Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Group 3

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 SyllabusQuick 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.


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  2. Chapter 2 from Bioethics: the Basics

    FQ: Which theory has been dominant in bioethics and often used by many health professionals?
    A: Consequentialism

    DQ: What would you do if you were in the shoes of a soldier that was commanded to kill the innocent civilians? To take it a step further, what if your life was in jeopardy if you did not follow the colonel's command?

    This is an interesting question because it essentially comes down to the soldier taking his/her life to spare over 80 innocent lives of your enemy's civilians. Many people would die for their country, but would they die for the innocents of the opposing power?

    We have what is right and wrong, but it seems that we have based our morality on religion. If all religions were to be excluded when discussing morals, what is really RIGHT and what is really WRONG? Would right and wrong even exist? I found this interesting conversation on TED. http://www.ted.com/conversations/16305/do_right_and_wrong_exist.html

    Just another thing to think about.

    1. ...I can't imagine that killing would be totally cool without religion. Example, I'm not religious whatsoever, but I don't think that lying, cheating, stealing, killing, etc. is right simply because there's no skydad to punish me in the end. Taking a page from Kant, if I universalized my actions, I wouldn't want everyone to do any of those things, regardless of belief structures.

    2. However, in light of Nikita's link....I'm unsure if everyone else would feel the same as myself.

  3. Well done, Maiki, that's exactly how to circle the bases and score a participation RUN!

    Nikita, your post is very thorough, above and beyond expectations. Authors, just a couple of succinct paragraphs (mostly retrospective) will normally suffice. Everybody else's FQs and DQs will then point us forward to our next meeting. Links can always go both ways.

  4. (FQ) Which of the following was a supporter of Deontological theory?
    A) Aristotle
    B) Kant
    C) Bentham

    (FQ) Which view of ethics states that morality is based on an enduring character of moral agents and that people should be eudaimonistic?
    Virtue Ethics

    As far as discussion questions go, I would mainly be interested in knowing how each of my group members feel about the situational example of the mayor that was referenced throughout the chapter. What would you do in that situation? Would you agree with one of the views stated in the chapter or maybe a combination of them? With some of us being future health care providers, what view do you feel you should take when treating patients? More specifically, what were your opinions on the examples given in the chapter about the doctor and patient regarding the child in need of a kidney transplant but the sibling not being okay with giving one?

    This link isn't entirely relevant to ethics but I still found it interesting.
    We discussed this in a class I took a couple of semesters ago and I found it interesting.