TheScience of Morality
SamHarris proposes that science can be employed to recognize particularvalues he refers to these values as facts that have scientificunderpinnings. He contends that science can be utilized to understandnegative and positive social emotions, retributive impulses, theneurophysiology of suffering and happiness, and the effects ofparticular social institutions and laws on people’s understandingof the world (Harris,2010).According to Harris (2010), scientific opinions apply to the field ofethics because the well-being of humans is wholly dependent upon thestate of people`s minds and the events that take place in the world.In essence, Harris contends that “values are facts about thewell-being of conscious creatures (Harris, 2010).” Thus, Harris’theory can be applied in the area of affirmative action to placeemphasis on the importance of the application of such policies in anorganization. Affirmative action policies are an indispensable partof an organization because they improve the sustainability of anorganization and afford better access to opportunities to themarginalized sections of the community.
Harrissuggests that science can be utilized to understand positive andnegative emotions. Harris contends that values can be categorized asfacts. He supports this assertion by saying that values are “factsabout the well-being of conscious creatures” (Harris, 2010). Hefurther states that the primary reason why humans do not feel a moralobligation to things like rocks is because people do not believe thatrocks can suffer. Therefore, people feel obligated to their fellowhuman beings because they believe that individuals are morevulnerable to a broader range of potential suffering and happinesswhen compared to other creatures or elements. The same idea can beemployed in affirmative action. Affirmative action in institutions ororganizations can be defined as advancing opportunities to thehistorically marginalized groups (NationalConference of State Legislatures, 2016).Such policies are usually directed at improving access to educationand employment. Thus, Harris’ science of morality supports thenotion that affirmative action should be adopted in organizations.The theory supports the belief that values should be understood interms of improving the happiness of people. In essence, the theoryposits that people have a moral obligation to improve equal access toopenings such as education and employment for the marginalizedsections of the society. Furthermore, the incorporation ofaffirmative action in businesses is critical to the growth andsustainability of firms.
Adiverse workforce is essential to the viability and growth of modernenterprises. Research indicates that a varied work environment iscrucial to enabling the employees to develop a unique outlook ontheir jobs (Kennedy,2015).Moreover, a diverse labor force also motivates employees to find waysof developing themselves professionally because they believe thatmerit determines the individuals that will be promoted. Consequently,affirmative action is not only beneficial to an organization but alsocritical to ending the subtle discrimination that exists in theworkplace. Studies have revealed that discrimination is detrimentalto the well-being of organizations because it prevents workers fromoffering their undivided loyalty to the company (Kennedy,2015).Harris’ theory supports the notion that people’s experiences inthe world are recorded in their minds (Harris, 2010). In other words,human behavior can be contextualized within the external environmentand the neurological state of the organism Thus, the employees of anorganization may assume that their employers are more interested inimproving the well-being of particular groups (based on age, sex, orrace). Affirmative action may ensure that such notions are notadopted by the employees because the less privileged factions wouldbe afforded with more opportunities to better themselves.Accordingly, the workplace would be perceived as a place where theequality of all individuals, in spite of their race, age, or gender,is guaranteed. This end is achievable because all the subtle, ongoingdiscrimination that may be present in an organization will beeliminated.
Inaddition to the above arguments, affirmative action policiescompensate for centuries of social, racial, and economic oppression.The persons that have a high economic status have greater access toopportunities compared to the individuals that come from the lowersocioeconomic backgrounds (NationalConference of State Legislatures, 2016).The supporters of affirmative action posit that the groups that aredisadvantaged are usually found in the lower income bracket of thesocial divide. Consequently, such persons do not benefit from theopportunities that are often afforded to the individuals that are inthe higher income bracket. Harris (2010) argues that the questionsthat affect the well-being of human beings usually have answers.Thus, admitting that right and wrong answers exist, regarding themanner in which people flourish, helps people to change how they talkabout morality. Individuals will, therefore, begin to developdifferent expectations of human cooperation. Incorporatingaffirmative action in the workplace will lead to a shift in the mindsof people, regarding some groups of people qualifying for betteropportunities as opposed to other factions of the community (Kennedy,2015).In this regard, hostility in the workplace due to issues likepromotion or employment due to demographic factors will decline. Theprevalence of such perceptions usually leads to a decrease in theperformance of workers since they assume that they are not capable ofcarrying out their duties efficiently.
