In my view, the history of humanity is filled with individuals who have proposed systems from which morality, or what is good, is defined.

Such systems range from a person claiming to be the moral compass of humanity, and that he/she is just perfectly right. Hence proposing that we should basically copy him/her to be maximally moral/good.

Another example is Kant, who proposed the categorical imperative by which the moral compass is within each individual. E.g. it is moral if I do X as long as I'm fine if others do X to me.

I am sure that there are many more philosophers that have attempted to improve upon these definitions of morality/good, or even proposing some definition that is totally different, and better.

But my problem is that I don't know where is today's state of philosophy on "morality/good". E.g. are philosophers mainly still following Kant's view as the most plausible one?

Hence my question is: generally, what is the most accepted definition of morality/good in philosophy, today?

  • People have continued to research Kant and debate what his idea means...
    – virmaior
    Jul 26 '19 at 10:07
  • Did people propose something better? Or refute it?
    – caveman
    Jul 26 '19 at 12:22
  • 1
    This is functionally unanswerable. There's a robust scholarship all building on Kant that numbers into thousands of scholars and millions of pages.
    – virmaior
    Jul 26 '19 at 14:09
  • So among those thousands of scholars, can you name examples where they improved upon Kant's work?
    – caveman
    Jul 26 '19 at 18:20
  • Maybe you would be interested in something like this you perhaps can find in a library, Michelle Kosch, Fichte's Ethics, Oxford University Press, 2018, 208pp., ISBN 9780198809661. Review: ndpr.nd.edu/news/fichtes-ethics
    – Gordon
    Jul 26 '19 at 20:40

One of the most influential and thorough who is also recent and still alive is Jurgen Habermas. He developed a very detailed system of ethics called Discourse Ethics often seen as a branch on Kant's categorical imperative due to his criteria of ethical acts requiring universalization. By universalization, he means that all people could accept this moral premise without 'contradiction' (i.e, without conflict).

See Habermas's section on Kantian Ethic's wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kantian_ethics#J%C3%BCrgen_Habermas

German philosopher Jürgen Habermas has proposed a theory of discourse ethics that he claims is a descendant of Kantian ethics. He proposes that action should be based on communication between those involved, in which their interests and intentions are discussed so they can be understood by all. Rejecting any form of coercion or manipulation, Habermas believes that agreement between the parties is crucial for a moral decision to be reached. Like Kantian ethics, discourse ethics is a cognitive ethical theory, in that it supposes that truth and falsity can be attributed to ethical propositions. It also formulates a rule by which ethical actions can be determined and proposes that ethical actions should be universalisable, in a similar way to Kant's ethics.

Habermas argues that his ethical theory is an improvement on Kant's ethics. He rejects the dualistic framework of Kant's ethics. [...] For Habermas, morality arises from discourse, which is made necessary by their rationality and needs, rather than their freedom.

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