Overview of Philosophical Approaches to Morality

Overview of Philosophical Approaches to Morality

June 28, 2021 Off By Felso

Ethics of Pleasure

According to the understanding of pleasure ethics, the value of moral action comes from the pleasure that occurs as a result of the action. Hedonists reject the universal moral law because the sense of pleasure is of varying degrees and individuality. Typical representatives of this moral approach are Aristippos and Epicurus.

• For Aristippus, what brings pleasure is good, what gives pain is bad.
• According to Epicurus, pleasure is the goal that all people aim and have to turn to.

Ethics of Benefit

According to the understanding of utility ethics, things that benefit the individual are good, and things that do not benefit the individual are bad. This understanding values ​​the result of moral action and attributes the value of moral action to the result it will give. According to this understanding, which regards utility and success as the criterion of good, there is no universal moral law. In this respect, utilitarians and hedonists are intellectually similar.

Ethics of Selfishness

Selfishness is the indulgence of one’s self and interests. In the moral sense, selfishness is the view that asserts that all one’s actions are determined by self-love, and that being moral is nothing but an expression of self-preservation instinct. For this reason, selfish people, like utilitarians and hedonists, do not accept the existence of a universal moral law.

The leading representative of this understanding is Hobbes. According to Hobbes, there are two important motives that direct and actuate people: “self-love” and “self-protection.” Hobbes sees one’s own success and happiness as the most important and valuable thing in life.


According to anarchists, moral rules, like legal rules, are rules that restrict human freedom. Without these rules, one can present himself better and lead a better life. According to the philosophy of anarchism, the only thing that matters is the rights and freedoms of individuals.

Typical representatives of this philosophical approach are Proudhon and Stirner.


• It defends that the natural state of people should not be forced by artificial institutions.
• He says that the removal of oppressive institutions will make people happy.


• It defends that the individual is not responsible for anything or anyone other than himself.
• “Neither good or bad means anything to me.” says. According to him, it is only the power of my own ego that justifies human actions.


Nihilism; It is a philosophical approach that does not recognize any principles against existing views, values ​​and order. The typical representative of this movement is Nietzsche. Nietzsche tried to establish an immoral doctrine by opposing the traditional morality, which he described as slave morality. According to him, the main reason for life is the desire to be strong. Happiness is not in pleasure, but in strength. A superhuman is a person who can create his own values ​​by defeating traditional values ​​thanks to his power.

Self Ethics

According to this understanding represented by Sartre, man is the only being in the universe that creates his own existence. Man creates his own values ​​and chooses his own path. According to Sartre, there is no general morality and no sign to guide man in the world. Man is condemned to freedom. Everyone has to determine their own essence. A person is alone when making decisions and all responsibilities are on his own shoulders.

Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM