Monday, January 13, 2020

Merit: Why Do We Value It? Essay

Louis Pojman has stated three different opposing views about merit in terms of the societal and political aspects of philosophical attributes. The first one being influenced by Homeric culture called meritocracy. The second one guided by desert-based concept. The third one is based on free will and responsibility.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Meritocracy reveals that how people perceive and individual is dependent on one’s achievements and success, and the status or position that one holds in society. This is accounted for regardless of the moral and belief values that one holds. The desert-based system was rooted from the idea of Immanuel Kant, which opposes the Homeric viewpoint of judgment and regard. The worth of a person is dependent on one’s intentions and moral values, as opposed to success and wealth that determines the worth of a person in the Homeric context. The third one is a more complex take on merit and desert. The interplay of free will and responsibility is the gauge for an individual’s worth. Merits that are granted to people who exude excellence and display quality performance should not at all be awarded to them because one’s talents, abilities, and moral values are influenced by the family, heredity and the environment. (Pojman, 1999)The three aforementioned viewpoints have now become the basis of arguments and debates over the meaning of worth and the basis of merit. At this point, we ask ourselves on which ground do we stand on? How do we perceive the contributions of other people? How do we define excellence? On what grounds should we base the merits granted to other people? Why are merits valuable to us? These are just some of the questions we ask ourselves when presented with conflicting ideas about how we should perceive people’s contributions and the intentions of their actions, and on what grounds should we base the merits that shall be granted to them. The author has expressed his own opinion about the topic of conversation, and according to him, merits are dependent on desert. This ubiquitous idea is based on the concept that we should deserve what we earn because what we earn is dependent on our intentions and actions. Therefore, those who are righteous and honorable should be merited because they deserve it. On the other hand, those who are vicious should be punished based on the intensity of their actions. (Pojman, 1999)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The balance or symmetry in merit and desert should be the ideal principle that governs people in terms of what they deserve due to their way of thinking, beliefs, and actions. However, this ideal notion of merit and desert does not materialize in the state of our world at present. There is too much injustice in society that the idyllic system of merit and desert, or earning what we deserve, is just an idea that we wish our world should be. This system of injustice and precariousness lead us to depend upon Cosmic justice in order to attain the equilibrium between merit and desert. (Pojman, 1999)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   This idea of order inspired by Cosmic justice is vindicated by moral truths that were based on the scriptures. Randy Alcorn, who writes for the Eternal Perspective Ministries, explains the interplay between actions and rewards by stating evidences from the Holy Bible. Alcorn stresses that the scriptures support the concept of balance between merit and desert. Rewards are obtained by doing good deeds, and God’s judgments are based on the morality and uprightness of man’s actions and works on earth. Moreover, these good deeds are the basis for the salvation of man. (Alcorn, 2007)   As Alcorn revealed passages from the Holy Bible and interpreted each text in terms of actions, rewards, and punishments, he restated that righteous desert or actions are the things that people do according to desires of God, and these particular actions are the ones which deserve rewards. Alcorn continues to discuss about the significance of rewards in the biblical context. Based on the scriptures, rewards that shall be granted to man are dependent on one’s capacity to remain faithful to the Divine Being. This is because what man chooses to believe and have faith in determine man’s destination eternally. Righteous works and actions give man eternal life. Moreover, these righteous works and actions determine what man shall receive as a reward from God. (Alcorn, 2007)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Straying away from the biblical concept of â€Å"we deserve what we earn,† we are going to shift to the views of Kant which strongly supports the desert-based system of granting merits. According to Kant, deeds are worthy of merit. Moreover, desert done as a moral duty is deserving of a reward or a positive appraisal. According to Kant, estimable actions deserve rewards despite the morality or uprightness of an action. This becomes a point of argument between two opposing views of the desert-based system. However, the similarities between Kant’s desert-based system and man’s common view about merits and desert do not differ from one another. (Johnson, 1996)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The commonality between Kant’s desert-based system and the viewpoints of the majority of man is grounded on the need for granting merits to an act that was done according to one’s duty and responsibilities and the morality and uprightness that comes with it. (Johnson, 1996) Moreover, man would not argue that those who conduct vicious behavior should not be given merit, but on the other hand, be granted punishments that are in equal weight with the negative behavior committed. The evaluation of action, according to Kant is based on the intentions and the results of the particular action. The evaluation of action to the ordinary and common viewpoint of man is based on the morality and uprightness of a certain action. The evaluation of action according to the scriptures is grounded on the righteousness of God as revealed in the Holy Bible. References Alcorn, R. (2007). Can We Really Earn Eternal Rewards? Retrieved April 6, 2008, from Eternal   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Perspective Ministries. Website: Johnson, R. N. (1996). Kant’s Conception of Merit. Retrieved April 6, 2008, from University of   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Missouri. Website: Pojman, L. (1999). Merit: Why Do We Value It? Journal of Social Philosophy. Malden:   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Blackwell Publishers

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