Intellectual Traditions

Human beings are rational animals and are therefore termed to be equal. Having their lives together, the equality is exercised in the natural law when exercising their understanding and in the moments and when they are performing their animal activities. The law of nature is the conscious that makes human being to recognize that justice prevails in their lives. The just and unjust activities differ from each society to each other (Thomas, 1841). The natural law and equality are real life principles which makes life move smoothly and ensures that there is peace once observed. The two themes are clearly detailed by Voltaire in his book “The Philosophical Dictionary”. On the other hand, they are as well strongly discussed by Patrick McKinley Brennan in his detailed work “Natural Law and Human Equality.”

Voltaire argues that, it is a law of nature to take care of other people’s properties and avoid stealing.  We should be our brother’s keeper. In Sparta, stealing was against this law and therefore once committed, it attracted a severe punishment (Voltaire, 1995). In support of this law, Patrick McKinley Brennan argues that, it is morally wrong to still and it is also unethical. This is because the acts make some innocent human beings to suffer. Whichever situation a person is in, human beings are prohibited by the natural law from stealing. Otherwise this would be violating the natural law.

In some communities, the natural law forbids men to marry their sisters.  According to Voltaire, in Rome it was totally wrong to marry your own sister. All the same, in some communities it is allowed to marry your sister from the fathers’ side. This is a natural law which changes from society to society. Egyptians, Jews and Athenians find it right to marry their sisters (Voltaire, 1995).  On the same, Patrick McKinley Brennan argues that, marriage is a personal decision which should not be controlled by the natural law. In his argument, emotional ties are a moral concern and should be done according to the situation. Therefore, one should marry according to his personal interests and the cultural and traditional chains.

It is inhuman and against the natural law for any person to cause harm to others for personal gain. Voltaire points out that, some human take advantage of other people misfortune for their personal interest. This is wrong and violates the natural law. He continues to argue that, revenge is unacceptable because of its result. Men should solve their conflicts using justice rather than violent wars which have caused loss of lives and properties in the world (Voltaire, 1995). To add on this, Patrick McKinley Brennan entails that, it is unethical to deprive an individual the right to life. In this case therefore, human beings should ensure justice is exercised in all fields of life. Killing violates the natural law and cannot be ethically acceptable whether it was as a matter of vengeance or any other form of violence. People should live in harmony and use better methods of conflict resolutions apart from armed conflict.

Considering the theme of equality, Voltaire argues that, human beings are equal in some situations while in others they are completely unequal. In his example, when performing animal functions, when enjoying nature and in terms of understanding men are equal. As he continues, the other species are completely equal and much better than man when it comes to equality.   He clearly explains the independence that belongs to the animals whereby they do not have to cling on one opportunity if there is competition. Instead, they opt to greener pastures which are also safer and will have avoided dangerous conflicts (Voltaire, 1995). In his argument, Patrick McKinley Brennan sates that, all human beings are equal. He explains that, human beings are the only rational animals and have equal rights to posses’ rationality, wealth and weight. However, the equality is not practically possible. Human beings cannot be equal in terms of wealth comparing a banker having ten million dollar and a pauper having ten dollars.  Reasoning is also different from one person to another. This creates the difference in equality.

In his further discussion, Voltaire says that, every human being sees the world and the climate differently. If the nature viewed equally by all, there would be no chance for some enslaving others. Everyone would be having enough needs leaving no chance for servants and slaves. On the same, Patrick McKinley Brennan, explains that, human beings have different abilities which create the social classes in the society leaving a chance for employers and employees. In this case therefore, human beings have equal opportunities but are totally different and this brings the inequalities in their lives.

According to Voltaire, human beings would be equal if and only if they had no needs. However, this is not possible since poverty invaded the world and made every individual to depend on one another. This dependence created a large difference between the have and have not.  In support of this point, Patrick McKinley Brennan comments that, the difference in rationality and wealth makes the poor to work for the rich so that they can earn a living. In addition, the rich are always in need of the poor for the servicers as they cannot maker on their own.

In the current world, there are unavoidable things makes the society to divide.  Voltaire argues that, due to the world’s competition, the gap between the poor and the rich cannot be breached. There can never be equality between these two classes and this makes the world unhappy. The main groups are continuously subdivided since some are poorer than the others. Patrick McKinley Brennan refers to this as misfortune which cannot be avoided. Furthermore, if everyone in the world would be equal, life would be uncomfortable (Brennan, 1995).

Unfortunately, human beings are born with equal senses of wealth, domination and pleasure. Voltaire argues this including that, every human being desires to amaze the best. There is too much jealousy in the world which makes people to harm others for their own advantage. This creates great inequalities as everyone struggles to make his life the best.  Similarly, Patrick McKinley Brennan adds that, human beings have different intellectual abilities which make some utilize the available opportunities better than the others. They are able to exploit nature before the others grasp the concept. This increases the inequalities in human race.

Lastly, Voltaire concludes his theme of equality pointing out that the world would be useless without the poor. In his example, he explains that, there should be diversity in all areas to ensure there is shoe makers, cooks, Berbers and managers. If we are all equals, who would be there to service the other? Shoes requires repair and the secretary is unable to do it. Patrick McKinley Brennan concludes stating that there can be no equality in the world because of cleverness and literacy. In all convectional moralities, the abilities of human beings differs according to their cognitive horsepower; henceforth, this relativists human dignity and forbids equality (Brennan, 1995).

In general conclusion from the two authors, neither intellectual tradition of the natural law nor the common sense supports equality. The two achieve self perfection that depends on actual moral judgment which is resulted by matched up actions.

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