Wednesday, January 22, 2014
During last class not many things were discussed (relating to philosophy). It was more of an outline and elaboration of how a regular class should function. Such information can be found on the Syllabus, Quick Start Guide, and Daily Participation Scorecards. The last ten minutes were used to split the class into three groups and assign authors.
The reading assignment for next class introduced us to a few different views on ethics. They include: Consequentialism( Utalitarianism), Deontological theory, Virtue Ethics, Communitarianism, and Libertarianism. Consequentialism is ''the ends justify the means'' theory that can be based on the past events and their consequences. Utalitarianism is one of the branches of consequentialism that states that any action should be based on maximizing happiness and reducing suffering, it was coined by Jeremy Benthem. Deontological theory, Kant's philosophy, states that morality is required when making a particular decision. This theory is divided into hypothetical imperative, one that is conditional and is a mean of achieving a desired end (such as feelings and desires) and categorical imperative, one that is unconditional and overrides our preferences (such as reason and respect for others).The theory states that morality is what good people do. Aristotle's Virtue Ethics states that morality is based on an enduring character of moral agents. It says that people should be eudaimonistic, or having good spirit. This view is considered to be elitistic and very broad, not allowing for isolated moral choices to be followed. Communitarianism says that individuals are servants to the general will and thus are less autonomous. On the opposite end, Liberarianism says that people are free to do as they please as long as no one else is harmed by their decisions.
While explaing all these theories the book kept referring back to the mayor at the square example. In my opinion, he should have killed the two guerrilla fighters not because of the greater good but because they were not civilians - they were fighters (It would be different if the colonel took two civilians and asked mayor to club them as an example to others).The mayor most likely doesn't know of multiple other outcomes of a somewhat similar situations that happened in the past, therefore he could not decide which path would be the correct choice. For me it is better to live under any condition ( as long as I can think and move around) so if a particular civilian did not want to live under tyranny he could try to get himself killed or commit suicide. The soldier's would most likely obey their commanders order. Even if some of them disobey the outcome of the command would be inevitable. To rely on Kant's categorical imperative and hope that soldier's morality will override the command of the leader would mean that all of the soldiers have to be on the same page as the mayor, believing in the unconditional morality.
Here is a link that I think is really cool. An artist performed an unusual experiment to see what people would do in unusual situations and she took a stab at the question of whether there is a killer in all of us.