Most appealing ethicist throughout the semester …

December 10, 2008

Throughout this class I have learned a great deal of stuff on something I originally knew nothing about.  I learned many things about the different philosophers that brought this very interesting subject into perspective.  Although all of them were very unique and interesting in their own ways with their own beliefs, I found Kant to be one of the most appealing.  I liked the way that he judged morality.  He did this throught the usage of the categorical imperative to formulate moral laws.  I found this to be alot more effective than the way in which MIll judged the morality of actions on overall happiness, without talking into account peoples motives for their actions.  Kant’s theory was based on a “do unto others as you would want done unto yourself” sort of policy, and I feel this is the most correct and effective way to go about determining morality of different senarios.  During this class I also found it the most enjoyable to learn about Kant, probably because I agree most with his beliefs.

Aristotelean Account for the Moral Worth of Murder

December 7, 2008

Most individuals view murder as morally impermissible.  However, the Aristotelean account for the moral worth of murder would be based on the individual.  This means that instead of deciding whether it is moral or not according to the action, which in this case would be murder, it is decided on the individual that commited the action.  For example, I think that if someone murdered another for pleasure or no reason at all, meaning with bad intentions, than the murder is immmoral.  On the other hand, I believe that the Aristotelean’s  perspective would say that a soldier is morally correct in killing there enemies, as there intentions are good.  I feel the same could be said about a police officer killing another in self-defense.  Both the soldier and police officer are killing with the intentions to protect others as well as them-selves.  There means are at an equilibrium, while serial killers and murders kill for there own motives with an extremely high or low level of emotion.

Is abortion morally acceptable? (Extra Credit)

December 2, 2008

I read Judith Jarvis Thomson’s essay entitled “A Defense of Abortion.”  The moral problem she is addressing in the issue of abortion.  Her thesis is basically “even if the human fetus is a person, abortion remains morally permissible in a variety of cases in which the mother’s life is not threatned.”

Judith does a very persuasive job in first stating the argument that people opposed to abortion would present.  This shows that she is fully aware of both sides and is not giving a bias opinion in her arguments in support of her thesis.  The premise that upon conception, the fetus is a human being, is what most oppositioners to abortion base thier argument on.  They go on then to included that this fetus has a right to live, as every person has a right to live.  Therfore the fetus should not be killed.

However, Judith has much more to say about her stand and defense of abortion.  First she addresses at what point the fetus would actually be considered a person.  She makes a comparison and goes on to state, “a newly implanted clump of cells, is no more a person than an acorn is an oak tree.  Most people overlook the idea that an acorn will eventually become an oaktree, and she uses this to her advantage.  This would mean that if the fetus is not considered a person upon conception, and abortion would not be considering killing an innocent person.  Although this would be a seemingly acceptable loopal, she then expresses her thoughts on the idea of “drawing a line” as to when the fetus becomes a person does not seem plausablile and most-likely would not be cared out.  It would seem irrational to state, “before this point the thing is not a person, after this point it is a person.

The whole debate on whether the fetus is a person, and when it would be considered to become one is quite distorted.  Therefore, Judith continues her argument on the basis that we are assuming the fetus is a person from the moment of conception.  We know that every person has a right to live, and every one would agree that a mother has a right to decide what will happen in and to her body.  Granted Judith points out that the right to life would be favored over the mother’s right to what happens with her body.  However, she Judith feels there truely is something wrong with this “plausible-sounding argument,” when it is viewed from another persepctive.

She asks her readers to imagine waking one morning with a violinist sleeping back to back with them.  The famous violinist has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and without permission from you, has been connected to you for the next nine months.  You would become outraged and even more so when you learn if you were to unplug him he would die.  In her previous argument she stated that most would agree that as a person has a right to life, and people have the right to decided what happens in and to thier body, the right to life would outweight what goes on in and to one’s body.  This would mean that you could not unplug urself from him because his right to live is a priority to what happens to your body.  Both Judith and I would agree that this is not moral in itself at all.

Although Judith and myself would agree on this, I would have to point out one way in which her argument was not persuasive.  In her example with the violinist, she does differentiate between the idea that the person connected to violinist did not consent to this, while in most cases people who become pregnant have in fact consented to some activity that results in pregnancy, with the exception of rape.  The last thing which Judith point out should be taken into consideration if it was necessary to chose between the life of one and the life of another.  If the mother could not physically have the child would it be moral to put she child’s life over hers? Although this is a very rare extreme, Judith uses it to show the immorality of chosing ones life over another.