Thus,the primary goal of ethics is to maximize well-being. Well-being is arelatively broad topic because conceptualizing right and wrong inphilosophy is fairly were. Harris (2010) argues that even thoughthere are right and wrong answers, notions such as free will andculture determine how people understand what is good and what isevil. Thus, if one contextualizes affirmative action within theconfines of the ethical theories (egoism, deontology, andutilitarianism), he will realize that instituting affirmative actionpolicies are morally acceptable. Egoism asserts that ethical actorsshould act in ways that benefit their self-interest (Mastin,2008).Thus, implementing affirmative action in business would lead to anincrease in sustainability and profitability. Deontology, on theother hand, posits that particular deeds primarily determine therightness or wrongness of actions as opposed to their consequences.Instituting affirmative action policies can be viewed as the rightthing to do because such policies remedy the injustices that the lessprivileged groups have been subjected to for an extended period.Finally, the utilitarian approach asserts that the contribution of adeed to the pleasure and happiness of the majority of peopledetermines its moral worth. Affirmative action policies have beenproven to increase sustainability and creativeness in contemporaryorganizations. Therefore, if a company’s employees feel secureabout their jobs and are remunerated fairly, they will work harderand lead lives that are relatively comfortable.
Consideringthe above notions, one can conclude that affirmative action policiesare developed to bring an end to the barriers that exist in society.The primary purpose of instituting such measures is to level theplaying field by breaking down barriers (TheLeadership Conference, 2016).In the end, all individuals get the same access to self-improvementopportunities. The primary goal of affirmative action is not toensure that the results that are achieved by employees are parallelbut that the marginalized factions are fairly represented in both theeducational and employment arenas. The debate over affirmative actionis contextualized under various assertions. First, the debate focuseson the extent to which bias and discrimination persist. Second, thediscussion centers around the extent to which affirmative actionpolicies have resulted in the provision of unavailable opportunitiesto the less privileged factions in the education, business, andemployment sectors. Lastly, controversies also exist in the ways inwhich affirmative action programs have unduly benefited the people ofcolor over the white majority.
Affirmativeaction policies, therefore, can be considered to be morally right.The premise behind this notion is that the colored community makes arelatively small percentage of the people that hold the top jobs (TheLeadership Conference, 2016).In America, for example, studies indicate that even though white menoccupy only 48% of the college-educated workforce, they hold over 90%of the top jobs in the news media, 96% of CEO positions, and 86% oflaw firm partnerships. Thus, if one considers the benefits ofaffirmative action in a company vis-à-vis the moral obligations thatthe corporation has to society, it would be safe to contend that theinstitution of affirmative action is a morally right thing to do.Harris (2010) asserts that values are "facts about thewell-being of conscious creatures." Therefore, if a corporationclaims that its values embrace the promotion of the welfare of thehuman race, it should consider implementing affirmative actionpolicies to level the playing field for all its employees.
Inaddition to the above argument, one can view morality within theconfines of the three principal ethical theories. Egoism promotes thenotion that people should act in ways that advance theirself-interest (Mastin,2008).The top executives of a company should consider implementingaffirmative action policies because such policies would make theirorganizations more productive and sustainable. Factors such variedoutlooks of work among the employees usually lead to the developmentof creative solutions to problems. Secondly, deontologycontextualizes a right or wrong action within the confines of aperson’s deed as opposed to the consequences of particular acts.Affirmative action policies are intended to promote the well-being ofthe marginalized groups of society, which is a morally acceptedaction. Thus, from the deontological perspective, affirmative actionpolicies are ethical. Finally, the utilitarian approach forwards theidea that the moral worth of a deed is primarily determined by thecontribution of that act to the overall utility in maximizingpleasure or happiness among all people. Affirmative action policieshave been proven to boost the creativity and sustainability oforganizations. Profitable and sustainable companies have adequateresources to remunerate their workforce fairly this means thatimplementing affirmative action policies would benefit all themembers of an organization. In the end, implementing such policiesbecomes a morally right thing to do. Thus, considering the aboveviewpoints, implementing affirmative action policies is morallyacceptable.
