Short Note on ‘Ethics is Not an Art’

Ethics is concerned with conduct or behavior i.e with the practical life of an individual. The question arises; can there be a skill, better skill, in being moral? Is Ethics an art? Human conduct and art, both are related with activities. Both are evaluated and declared as good or bad. Mackenzie compared Ethics with art and declared that ethics is different from art. According to Mackenzie, the difference between ethics and art is as follows:-

Art is connected to a particular field of skill such as painting, dancing, etc. Ethics is connected with the whole life of an individual. A good painter is one who can paint beautifully. An art is a

capacity or potentiality of a specific skill. A good man is one who does act rightly. A moral person is one who actually practices it. Thus in moral sense goodness is related with an activity.

While evaluating a piece of art, the skill is evaluated. The intention of artist is not at all considered. While evaluating human conduct, the intention and the volition of the individual also taken into consideration.

An artist can give up his art after some time. A retired singer is always a singer. However a good man cannot give up virtues. There is no holiday from moral virtues.

We must always keep in mind Mackenzie’s views about an art and ethics. Today many courses are conducted for personality development. Whatever training is given in these courses is the presentation of oneself. Can we say that the training shapes the inner bent or the character of the individual? Is it an artificial make over or true development of values from within?

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