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Intention In Moral Psychology

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Intention In Moral Psychology

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Intention In Moral Psychology

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Discuss about the Intention in Moral Psychology.
 
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Introduction

A renewed interest in moral psychology has been seen over the past few decades. The studies on the empirical aspects of morality are not new since there has been a long tradition in various fields such as in mental and social psychology. Unprecedented interdisciplinary endeavour to study this phenomenon has been presented and seen by the collaboration of developmental, cognitive and psychosocial psychologists, neuroscientists, and anthropologists being involved in the studies. One priority goal of moral psychologists is to comprehend the processes of cognition that influences and supports the human moral judgment. This task has however proven to be daunting. Numerous philosophers have yet to display a solution in the midst of varied opinions about the debated issue of ethics. (Doris and Stich, 2017) Anthropologists have also recorded diversity in the judgment of moral decisions occurring across different cultures as it seems that what is moral in some cultures is seen in others as impermissible. Even further, some psychologists have used neuroscience cognitive tools of measurement in proving the differences in the processes of cognition which greatly influence moral judgment. (Knobe, 2014).
Role of Intention within Moral Psychology
The theories of intent can be classified on two axes. First is how they find togetherness in the intention guises, if they explain one regarding the other, which they treat as primary if any? There exists great opposition between the accounts that consider intention to be involved concerning the mental state of which intentional action can be explained and those that do not. Secondly, it’s on how they understand the relationship between evaluative thought and intention. These questions arise in the relation between whatever is involved in intention and doing. (McHugh, 2012).
In the intending as doing, studies described a reductive theory of intent in which the phrase doesn’t describe an event or state of the presenting agent but as a way of describing the primary cause of what he is doing where it is understood that it presents as a pro-attitude in the face of some feature along which the distinct belief is that the original action manifests with that feature. (Reynolds and Miller, 2015).  In the intention in action, there exist two obvious thoughts; one is doing ‘A’ intentionally which refers that it is done with further intention or doing with the intent of doing ‘A.’ the second is that the phenomenon is to be described in terms of the intent to the state of the mental status. In the intention and the good, the intention as a mental state that relates in doing A amounts to performing A with intent, or with the continual intention of doing B, that presents as a fact that would unite the modes of intention with which it began. (Richter, 2011)
Some psychologists have performed studies with the aim of deconstructing intent to the reconstruction of morality. In deconstructing intent, we often attribute the behaviors of others to the action intention which explains the concept of intentional action as a causal theory. This folk theory of action intent revolves around the concept of a plan. For example, it’s like asking a friend to pass the salt or taking a vacation to China. In simple terms, it involves the link of outcomes to actions. To simply it, we can confirm that when a person has intentionally travelled to China, we imply the occurrence of a multi-part sequence in that they formed states of mental that included a plan to travel to the place. They also performed the actions in the plans and those actions made them be in China. (Schwenkler, 2013)
In reconstructing morality, theorists agree that morality is a Hodge podge of various cognitive mechanisms. For example, psychologists involved in research have identified various dissociations occurring among kinds of moral evaluation that involves the person’s character, their actions wrongness and the punishment they deserve. Therefore, these categories of evaluating morality have been distinguished by their sensitivity concerning different parts of the theory of intentional action. (McDowell, 2010)
In the development of intention based moral judgment, we can deduce some roles in which intent plays in the field of psychology. In various circumstances, when pre-schoolers make a decision on the moral valence on the acts focused outcome rather than the actor’s intention’s and beliefs. Between the years of four and ten, they use mental states into account when deciding whether a certain act is wrong or how the wrongness should be punished. For example, Piaget demonstrated that kids take it more morally worse to accidentally make a large ink stain than to make an intentional small one which indicates their focus on the outcome severity. Older children, on the other hand, make the opposite judgment which indicates their focus on malicious intent. (Sheeran, 2012)
 
