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The Most Moral Important Ideals

Setting up an ‘ideal’ is like establishing a goal. In terms of morality, the ‘ideal’ denotes practices that are supposed to produce good results and actions that are good in themselves. Now, the notion of good can be subjective, relative or universal depending on the context of discussion and perspective used. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that preserving life, creating harmony and increasing happiness are considered a good thing by most people. The most important moral ideals should give way to the most accepted concept of good.

Otherwise, the importance of the moral ideals will only reflect individual preference. Creating a list of the ‘most important’ denotes that this ideal can override other ideals in most cases. To this end, I believe that the most important ideal among the ideals listed by Ruggiero are prudence, temperance and beneficence. Prudence, as explained by Ruggiero, implies practical wisdom. By exercising prudence, one is critically evaluating past experiences prior to acting what the most appropriate response deemed by the individual.

This means that considerations and evaluations are made by the actor indicating his responsibility for his action. This deliberation is important since more often than not, values, ideals, duties and responsibilities conflict with one another. While prudence requires practicality, another important ideal concerns temperance which is simply the ability to control personal desires. If conflict occurs, it is vital that personal desires are set aside because desires are often irrational and self-centered.

One cannot achieve long-term happiness by following short-lived desires. If a person acted out of personal desire or without temperance, harmony, happiness or even preservation of life may not be achieved since the person is acting based on desires instead of seeing things through reason. Another important moral ideal is beneficence. It is known as “doing good for no other reason than it is good” (Ruggiero). This might seem to contradict prudence since it focused of the innate goodness of the action rather than rational deliberation.

It is also inclined to dismiss temperance since it refers to instinctual notion of kindness. Nonetheless, it must be noted that perception of goodness –no matter how instinctive or universal it might seem, is influenced by culture, tradition, and environment. The notion of beneficence implies benefits over losses. The application of prudence and temperance should integrate the idea of beneficence to advance moral actions. Moral decision makings should involve these three important ideals to arrive at a rational conclusion.

Moral dilemmas resulting from a conflict of ideals can be resolved through deliberating whether the goodness of the action outweighs the risk involved. Personal desire should not get entwined with the decision process to avoid personal bias and blame. The other moral ideals that Ruggiero mentioned are also important and at times necessary. However, in case of decision-making including moral dilemmas priority should be given to the ideals that would yield ‘good’ results. Reference: Ruggiero. Chapter 9. Pages 107-17

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