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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 February 2020

Are you Ready for Insta 75 Days Revision Plan (UPSC Prelims - 2020)?


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


 

Topic:  Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

2. Should the Scheduled caste and scheduled tribes community have reservations in promotions? Critically examine. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The Supreme Court has recently ruled that quotas and reservations for promotions for government jobs are not a fundamental right.

Key demand of the question:

The student has to critically examine the need for reservations to the Scheduled caste and scheduled tribes community.

Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

One can start by explaining what the constitution has to say about the reservations.

Body:

Highlight the context of the question; comment on the recent ruling of the apex court. Discuss – Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality before law and equal protection of laws to everyone. Article 15(1) generally prohibits any discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, caste, sex or place of birth. Similarly, Article 16(1) and 16(2) assure citizens equality of opportunity in employment or appointment to any government office. Explain the concerns posed by the apex court’s verdict. Present your arguments – for and against and conclude with a balanced opinion.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Unaccountability and caste slavery have completely crippled Dalits. They remain asset-less, illiterate and socially isolated with overt residential segregation in rural areas, and subtly in urban areas. Therefore, the reservation policy is necessary as a safeguard against discrimination and to secure their fair share.

Introduction:

The Supreme Court has ruled that quotas and reservations for promotions for government jobs are not a fundamental right, setting aside an Uttarakhand High Court order of 2012. The top court has also said that States could not be forced to make such provisions without data showing imbalance in representation of certain communities in public service.

Body:

From_yes_to_no

Supreme Court’s ruling and the rationale behind it:

  • This Supreme Court order is significant because it underlines “a ‘meritorious’ candidate is not merely one who is ‘talented ‘or ‘successful’ but also one whose appointment fulfils the constitutional goals of uplifting members of the SCs and STs and ensuring a diverse and representative administration”.
  • Reservation in promotion in public posts cannot be claimed as a fundamental right.
  • Articles 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) of the Constitution does not confer individuals with a fundamental right to claim reservation in promotion. It only empowers the State to make a reservation in matters of appointment and promotion in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, only if in the opinion of the State they are not adequately represented in the services of the State.
  • State governments are not bound to make a reservation and have discretion in providing reservations.
  • The judgment also noted that even the courts could not issue a mandamus directing the States to provide reservation.

However, there is a need for reservations in promotions:

  • According to a recent survey by academician Amit Thorat, up to 47% of respondents in the hill State admitted to practising untouchability.
  • More than half the forward caste people confessed to practising untouchability.
  • Further, nearly 68% Brahmins in rural and 77% Brahmins in urban areas of the State admitted to the practice.
  • With such widespread discrimination prevalent in the State, an honest response on representation from the Executive and administration is hard to expect.
  • Reminders of a massive backlog of posts under reservation have become a regular feature in all States.
  • The SCs suffer from low ownership of capital assets, illiteracy, and lack of access to civil rights. In 2013, of the total wealth in the country, the share of SCs was only 5% in rural areas against their population share of almost 17%.
  • In urban areas, SCs own only 4% of total wealth: 6% land and 2.6% of buildings as against 45% of land and 76% of buildings by high caste, much in excess of their population share of about 21%.
  • Besides the massive backlog in government services, these are spheres where SCs are grossly under-represented. They are over-represented in wage labour, poverty and malnutrition.
  • Findings of another primary survey in 2013 in rural India show that SC entrepreneurs in grocery, eatery, and transport services faced discrimination, with the high castes reluctant to avail of their goods and services.
  • Many SC farmers admit that they face discrimination in the buying of inputs and sale of outputs.
  • Unaccountability and caste slavery have completely crippled Dalits. They remain asset-less, illiterate and socially isolated with overt residential segregation in rural areas, and subtly in urban areas.
  • Therefore, the reservation policy is necessary as a safeguard against discrimination and to secure their fair share.

