UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing - 07 August (GS 4)


  1. Consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgement about that action. Do you agree? (Answer in 150 words)
  2. What are the differences between values, convictions, faith and attitudes? (Answer in 150 words)

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Model Solutions

1. Consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgement about that action. Do you agree? (10 Marks)

Model Structure

  • Ethics deals with moral principles that help us choose between right and wrong. The value of an action can be judged by two things: the outcome of the action and the intent of the action.

Main Body

  • Jeremy Bentham/Utilitarianism: Humans are under only two masters - pleasure and pain, actions should be judged on the basis of which of these two is produced by it. If pleasure, the action is right and wrong if it’s pain. Eg. bursting crackers creates pollution for all so

      it’s wrong. In fact at social level, actions that promote greatest happiness for greatest number is considered correct 
  • eg. Internet shutdown affects few internet users but prevents any violence in a disturbed area benefiting the whole society.

  • Immanuel Kant/Categorical morality. Just because something produces good consequences doesn’t mean it’s right. Because what is good for many can be bad for few, the dignity of even one human should be considered because human beings are not ‘means to an end’ but ends in themselves. Kant says that following the law because of fear of getting arrested is not the same thing as following the law out of agreement. He says that ends alone need not be good, even means should be good (Teleology), for alleviating human poverty we shouldn’t create industry in forest areas by killing numerous wildlife. Ends cannot justify means always.

  • So an action should be right in its intent, that even if it can produce good results it cannot be done if it is against the laws, norms and conventions. Ex: mob lynching of heinous criminals.

  • Even if something will produce pain it should be done to uphold social values ex: joining the army to serve the nation at cost of life.


  • But Situation ethics (contextual ethics) tells, in adversity we cannot uphold norms meant for ordinary times. eg. faster clinical approvals for COVID vaccine.
  • Values should be based on what is right in itself not based on what makes us happy. It is not the length of life, but it’s worth that matters—Ambedkar.

2. What are the differences between values, convictions, faith and attitudes? (10 Marks)

Model Structure

  • Faith forms the basis of belief, beliefs form the basis of values, values lead to convictions and convictions translate to attitudes. All of these form the basis of the individual’s personality.

Main Body

  • Faith represents a strong trust and confidence in something/someone. Ex: when Locke said the right to liberty is a natural right, it showed his faith in human freedom.
  • Faith turns into belief over time, i.e. a habit in which continued trust is placed in something/someone. Ex: right to liberty is a natural right, thus inalienable.
  • Values are our preference based on what we believe. Ex: Liberty is a value since we think it allows us to do what we like (painting, speaking, cooking).
  • Convictions are firm judgments based on facts. Both values and faith are abstract but conviction is a practical matter that influences action. Ex: liberty is essential so in order to ensure liberty for all equality must be ensured.
  • Attitude is a settled way of thinking about something. When strong beliefs and values are carried over time, they settle into attitudes. A person with liberal values will have a tolerant attitude and accept freedom of religion for all.


  • Therefore, these four components show the mechanism of our behaviour and action. It is faith that is the basis for all. Ancient medical and modern societies believed in different faiths, so when faith changes, we call it paradigm change and the whole system including values, attitudes and convictions change.

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