Our moral obligations to other human beings should not end at a certain point. This is because to have a moral standing means that an individual some moral obligation which guide him or her when associating with other persons. This is the reason why we argue that if an individual is said to have moral obligations he or she may perhaps not treat it in any way we delight but on the other hand we say that he or she is morally obliged to give more consideration in his or her thoughts to its needs, interests or interests of other human beings. Furthermore, this means that we are not morally obliged to determine other persons end because this is determined by many factors ranging from international law on human rights dictated by cosmopolitanism and realism. Also the concept of our moral standing helps us to develop good judgment of our moral obligations towards other human beings or persons.
Moral obligations for an ethics based on natural teleology are not hypothetical but they depend mostly on what an individual wants or chooses (Younkins, 2005, p.184).The argument is that moral obligations are conditional on attaining ones human good which is ones natural end. Younkins (2005) established that “human’s beings are moral agents and choosing is the central necessary element in the achievement of the life that is proper to man” (p. 184). Perhaps in his studies Younkins (2005) mentioned “that human choice is not radically free because it does not create its context and therefore it is not some primitive, inexplicable or unconditioned act” (p. 184).
Younkins (2005) further says that “human beings can choose not to hold mans survival qua man as their moral standard but they cannot choose not to be human or not to have the overall potentiality for such a manner of living” (p. 184). He also noted that living the life that is proper to man is the ultimate telos of human choice whether or not human beings recognize it or choose it (Younkins, 2005).
In his studies Hayden (2005) established that it is important to have “moral and legal cosmopolitanism which will indeed support the creation or transformation of institutional schemes so as to provide concrete procedural and organizational mechanisms dedicated to securing and protecting human rights of all people” (p. 96). Hayden (2005) further says that moral persons are autonomous and free to choose and are thus ends in themselves (p.98). Moreover the categorical imperative provides a rule of respect for human freedom that is respect for all persons to determine their own ends (Hayden, 2005 p. 98).
Besides this cosmopolitan theorists have for long period of time held to the fact that all individuals are moral beings. Hayden (2005) says that the idea of universal human rights is premised on the ideal that all persons are free and equal regardless of the society into which they happen to be born. In this context it should be noted that the moral obligation of human rights is to respect, protect and promote the freedom and equality of all persons everywhere (Hayden 2005 p. 98). Hayden (2005) continues to say that through the cosmopolitan theorists it’s a moral obligation for all human through the “universal human rights support to regard persons as free and equal in worthy and dignity and secondly they are considered to be entitled equally to certain fundamental rights needed to ensure an existence worthy of human equality and dignity” (p. 98).
Apart from cosmopolitan, realism plays an integral role in the study of moral obligations. Nardin & Mapel (1993) found out that “in the recent years realism has reestablished its predominance in the study of international relations because of continuing relevance of the realist challenge to morality in foreign policy” (p. 85). According to their studies Nardin & Mapel (1993) further says the connection between moral obligations in ending human is based on the account of human nature that emphasizes self interest and the egoistic passions and an account of international relations (p. 85). Due to this realists typically argue that universal moral principles cannot be applied to the actions of states (Nardin & Mapel, 1993).
Nardin & Mapel (1993) also commented that human nature is the starting point for realism hence for realist’s human nature lies in the egoistic passions which incline men and women to evil (p. 86). Human nature usually is tamed by a hierarchical political structure of authority and rule and therefore the evil egoistic side of human nature is more easily (Nardin & Mapel, 1993 p.87). They also say that if we combine the dimension of strength or purity with the differing emphases on human nature and international anarchy then we can say that realism encompasses a diverse array of views (Nardin & Mapel, 1993). As a result Nardin & Mapel (1993) indicated “that the essential nature of man may not be altered but human behavior in general can sometimes be improved by the establishment of an order of things” (p. 88).
Communitarians’ emphasizes on the ends of the community and their constitutive role in forming the identity of persons (Hill, 2000 p. 150). According to Hill (2000) the communitarian standards dictate that a “group of people who live in a common territory have a common history and shared values, participate together in various activities and have a high degree of solidarity” (p. 150). A major feature of communitarians is the centrality of the values, percepts and customs held by the majority within a particular community. Hill (2000) thus says “that from the above argument in communities where the values o an oppressive minority rule there is still an appeal to majority hence procedures are devised to ensure that those falling within the numerical majority do not count as valid members of the community” (p. 152).
Hill (2000) also indicated that “in the contemporary world and more so in the western industrialized democracies individuals moral obligations are constantly challenged by the values of morally and politically competing communities” (p. 152). Besides that, Tétreault & Lipschutz (2009) mentioned that “communitarians draw lines outside of which we have no moral obligations and need not be concerned about justice” (p. 153). In their further studies Tétreault & Lipschutz (2009) mentioned that “communitarianism is an approach that is constant with contemporary world order and its proponents have little concern for people who live and die in far way lands. In relation to moral obligation we can devise that while there may be differing approaches to communitarianism generally the limits to justice may ignore the proximity and suffering (Tétreault & Lipschutz, 2009 p. 154). He continues to say that in the communitarianism view we are not even obligated to take in someone who has grounds for fearing persecution, torture, or death if returned to his or her homeland (Tétreault & Lipschutz, 2009 p. 154).