Way forward:

  • A comprehensive piece of legislature that would deal with ambiguity related to reservation in promotions is needed.
  • The creamy layer of SC&ST community should take up the responsibility to help the backward section join the main-stream of the society, and work for their true development in a peaceful manner.
  • Improve the basic standards of the SC and ST.
  • Voluntary giving up of Reservation for the cause of poorer section of the group —E.g. Son of a Dalit doctor, Dalit Politician, Dalit Businessmen must give way the reserved space for the son of a Dalit landless labourer, or son of an urban wage earner.
  • India could learn from the experiences of Malaysian model of economic empowerment and South African policy for Blacks.
  • It is now for the court to decide for rooting out social and economic backwardness
  • The Act should try to rectify the current issues such as
    • Undefined parameters of efficiency.
    • Absence of transparency in evaluating backwardness and efficiency of STs/SCs
    • Presence of ambiguity regarding whole process of promotions in government services.

 

Topic:  Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

3. Discuss the impact of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) on loan recovery and also suggest remedial measures for better implementation of the Code.(250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why this question:

After the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) became law in May 2016, the ecosystem of corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) was put in place by the year-end. As of December 2019, the system had been in existence for three years.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss about the performance of IBC since its inception and Suggest remedial measures for better implementation of the Code.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain about the loan recoveries in the past and those of the present.

Body:

Quote facts and highlight how good have been the loan recoveries. Before the passing of IBC it took an average of 4.3 years to resolve insolvency and recovery rate was 25.9% as compared to developed countries where recovery rate was 72%. Discuss the salient features of the IBC. Highlight the positive impact of the code. The challenges involved; The Section 29A of the Code has debarred certain entities thus brought down competition in bidding thereby resulting into reduced recovery, Most of the cases before the NCLT have failed to adhere to strict timeline of 180 days resulting in losses for the creditors etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that need for quality resolution professionals, capacity building of NCLT in terms of creation of more benches and manpower. Moreover, once a resolution plan has been approved no objection should be entertained. The principal stakeholders in insolvencies such as NCLT, Resolution Professionals, and Committee of Creditors need to expedite resolution process.

Introduction:

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 is considered as one of the biggest insolvency reforms in the economic history of India. This was enacted for reorganization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximization of the value of assets of such persons.

Body:

Key aspects of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code:

  • IBC proposes a paradigm shift from the existing ‘Debtor in possession’ to a ‘Creditor in control’ regime.
  • IBC aims at consolidating all existing insolvency related laws as well as amending multiple legislation including the Companies Act.
  • The code aims to resolve insolvencies in a strict time-bound manner – the evaluation and viability determination must be completed within 180 days.
  • Moratorium period of 180 days (extendable up to 270 days) for the Company. For startups and small companies the resolution time period is 90 days which can be extended by 45 days.
  • Introduce a qualified insolvency professional (IP) as intermediaries to oversee the Process
  • Establishment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy board as an independent body for the administration and governance of Insolvency & bankruptcy Law; and Information Utilities as a depository of financial information.

The_insolvency

Impact of IBC, 2016 on loan recovery:

  • Due to the institution of IBC, we have seen that many business entities are paying up front before being declared insolvent. The success of the act lies in the fact that many cases have been resolved even before it was referred to NCLT.
  • 4452 cases were dismissed at the pre-admission stage. Hence, it shows the effectiveness of IBC.
  • As of 31 December 2019, the 190 companies that had defaulted on loans yielded resolution plans with different degrees of realization.
  • Claims worth ₹3.52 trillion in total had been filed by financial creditors, primarily banks. Of this, around ₹1.52 trillion—43.1% of the claims under consideration—has been recovered.
  • This is much better than the rate of recovery before IBC was put in place.
  • Take the case of 2015-16: Of the total bad loans up for recovery worth ₹2.21 trillion, only ₹22,768 crore, or 10.3% of the loans, was recovered.
  • This evidence suggests IBC has been a huge success compared to the earlier loan recovery process.
  • Till now, liquidation has been initiated against 780 firms, of which 40 have been closed in the process. The recovery rate for firms that were liquidated in October-December was 10.7%. If the biggest recovery is left out, the rate is close to nil.
  • The two biggest loan recoveries in the case of Bhushan Steel and Essar Steel India make up around 49.5% of the overall recovery. If these recoveries are left out, the total rate of recovery falls to 30.5%. Having said that, it is much better than what used to be the case before IBC was in existence.