I feel very strongly that abortion should be allowed, just as Judith argues, and like she states in the end of her essay, “it should be remembered that we have only been pretending throught that the fetus is a human being form the moment of conception.  A very early abortion is surely not the killing of a person, and so is not dealth with by anything I have said here.”

Who is a party to the social contract??

November 23, 2008

I believe that everyone whos agrees to stay and does not opt out of the contract by moving away, agrees to abid by the contract.  This means that they must follow all the rules and regulations which govern the area.  If they are children, they must also obey as there parents are subject to the contract and they shall be to unless once of age they decided to leave.  The parents act almost as a sovereign to there children, as they are both affected by negative actions, just as a priest would be responsible for it as well as the rest of the community.  Although some people do not recieve all the desired benefits of the contract, I dont think the moral judgement they recieve should be limited.

Hobbes- Morality and Government

November 20, 2008

In our latest class we discussed whether or not morality is relevent to government.  In my opinion, the government has no choice but to be moral.  The government is obligated to make the mature and moral desicions so that society can function as a whole.  I feel that the government is almost put up on some kind of pedestal aside from the rest of society.  If they were to make an immoral desicion, they would be held to a different punishment then if a “normal” individual.  Like we talked about in class, if someone in the government were to murder somebody, they would most likely be punished in a different matter then if a normal citizen were to do the same crime.

Hobbes’s conception of the state of nature

November 16, 2008

I  agree with Hobbes and his conception of the state of nature.  I believe that “human nature combined with the finiteness of the world’s resources, will necessarily lead to a state of war.”  For the most part people tend to put their needs before others.  Survival of the fittest is one way to prove Hobbes’s theory.  If people always put others before themselves, than they would have to rely on others to fulfill their desires and needs.  This most definitely will not happen, therefore people need to rely on themselves to survive.

However, I do not completely agree with the part where he says “the state of war described would be the worst situation imaginable.” Although people are in a state of war to survive, it could be an even worse situation if people put other’s before themselves, but then the others didn’t give back.  It could always be worse, therefore it is not the worst situation possible.

Kant vs. Mill

November 12, 2008

If i had to choose either Kant or Mill’s theory solely based on which one had the least troubling problems I would have to choose Kant’s.  Although they both have problems of their own I am without a doubt more bothered by the shortcomings of Mill than those of Kant.  Kant’s theory includes rationality, and I feel as if his measure of right and wrong is better than Mill’s.  Mill judges someone on the actions they commit and the level of happiness those actions generate.  However, while both theories have many imperfections, Kant measures morality on the universality of it.  If it is widely accepted than it is morally correct.  I am slightly more partial to this measure of right and wrong, but Mill and Kant both have problematic factors to their theories.

What is the connection between rationality and self-interest or self-love?

November 10, 2008

I think there is an obvious connection between rationality and self-interest or self-love.  Self-interest can be viewed as something that benefits an individual’s life while rationality is basically acting based on reason.  A man’s self-interest may be reason enough for some to commit certain actions, therefore a person who does this is rational.  It is important to not get “interests” confused with desires because interests are based on reality while desires may not be, and rationality is included in your self-interest because the only way to obtain an aspiring outcome is to proceed according to reality.

Why is it immoral to cheat on an exam?

November 3, 2008

I feel it is extremely immoral to cheat on a test.  However, according to the Categorical Imperative something that is widely accepted by everyone could be viewed as moral, even if it is in fact immoral.  So in this case, if all the students in Boone’s ethic class decided to cheat on a test, would this be deemed acceptable? A little twist in this case is that if everyone cheated on the test there would be no reason for the test in the first place because the whole concept of “testing” the individuals knowledge is now negated.  So as seen thorugh Kant’s view it is shown how their could also possibly be exceptions to this theory.

Does happiness have any intrinsic value?

October 29, 2008

Without a doubt happiness has intrinsic value.  Although there are many different types of happiness and every individual has different things that make them happy, the value of happiness itself is not dependent on relationships with external entities.  Happiness make people feel good and therefore everyone knows it is desirable and there is some value to it.  Regardless of the fact that there is not one thing that every person can say causes happiness.  If this wasnt true why would every person prefer to be happy as opposed to being unhappy?