Aristotle and Murder

December 9, 2008

According to Aristotle a measure of moral owrth depends on the virtue of the individual. He doesnt focus on the outcome or the intentions, rather he relies on the virtues that one posesses. Virtue is derived from experience and by performing virtuous things. Murder is an extreme when related to virtue, so Aristotle would say that murder is bad, unless it is virtuous. This seems to create a never ending cylce of whats considered virtuous and how to obtain virtues. Aristotle focuses on the intermediate aspect of Virtue meaning that the desired position on the virtue chain is somewhere in the middle because being too much of something or too little isnt considered virtuous. I think murder would be considered a little far to the right of the chain making it an immoral act.

Extra Credit

December 2, 2008

I read Judith Jarvis Thomson’s, A Defense on Abortion,which I found as a person who is pro-choice to be very compelling. She talks about how she believes in her views that abortion should be kept to the mothers choice. Her thesis in itself is a a view from her objectors, she states,”Most opposition relies on the pemise that the fetus is a human being, a person, from the moment ofconception. The premise is argued for, but, as I think, not well.” Most of her essay talks about the prospect of life and she oten debates whos life is more important in certain scenarios. Her objectors focus a lot of their attetion to the fetus and how it is considered to be human life, thereofre illegal to kill. Thomson tells and agrees that it is hard to draw the line at which point the conception actually becomes a human. She reates this case to an acorn and an oak tree. Destroying an acorn that has potential to become an oak tree would e permissable in the eyes of anyone, so she relates that analogy to the fact that when a baby is first conceved it is nothing but a clump of cells and that clump of cells is no more a human than an acorn is a tree. In her essay she relies heavily on presenting her objectors views and discrediting them with allusions and hypothetical scenarios. Anohter point she makes is this, everyone has right to life, and of course  a woman has the right to decide what happens in and to her body, but because the right to life outwieghs the right to a womans decisions than the fetus cannot be killed. That was her objectors view, but she comes up with a very clever anology of a similar situation that clashes with the one at hand. She proposes that if oe day you woke up and you were connected to another person by tubes, and a third party member tells you that although your current situation sucks for you, you cant do anything about it because this mans life depends on your blood and his right to life outwieghs your life to decide. This is a great example to look at because it puts the objectors opinions in a different light and makes it seem like it has some holes in it. That example of course coincides with the real life scenario of rape. If a woman is raped she should have the right to decide whether or not she keeps the baby. Thomson says that its possible to say that a everyone has a right to life unless they came into existence because of rape. Or similarly they can say that everyone has the right to life, but some have more of a right than others. Its hard to say that ones life means less than anothers because they are the product of rape, but people of pro-life dont make this connection so in turn they do not make an exception for the case of rape. A very persuasive argument that Thomson presents is what is there to do when the fetus has a negative effect on the mother. If the mother will certainly die because she is physically unable to carry a child, who is to say that the mother cant abort the fetus in order to save ones life. The essence of whos life is more important than whose comes into play here because how do we know which one to save. Her objectors rely on the fact that killing is completely impermissable, so killing the fetus is not allowed rather they wuld rather the mother die on her own accord than to kill the fetus inside her. Something I dont agree with is when she talks about how if a woman volunarily commits intercourse and becomes pregnant unkowingly, she is still responible even though she didnt “invit it in”. I think there are loop holes in that what if the man lied and said he had a condom, or what if the birth control didnt work, I dont believe she is responsible for that baby, and has a choice of what she wants to do with it.

Social Contracts

November 23, 2008

I believe that anyone who is mentallt capable of fully understanding the social contracts that are instilled, they should should certainly be held responsible. As a society it is every able bodied person’s obligation to follow the rules and laws established by our social contracts and therefore are also responsible to help and guide anybody less fortunate. For example a child of three cannot be held responsible for stealing a cd from a store because they are not yet aware of the rules we have establshed in our society. They dont know what “stealing” is, alls they know by human nature is if they want it, they will take it. Someone needs to inform the child of the contract that we have instilled in our society. The same concept applies to the mentally handicapped as well given that they need to be taught what is right and what is wrong. On the topic of whether everyone is subject to moral judgement based on the social contract, I think everyone no matter what position of wealth or social status should bide by the same rules, but only when it concerns matters of personal subject matter. For example Bill Clinton’s situation in which he had personal relations with another woman, I dont think he should have been scrutinized any more than the average adulterer. Some people dont have the means to make an impact on the world as largely as others, but they are still subject to the same moral judgement.