Challenges faced:

  • The number of such companies was 1,961 as of December 2019, up from 1,497 as of September.
  • What the data indicates is that the number of companies facing insolvency resolution is piling up at NCLT faster than it can dispose of them. This is the problem Debt Recovery Tribunals used to face earlier.

Way forward:

  • There is need for setting up more tribunals in different parts of the country to handle the greater-than-expected volume of cases.
  • IBC must consider that there are distinct advantages if the existing management is allowed to keep running the company such as knowledge, information and expertise.
  • India is more concerned with the recovery of NPA, not with the running of units, thus the first priority is to save the banking system.
  • Thus the banks also must push policy makers towards this move because they’re unlikely to get more if the case comes before the NCLT.
  • Proactive training/onboarding of judges, lawyers, and other intermediaries will be necessary for effective implementation of the code.
  • Technological infrastructure needs to be strengthened to avoid any kind of data loss and to maintain confidentiality. There is a requirement of enhanced IU infrastructure.

 

Topic:  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

4. Discuss the Economic effects of the coronavirus on the Indian economy. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

From mobile phones, toys, pharmaceuticals to kitchen goods, traders in several sectors here say that the slowdown in trade activity with China, as a consequence of COVID-19, will soon start to effect business.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the dependence of China on India and thus the implacable possibilities of the corona outbreak.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly highlight the dependence of Indian economy on China.

Body:

Highlight the majority dependence of China; import of finished goods for re-distribution, raw material for production purposes and the import of spare parts used in assembling goods. Discuss what can be the possible effect of Corona outbreak? Explain what India should do in such a situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude that it’s a lesson for India to reduce heavy dependencies on a single country and diversify its imports and as well focus on domestic markets.

Introduction:

The coronavirus outbreak has brought a large part of the world’s second-largest economy China to a standstill and its impact has been felt across industries. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global health emergency. The impact on India is felt through supply chain disruptions from China as well as regional players, who in turn are net importers from China.

Body:

india_imports

India_export

Economic effects of the coronavirus on the Indian Economy:

  • The impact on India is felt through supply chain disruptions from China as well as regional players, who in turn are net importers from China.
  • India’s annual trade with China is ~$90 billion–India imports goods worth $75 billion and exports goods worth $15 billion.
  • These include ‘electrical and telecom machinery,’ ‘organic chemicals,’ ‘nuclear reactors,’ ‘plastics’ and ‘pharmaceuticals.’ The first four of these five groups also make up India’s top imports in 2019 fiscal year.
  • On account of factory closures in China, supply chains would get disrupted and this could result in shortages, especially of electronic goods and medicines.
  • A key supplier of generic drugs to the global market, Indian companies procure almost 70 percent of their active pharmaceutical ingredients for their medicines from China.
  • Trade deficit prints may be lower for the next couple of months. We may see the price of consumer durables inch higher. This would drive core inflation higher, which is showing signs of bottoming out.
  • This, in turn, could make it more difficult for the MPC to provide further monetary policy stimulus. January’s core inflation print came in at 4.2 percent compared to December’s 3.8 percent.
  • Fall in global crude prices on account of an anticipated slowdown in demand would also result in a lower import bill. The sectors that are likely to be impacted on the export front are diamonds, leather and petrochemicals
  • Imports are likely to contract more than exports and therefore, from a current account perspective, the outbreak could actually be rupee-supportive.
  • Offshore fundraising by Indian corporates is also likely to slow down, as raising money onshore has become cheaper after the LTRO announcement by the RBI
  • The retail mobile trade, for instance, is almost entirely dependent upon China. While every month, old models of mobile phones would see a drop in prices as new models are supplied, in the current month, no such drop in prices has taken place and the supply of goods is being rationed by companies
  • The toy market sees nearly 80% of its demand met by products made in China, while only 20% is met by Indian manufacturers
  • Many items, like belt buckles, Christmas lights, specific parts of gas stoves, are only made in China. The prices of most of these goods had already seen an upward correction, and in some cases it is as much as 50%
  • The travel and tourism sector will be affected badly. Several overseas airlines have stopped flights to China and international hotel chains have also been offering refunds. Most of the Chinese citizens are avid travellers, hence the tourism in other countries might feel the ripple effect.

