Subjective Moral Motivation and Religion: Implications for the Future of the Social Contract

By Ross Baron and Derek Ha.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper addresses whether or not philosophical ethics can adequately answer the question of why an individual should be moral. Current thought within moral philosophy is that religion is not necessary for individual moral motivation. In fact, current moral philosophy is actually dismissive of religious ethics. Through an analysis of a hypothetical case, it will be shown that philosophical ethics fails to provide sufficient individual moral motivation. The paper will claim that it is only within a religious framework that individual moral motivation can take place. A religious framework is defined, in this paper, as the embedded religious norms and mores transferred to and residing in culture as opposed to a definition that would specify a particular dogma or religion. The radical ramification of this claim is that the answer to why one should be moral is actually the foundation upon which the social contract is built. Hence, the nature of religious freedom is a critical component of the future stability and cohesion of society.

Keywords: Moral, Philosophy, Religion, Social Contract, Subjectivism, God, Secularism

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 10, pp.67-76. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 595.801KB).

Dr. Ross Baron

Professor, Religion and Philosophy, Brigham Young University, Rexburg, ID, USA

I am a professor of religion and philosophy at Brigham Young University, Idaho. My interests are in religion and ethics both on a societal and individual basis. I have a book published entitled, Social Ethics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Analysis and Critique. English is my native language, and I am fluent in Spanish and Biblical Hebrew.

Derek Ha

Research Assistant, Department of Philosophy, Brigham Young University, Rexburg, ID, USA

I am currently a senior undergraduate student at BYU-Idaho studying English and philosophy. I plan to pursue a doctorate in philosophy beginning in 2011.

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