Relevance of Intention in Ethics
An intention is ethically relevant in psychology because it is an ethical premise that enables the evaluation of actions essentially by the intentions of the actions. (???, 2011) This idea goes hand in hand with any standard of values and beliefs. This is to say that it is the claim that only the desired results are important morally and not the consequences of an action. If morality is a guide to the way of living that can only be true if the outcome of a moral action is in a person’s best interest. The claim that intentions are the ones that only matter makes ethics to become useless. Therefore it is strictly left only as a method of evaluating the actions of others and hence can’t be used as a guide to an individual’s actions. (Becker and Becker, 2012)
The ethics of intentions proposes and is derived from the idea that people whose intention is to do harm will eventually succeed. It is normally a way of evil judgment by the mere fact that their wish is to harm people, not that they do. But this understanding is faulty because it is the impending actions that are evil. In ethics, the fact that a person is malevolent usually affirms that the individual will take the actions. However, it is the actions that are destructive. What a good example of showing the role intention plays in ethics is when the ethics of intention is used in a real life example. In a journal article some few months ago, it portrayed a mother who had killed her young son when she had come to believe that the world was just a suffering place hence there was no chance of happiness. She, therefore, murdered her son to save him from the torment of living in this earth. Concerning ethics of intentions, she would deserve to be praised as a hero. (SAEMI, 2012).
In research, studies have developed theories that try to prove the correlation of the role of intention and its relevancy in ethical behavior and decision making. Such theories include the theory of reasoned action and also the theory of planned behavior. One approach to understanding an individual’s behavior and intentions can be seen in the theory of reasoned action. This is because it is consciously concerned with intended behaviors hence linking the behavioral intention to the individual’s actual behavior. Other studies explored the impact of individual and organizational ethics on ethical intention. The findings showed that intentions are relevant in ethics since an individual’s intention to be involved in ethical behavior can be used as a dependent variable. This behavior can be expressed as values hence the focus is on ethical intention since it provides a great latitude to make ethical decisions. (LaFollette, 2013)
On a personal evaluation, the most important question one can ask him/herself is whether intentions can be considered the most important part of being ethical. From the above work, I believe that intentions and actions are closely connected. It can be affirmed that actions can be judged depending on their moral worth and on the basic belief that moral actions originate within an individual’s intentions. In moral psychology, scrutiny of motives and intentions will reveal that nearly all good behavior proceeds from intentions that are questionable hence ethically, we can say that it is not practical for us to judge other people’s behavior solely from their intention.
In my opinion, the criticism on consequentialism is right and is justifiable because it is not based on the actions we ought to do but rather describes the rights and wrongs which occur from the consequences. This cannot be true because there is a possibility that one implication could be right to one individual and wrong to another individual. Therefore, I conquer with the deontological ethicists who postulated that the nature of each action is what is important on the subject of being ethical. For example, if an individual steals food to feed his family? The act is wrong, but the nature of the committed action is good. Therefore, to conclude, I would support the statement that moral intention is ethically relevant in the development of virtues that are good and unique to human life.
Conclusion
Morality has proved to be complex. It, therefore, makes sense that the spaces of morality can be divided in various ways. Some theories have had the suggestion of divisions by the contextual form in explaining variability in culture. Other theories suggest divisions by relationships which account for differences in judgments across various relationships of the identical act. It can be posited that a compromise is required in fully explaining the human moral psychology into a theory that takes into account both the violation content and the relationship violation affects. Progress in theorizing ethics often needs progress on the difficult questions in psychology on how humans can be expected to be functional in moral contexts. It has come to no surprise that moral psychology is a primary area of inquiry to ethical philosophy. The elements outlined in intentional action greatly contributes in the various ways our capacity for moral evaluation of others behavior together with the moral regulation of our individual behavior. Therefore, by deconstructing the theories of intentional action, we can comfortably reconstruct a more vivid and complete model and framework of human morality.
 
References
Becker, L. and Becker, C. (2012). Encyclopedia of ethics. 1st ed. New York: Routledge, pp.78-112.
Doris, J. and Stich, S. (2017). Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches. [online] Plato.stanford.edu. Available at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-psych-emp/ [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].
Knobe, J. (2014). Intention, intentional action and moral considerations. Analysis, 64(2), pp.181-187.
LaFollette, H. (2013). The international encyclopedia of ethics. 1st ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
McDowell, J. (2010). WHAT IS THE CONTENT OF AN INTENTION IN ACTION?. Ratio, 23(4), pp.415-432.
McHugh, C. (2012). Control of Belief and Intention. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, 1(4), pp.337-346.
Reynolds, S. and Miller, J. (2015). The recognition of moral issues: moral awareness, moral sensitivity and moral attentiveness. Current Opinion in Psychology, 6, pp.114-117.
Richter, D. (2011). Anscombe’s moral philosophy. 1st ed. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, pp.23-46.
SAEMI, A. (2012). Intention and Permissibility. Ethical Perspectives, 16(1), pp.81-101.
Schwenkler, J. (2013). A. Ford, J. Hornsby, and F. Stoutland, eds., Essays on Anscombe’s Intention. Journal of Moral Philosophy, 10(2), pp.241-243.
Sheeran, P. (2012). Intention—Behavior Relations: A Conceptual and Empirical Review. European Review of Social Psychology, 12(1), pp.1-36.
??? (2011). The Influence of Ethical Intention and Involvement on Attitude toward Ad Appeal and Clients’ Social Responsibility(CSR). Journal of Ethics, 1(80), pp.317-338.

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