Way forward:

  • India and the other countries should be prepared to face the effects both in terms of the spread of the virus and in dealing with the economic slowdown which can occur.
  • RBI Governor has said that the Reserve Bank of India is reviewing the retail inflation targeting framework behind monetary policy decision as well as its effectiveness and also plans to hold stakeholders’ consultations including with the government in June.

Conclusion:

Nevertheless, India’s chief economic advisor and other analysts have pointed to the opportunity for India to expand its exports as a result of the crisis. Helped by foreign investment, India has “slightly” reduced its dependence on China over the past five years, although complexities in its manufacturing system make it difficult for Asia’s third-largest economy to quickly take advantage.

 

Topic:  Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

5. What are the challenges for inclusive growth in India? Suggest measures to be taken to address these challenges. (250 words)

Reference: EPW

Why this question:

At the question is straightforward and aims to ascertain the challenges facing the inclusive growth in India.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the importance of inclusive growth and the need to address the challenges facing it. And suggest measures to overcome such concerns.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what you understand by Inclusive growth.

Body:

Inclusive growth has remained elusive despite government’s best efforts. Post-1991 India has witnessed a rise not only in prosperity but also disparities. Inequalities have got widened and accelerated. Well developed and prosperous regions have attracted most of foreign investment and have grown further rapidly. Explain what the major challenges for inclusive growth are:

  1. Poverty, lack of adequate employment opportunities.
  2. Lack of adequate education and skill development.
  3. Lack of infrastructure – Social and physical.
  4. Governance deficit, especially in backward regions. Etc.

Suggest measures and solutions to address these issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude that targeted policy measures addressing the above, with the efforts of government policies and programmes aiming at achieving targets in above key sectors can lead to inclusive growth.

Introduction:

The concept of inclusive growth focuses on equitable growth for all sections of society. This involves ensuring that fruits of growth and development reach the poor and marginalized sections as well. Inclusiveness is a multi-dimensional concept. Inequalities that include, social exclusion, discrimination, restrictions on migration, constraints on human development, lack of access to finance and insurance, corruption – are sources of inequality and limit the prospect for economic advancement among certain segments of the population, thereby perpetuating poverty.

Body:

Elements_of_Inclusive

Challenges to inclusive growth:

Poverty alleviation is one of the big challenges for India. Eradication of poverty in India is generally only considered to be a long-term goal. Poverty alleviation is expected to make better progress in the next 50 years than in the past, as a trickle-down effect of the growing middle class.

Increasing stress on education, reservation of seats in government jobs and the increasing empowerment of women and the economically weaker sections of society, are also expected to contribute to the alleviation of poverty

Government schemes should target eradication of both poverty and unemployment (which in recent decades has sent millions of poor and unskilled people into urban areas in search of livelihoods) attempt to solve the problem, by providing financial assistance for setting up businesses, skill honing, setting up public sector enterprises, reservations in governments, etc.

Disparity

  • The disparity between -> Rich and Poor
  • The disparity between -> Urban and Rural
  • The disparity between -> Educated and Uneducated

Demography: We have 550 million young people below 25 age, we have the ready workforce for the world, everything we do today must focus on this population, we need to provide them nutrition food, skills, and job opportunities to grow.

Improving  the  delivery  of  core  public  services: The incomes  rise,  citizens  are  demanding  better  delivery  of core public  services  such  as  water  and  power  supply, education, policing, sanitation, roads and public health. As physical access to services improves, issues of quality have become more  central.

Maintaining  rapid  growth  while  making  growth  more inclusive: The growing disparities between urban and rural areas,  prosperous  and  lagging  states,  skilled  and  low-skilled workers, the primary medium term policy challenge for India is not to raise growth from 8 to 10 percent but to sustain  rapid  growth  while  spreading  its  benefits  more widely.

Developmental challenges:

Expansion: Expansion is happening every day in developing countries like India, but perhaps not happening in the pace we would like. We have roads but we need more roads likewise we need to expand energy, infrastructure, facilities, etc.

