefore, it can be said that the ultimate purpose for reason in Descartes' moral philosophy is achieving virtue. Leading up to virtue, the process of judgement requires reflection, while the will requires action. This is due to the fact that judgement includes internal reflection on facts and concepts in order to form a judgement on them. The will, while formed by the judgement, in itself is usually connected to action because it is controls it. Thus, according to Descartes' moral philosophy, a scientific method can be seen where one thing follows another. Reflection is needed in order to form a judgement, which in turn influences the will, which prescribes whether or not to an action is to be carried out.


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