Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy and Public Affairs
© 2016 Jose Salazar
Losing ownership and control over the development of and connection to our own person detaches us from the most innate embodiment of ourselves, our person. Without being able to develop and connect to our person, we become detached from expressing our identity, exercising our autonomy, and formulating our own values, the most intrinsic features our person encapsulates. While we yearn to act on our own projects to express our identity, exercise our autonomy, and formulate our own values the way we want, morality imposes huge demands on our person that restrain us from doing so. Morality’s major requirement to always act on morally significant projects to produce the overall good puts us at risk of forfeiting our identity, autonomy, and values. Despite these features being the most innate embodiment of ourselves, morality neglects them so that we always participate in its domain of beneficence to further the interests of others who are in need. Even though great benefits result from always acting on morally significant projects to produce the overall good, we are at odds with moral beneficence because of the demands it imposes on our person.
In this thesis, it is argued what makes a moral theory too demanding. Arguments by Bernard Williams, Samuel Scheffler, Liam B. Murphy, and Richard W. Miller are evaluated to construct views of what makes a moral theory too demanding for them. Afterwards, differences and commonalities are drawn from their views to frame the final view of what makes a moral theory too demanding that is argued here. All of the philosophers’ views contribute to the claim that we are entitled to our lives outside of morality’s domain of beneficence. Afterwards, it is explained why we are entitled to our lives outside of morality’s domain of beneficence. The most compelling explanation is that the potential development of our own person entitles us to do so outside of morality’s domain of beneficence. By developing our person to its fullest height on our own terms and conditions, we can connect to it in the best way possible. Nonetheless, because we are forced to always participate in morality’s domain of beneficence, we lack the ownership and control over the development of and connection to our own person. The demandingness of morality holds the reins over this relation between the development of and connection to our person when in fact we should.
Salazar, Jose, "The Demandingness of Morality: The Person Confined" (2017). CMC Senior Theses. 1498.