Excellence: Leaving of our top 5 or 10% quality of our education, our services, our governance, is really not that so great, we must collectively work towards improving quality in everywhere.

Equity: We need to make sure that the poorest to the poorer can indeed get the best education, health, jobs, and other facilities.

Social development is possible through achieving Women Empowerment and eradicating the regional disparities. Though the Government is giving the women empowerment by giving special reservations, the women’s advancement in India is still not matched the expectations for inclusive growth.

Measures needed:

  • Lowering the incidence of poverty and inequality requires a comprehensive strategy.
  • Important steps need to be taken like framing policies to improve health, nutrition and education.
  • Labour market reforms and reforms of direct taxation will have redistributive effects on the system.
  • Schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), provide 100 days or more of employment at a wage determined by government are already in progress but there is a need to check the cost effectiveness of these schemes
  • Reforms to plug the leakages in the PDS, introduction of GPS tracking, activating vigilance committees, must be undertaken across the country.
  • Research needs to be carried out by government agencies to document the ‘best practices’ in the implementation of government schemes.
  • Minorities and other excluded groups, including the poor in upper castes, also need special programmes to bring them into the mainstream.

Conclusion:

To achieve inclusiveness, all these dimensions need to be looked into. Institutional and attitudinal changes should be brought about though this will take time. Awareness about inclusiveness and empowerment is required to be created. Reducing poverty is to be taken as key element in our inclusive growth strategy and there has been some progress in that regard.

 

Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

6. Socrates is regarded as the founder of Moral Philosophy, Discuss the contributions of his moral heroism. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the topic of Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the contributions of Socrates as a moral hero, his efforts and influences to moral philosophy.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the philosophy propounded by Socrates.

Body:

Socrates believed that philosophy should achieve practical results for the greater well-being of society. He attempted to establish an ethical system based on human reason rather than theological doctrine. Socrates pointed out that human choice was motivated by the desire for happiness.

Explain what did Socrates believe about morality?

Socrates equated knowledge with virtue, which ultimately leads to ethical conduct. He believed that the only life worth living was one that was rigorously examined. He looked for principles and actions that were worth living by, creating an ethical base upon which decisions should be made.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of his philosophy.

Introduction:

Socrates is considered as the father of modern Western philosophy. Socrates lived in an era which is called Golden Age of Athens. He was the first systematic moral thinker, who led an exemplary life spending most of his time in philosophical discussion. He questioned people on philosophical issues, especially about the nature of the good life which became famous as the “Socratian method of Inquiry”.

Body:

 Socrates was a man unlike no other before him, not only as a philosopher but as a moral hero –the moral hero. His trial and death have created a halo of moral heroism around him. He has been put on the same pedestal as Jesus, Galileo, and Sir Thomas More. He himself did not write anything. But he taught the youth to never accept any truth without enquiry. His contributions to the ethics and moral philosophy are

  • Inquiry:
  • Socrates’ ethical intellectualism has an eudaemological character.
  • Socrates was put on trial and found guilty of “corrupting the youth” of Athens by asking them to question authority.
  • He believed deeply that people should inquire and ask questions, even about things that everyone takes for granted.
  • Socrates presupposes reason is essential for the good life.
  • Dialogue:
  • For investigation into defining the virtues and ethical behaviour, Socrates believed that the best way was “dialogue” that is – meaningful conversations with people on ideas like justice, righteousness and virtue.
  • This method of long conversations is called “dialectic”.
  • It was the dialogue which influenced the students and youth of Athens and formed the basis of modern philosophy, science, ethics, social theory and other fields.
  • Human Realm:
  • Before Socrates, philosophy was primarily focussed on questions of metaphysics, religion or science.
  • Socrates was the first person who gave a practical and political focus to the philosophy and ethics.
  • He asserted that Human realm was the proper focus of philosophical inquiry.
  • Virtue:
  • Socrates equated knowledge with virtue, which ultimately leads to ethical conduct.
  • Socratic Method focuses on moral education, on how one ought to live.
  • His views believe that only life worth living was one that was rigorously examined.
  • To him, knowledge of the good was almost akin to an enlightened state.
  • Self-knowledge is a sufficient condition to the good life. If knowledge can be learned, so can virtue. Thus, Socrates stated virtue can be taught.
  • Socrates states no one chooses evil; no one chooses to act in ignorance. But lack of knowledge leads to ignorance.
  • Better to Suffer an Injustice than to Commit One”: Committing an injustice corrupts one’s soul, and therefore committing injustice is the worst thing a person can do to himself. This quality was evident in Mahatma Gandhi. He never supported violence even after several jail terms during colonial period.
  • Unjust acts signify improper behaviour towards others. To quote his examples, it is unjust to rob temples, betray friends, steal, break oaths, commit adultery, and mistreat parents. Socrates opposes wrong doing even when his life is at stake. His friends arrange for his escape from prison so that he can evade the death penalty. Socrates declines their offer saying that it would be unjust to do so. He says that we should not act wrongly or unjustly, even when others are unjust to us.
  • Socrates shows an admirable moral heroism by refusing to abandon his principles and by refusing to escape death through immoral means.

