Solved Ethics Papers

Q6(c). Morality based on emotional values is an illusion

Q. What does each of the following quotations mean to you?
(с) ‘A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.’—Socrates (150 words) (10 marks)
The source of morality can be either emotional or rational. If you consider an action to be moral because it makes you happy, you are choosing your action from the perspective of self-gratification rather than from the perspective of other members of society. However, emotions are subjective and vary from one person to another. The actions that give joy to one person may be a source of pain for another person. Moreover, emotions are transient and don’t last long. Hence, the system of morality which is based on emotions is illusion since it is not universal or sustainable. For example, when a person is punished for breaking a social norm or exposing a common myth, people feel happy. However, such action is evil and vulgar because it is not based on truth.
The true system of morality is based on rationality which is objective and based on truth. A rational system of morality encompasses the interest of all members of society and is therefore lasting.
-(165 words)-


Q6(c). Morality based on emotional values is an illusion
Source : ‘Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for Civil Services Examination’by Dr Awdhesh Singh, available at

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