Hayden (2005) says that “the basic insight underling the idea f cosmopolitan law enforcement is that the growth of international humanitarian and human rights norms has coincided with recognition that there can be intervention from other states” (p. 96). The purpose or this is preventing large scale human rights violations and suffering (Hayden, 2005). In addition Hayden (2005) says that “in contending that all human beings have equal moral standing within a single world community, both moral and legal cosmopolitanism propose that protecting and securing the human rights of all individuals requires satisfying certain corresponding obligations of justice with regard to all the persons of the world” (p. 96).
According to Hayden (2005) the general moral obligation concerning human rights should be defined as within the moral claims that “every person has to have a basic minimum level of treatment including various freedoms, protections, and benefits needed for the viability and security of human life and to which it is believed all human beings are entitled” (p. 100). Hayden (2005) continues to say that “human rights should be understood both as positive principles invoked by moral obligations to aid and cooperate with other individuals in securing, protecting and promoting the full realization of their rights claims” (p. 100). As a result Hayden (2005) says that moral obligations should “not impede or coerce other individuals from participating in securing, protecting and promoting the conditions in which individuals will be enabled to fully realize their rights” (p. 100).
Pihlström (2005) says that it is important “to understand ourselves and the world we inhabit with others hence we do not use the irreducibly value laden concept of evil which is needed in the attempts to make sense of certain actions situations or people that cannot be described as bad or wrong” (p. 59). Pihlström (2005) further argues that the fact that we cannot fully understand and affirm to our moral lives or that we cannot fully acknowledge our profound inability to fully understand our lives (p. 59). Preferably it is not our moral obligation to cope with evil either conceptually or practically but it important to understand that it is part of our human condition (Pihlström, 2005).
Mortality is fragile hence we may lose our faith in it because there are cases where morality requires us to do what we consider morally wrong (Pihlström, 2005 p. 59). Pihlström (2005) gives an example of a contradiction of moral obligation which sometime my arise in our lives “where by one may be convinced that it is wrong under any circumstances, to kill another human being but one may arrive at a situation in which the individual may have duty to kill someone who for example threatens other human life” (p. 59). In this case it is clear that the duty to kill does not remove the wrongness of the killing hence Pihlström (2005) says that in “cases where there is no right thing to do but only tragically morally wrong alternatives are not unusual in our lives” (p. 59). The major aspect in such situations is that moral identity of any given person is fundamentally vulnerable ad can easily be compromised.
Furthermore, Pihlström (2005) the full realization of moral obligation is based on the suffering that cannot be prevented hence mortality is seen as unavoidable condition of any living creature. Pihlström (2005) also indicated that in the “moral realism what corresponds to the crucial notion of self consciousness is submission, moral integrity and the integrity of the ethical subject or the moral self” (p. 62). Pihlström (2005) says that “moral realism on the other hand can be conceptualized as the relative stability and variety of the moral world we experience and react to as seen through our practices” (p. 63). He continues to say that if we see moral realism as an ethical commitment that we should make in our lives the rejecting it amounts to a step beyond a serious concern with morality (Pihlström, 2005). As a result we cannot stay on the level of mere description of moral obligation but everyone must know that there is a need of ethical intervention.
In his research, Pihlström (2005) found out that the genuine sense of moral obligation enables us to see virtue as the only thing of worth hence it will be impossible to limit and foresee the ways in which it will required for us because of the immense distance which is involved. Hayden (2005) says that the “challenge to cosmopolitan mortality is to convert imperfect obligations into perfect obligations” (p. 105). This means to translate our moral obligations under the terms of global justice into actual political practice (Hayden, 2005). Hayden (2005) says that “were the moral obligations have been rendered imperfect because of conditions such as lack of resources or finances or lack of will on the part of extent political agencies and leadership” (p. 105). His studies continue to indicate that in such situations the moral obligations tend to be used for correcting the relevant deficiencies in certain conditions so as to perfect them for later use. Larsen, Ommundsen & Veer (2008) indicated that; internationally it is important defines moral obligations referring to the violation of the rights of other persons so that the world may have a distinguished moral principles because culture molds and rationalizes our moral obligations causing cultural differences.
In conclusion our moral obligations to other human beings should not be set to end at a certain point. This is because both realism and cosmopolitanism support the principle of universal treatment to all human beings. It is important to develop international universal moral obligations so as to maintain the integrity of other people’s lives. Realism thus cannot be applied to the actions of states to avoid rationalizing moral obligations which in turn can cause cultural differences. Cosmopolitanism should emphasize on a common ground for human rights internationally whether a certain behavior in the international perspective is considered a matter of moral obligation or whether it is a social principle demanding compliance. Due to the ethical principles associated with both cosmopolitanism and realism this implies that our moral obligations to other human beings should not end at any point implying and therefore there should be universal treatment of all persons without discrimination of culture, origin or ethnicity.
- Hayden, P (2005). Cosmopolitan global politics Danbury, CT: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
- Hill, J. D (2000). Becoming a cosmopolitan: what it means to be a human being in the new millennium Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Larsen,K. S, Ommundsen, R & Veer, K.V (2008). Being Human: Relationships and You: A Social Psychological Analysis Redondo Beach, CA: Rozenberg Publishers.
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- Pihlström, S (2005). Pragmatic moral realism: a transcendental defense San Diego, CA: Rodopi.
- Tétreault, M. A & Lipschutz, R. D (2009). Global Politics as If People Mattered 2nd ed Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Warren, M. A (2000). Moral status: obligations to persons and other living things New York, NY: Oxford University Press US.
- Younkins, E. W (2005). Philosophers of capitalism: Menger, Mises, Rand, and beyond Lexington, KY: Lexington Books.