Theabove arguments are not biased because they have been derived fromcredible sources. Harris’s arguments, for example, define a new wayof understanding morality (Harris, 2010). The scientific approach tomorality unearths new ways of understanding values. Harris discusseshuman values from the perspective of negative and positive emotions,the effects of particular social institutions and laws on therelationships of people, retributive impulses, and theneurophysiology of the impulses of individuals. These assertions canbe used to understand affirmative action policies in an in-depthmanner because these policies were been developed to better thewell-being of the marginalized and less privileged people. ThroughHarris’ arguments, one can assert that affirmative action leads tothe development of a better attitude in an organization. Theunderstanding that an organization gives all individuals a fairchance of bettering themselves is an appropriate incentive tomotivate employees to seeks ways of improving the quality of theirwork. The scientific approach to morality advances a similarassertion because it studies how human values affect people`sfeelings, how the underpinnings of society affect people`s view ofthe world, and how people’s experiences affect their view of life.
Additionally,the recommendations advanced above have been guided by the moralprinciples that the ethical theories advance. Harris (2010) assertsthat the confines of morality are relatively difficult to establish.An action that may be considered to be good in one region may not becorrect in another area. Thus, by using the main ethical theories,one can establish whether implementing affirmative action in anorganization is morally appropriate. Affirmative action has beenproven to increase the profitability of an organization. The moralnature of affirmative action, in this regard, can be contextualizedwithin the egoism perspective. Deontology advances the notion thatthe rightness or wrongness of an act determines its morality, asopposed to the consequences of an action. Affirmative action can beunderstood as a moral action, in the deontology perspective, becauseit remedies the injustices that the minority groups have beensubjected to in the previous years. Finally, from the utilitarianperspective, affirmative action is morally acceptable because it isbeneficial to the entire company.
Ina recap of the above discussion, affirmative action policies are acrucial part of any business because they better the sustainabilityof organizations and lead to the development of more opportunitiesfor the marginalized segments of society. The understanding thatscience can be used to identify specific values can be used todevelop solutions to the predicaments that society finds itself in.According to Harris, science can be utilized to appreciate negativeand positive social sentiments, retributive impulses, theneurophysiology of suffering and happiness, and the impacts ofprecise social institutions and laws on people’s view of the world.Harris asserts that scientific judgments are appropriate to the fieldof ethics since the welfare of humans is wholly reliant upon thecondition of people`s minds and the occasions that take place in theworld. Harris` theory can be applied in the area of affirmativeaction to place emphasis on the importance of the application of suchpolicies in an organization, as discussed above.
Haris,S. (2010). Sciencecan answer moral questions.Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww
Kennedy,J. (2015). An Assessment of Affirmative Action in Business. HonorsScholars Theses,10 – 12. Retrieved fromhttp://digitalcommons.uconn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1424&context=srhonors_theses
Mastin,L. (2008). Egoism- By Branch / Doctrine – The Basics ofPhilosophy. Philosophybasics.com.Retrieved 22 December 2016, fromhttp://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_egoism.html
NationalConference of State Legislatures. (2016). AffirmativeAction | Overview. Ncsl.org.Retrieved 21 December 2016, fromhttp://www.ncsl.org/research/education/affirmative-action-overview.aspx
TheLeadership Conference. (2016). AffirmativeAction. TheLeadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.Retrieved 21 December 2016, fromhttp://www.civilrights.org/resources/civilrights101/affirmaction.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/