November 17, 2008

I have to agree with Hobbes with the fact that human nature will eventually lead to a state of war if all necessary resources are on the brink. It is human nature to compete for what we need and want as individuals. A scenario like all the resources runing out would be a great example of how human nature will take over and war will begin. This is the worst thing that could happen because if all humanity were to engage in war it would never end because of our human nature to keep going untill we achieve what we want.

Mill Vs. Khant

November 13, 2008

When looking at bloth Mill and Khant, we can easily see that they both have problems in their philosophies, but i believe that Khant has less problems in relation to Mill. While Mill focuses on our actions and analyzes the outcomes, Khant relies on the rationality of the will of our decisions. He looks into why we perform the actions we do, contrary to focusing on the rationaly of our consequences. Khant looks at the univerisitality of an action and if the categorical imperitive applies to everyone then the action itself is moral.If the inclination to performing this action is accepted by everyone then it would be considered moral. Although i dont agree with Khant in that every lie is undoubetly immoral, i do feel that theres a whole in that because he doesnt account for white lies, that are told with the intention of making somebody feel better which he should consider moral.

Universal Law

November 10, 2008

According to Khant an action is moral if it coincides with a universal law. Cheating on an  exam is a good example of something that is immoral. The maxim applied to this situation would be if i cheat, then i will get a good grade. Cheating is the counsel that drives that forces action to the inclination or preference, which would be the wanting a good grade. In order for this whole maxim to be moral it would have to apply to everybody else. This makes the maxim contradict itself, in that if cheating was the best way to get good grades, then everybody would cheat, making the actual action of cheating obsolete.


November 3, 2008

Cheating is immoral because in order for it to be a moral action, it must be morally acceptbale for everyone to do it. Everyone has maxims in there head that act as rules or laws for their beliefs and intentions. If cheating on anything were acceptable then a lot of things would become obsolete. For example if it were moral to cheat on your spouse, then nobody would get married. These maxims we have act as a moral guideline in our minds that direct our actions and intents in the right direction. If we all do things without rules and law then there is no reason for do anything. on a large scale if we didnt have laws what would be the point of cops, courts, or a government.


October 30, 2008

I believe that happiness does have intrinsic value because the value of happiness does not always depend on external entities. We do derive happiness from everything around us, but the actual happy state of mind has its own value. I beleieve that happiness is just that, a state of mind. You dont always need an external element to create happiness. If i find myself down, stressed, nervous, or whatever I constatntly tell myself that everything is going to be alrite and I really do make myself feel better. Of course external factors contribute to your overall well being, but happiness is a state of mind that can be controlled by us all.


October 26, 2008

If I could ask John Stuart Mill one question it would be, as a Utilitarian, in regards topeople who do not follow utilitarianism; do you believe that their actions are immoral even if they believe otherwise?

I feel Mill would say that non-believers of Utilitarianism can create moral actions just as long as they increase overall happiness. Hes a philosopher so Im sure he would be accepting of others belief’s, but at the same time his own beliefs are based around an element that insists a moral is action if and only if it increases happiness. So therefore Mill would most likely be accepting towards anothers beleifs, but he will still try and implement his beleifs on to others.

Utili. and lies

October 15, 2008

I think that the idea of utilitarianism is good for both the individual and the overall society, but i feel like the idea is too vague and leaves too many holes. In accordance to utili. any action performed by a human is considered moral if it increases overall happiness. It doesnt specify what type of actions are moral, just as long as they increase happiness. This means that a person who lies to another in order to protect them or make them feel better is increasing happiness, but at the same time this person is commiting an unethical act. A vigalante can take matters into his own hands by killing a child molester in the community. He rids this community of a child molester, which by utilitarian standards means that it was moral because it increased overall happiness. But killing is in no way shape or form moral, so utili. in a way contradicts itself. Its bad to lie when it hurts someone, but its ok when it helps someone. A lie is a lie and rationally thinking a lie is wrong no matter what.