Conclusion:

Socrates, thus was a pragmatic thinker who accepted things only after a thorough investigation. Socratic Method can be used to inculcate value ethics among children and young via education. The great example of the trial and death of Socrates demonstrates the close connection between his character and his philosophy.

 

Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

7. Discuss the Aquinas’s doctrine of double effect and elucidate upon some of the major criticisms of natural law ethics. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications  

Why this question:

The question is based on the topic of Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the contributions of Aquinas’s doctrine of double effect and elucidate upon some of the major criticisms of natural law ethics.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the theory propounded by St. Thomas Aquinas.

Body:

St. Thomas Aquinas propounded the ethical theory of natural law – what is good is what fulfills the natural (divine) purpose, and what hinders it is bad. Discuss the practical ethical positions, Aquinas’s doctrine of double effect; Doctrine of double effect. This doctrine says that if doing something morally good has a morally bad side-effect; it’s ethically ok to do it providing the bad side-effect wasn’t intended. End with criticisms of natural law ethics.

Conclusion:

Conclude with relevance of the theory though it is accompanied with flaws.

Introduction:

Thomas Aquinas is credited with introducing the principle of double effect in his discussion of the permissibility of self-defence in the Summa Theologica. Thomas Aquinas’s ethical theory involves both principles – rules about how to act – and virtues – personality traits which are taken to be good or moral to have. The relative importance of the two aspects is debated.

Body:

The doctrine (or principle) of double effect

  • It is often invoked to explain the permissibility of an action that causes a serious harm, such as the death of a human being, as a side effect of promoting some good end.
  • According to the principle of double effect, sometimes it is permissible to cause a harm as a side effect (or “double effect”) of bringing about a good result even though it would not be permissible to cause such a harm as a means to bringing about the same good end.
  • This principle aims to provide specific guidelines for determining when it is morally permissible to perform an action in pursuit of a good end in full knowledge that the action will also bring about bad results.
  • The principle of double effect, once largely confined to discussions by Catholic moral theologians, in recent years has figured prominently in the discussion of both ethical theory and applied ethics by a broad range of contemporary philosophers.

Criticisms:

  • Many criticisms of the principle of double effect do not proceed from consequentialist assumptions or skepticism about the distinction between intended and merely foreseen consequences.
  • Instead they ask whether the principle adequately codifies the moral intuitions at play in the cases that have been taken to be illustrations of it.
  • One important line of criticism has focused on the difficulty of distinguishing between grave harms that are regretfully intended as part of the agent’s means and grave harms that are regretfully foreseen as side effects of the agent’s means.
  • The application of Double Effect to explain the permissibility of performing a hysterectomy on a pregnant woman and the impermissibility of performing an abortion to save a woman’s life is often singled out for criticism on this score.

Conclusion:

Aquinas believes people need to identify meaningful goals before they can act. As such, moral theory is a way to facilitate action, rather than to limit it. According to Aquinas, good should be done or pursued, and evil (or badness) avoided. Without this principle, other moral rules would have no force. The maxim “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is also quite fundamental