Blog Assignment #18

Blog: You are wide open on this one, but here are a couple of ideas:

  • Are Aristotle and Nietzsche right when they say that morality is a quality of people, not of actions?
  • Is it unfair for Nietzsche to limit the power to create value to the “noble”?
  • Who is the most appealing (or the most unappealing, or the most provocative, or the most awesome) ethicist we’ve discussed throughout the semester?

I think that Mill is the most appealing, provocative, and awesome ethicist we discussed this semester. I feel that his ideas and theories were very interesting and thought provoking. He believes that utilitarianism is an action is good if it increases overall happiness, the happier the people are the greater the moral value; an act is bad if is decreases overall happiness. I thought this was the most interesting topic because I can see both sides of the argument, there are points where I agree with Mill and there are points where I disagree with Mill. Yes actions should increase overall happiness but we also do need to think about our own happiness and that isn’t always what will increase the overall happiness. I strongly believe that in a lot of cases in life you have to make decision based not only on overall happiness but mainly your happiness as well. For example if a woman were in a marriage where she were getting abused both physically and emotionally but wasn’t making any money to support her 5 children it would decrease overall happiness among the family if she were to take her kids and leave her husband. I felt that with Mill’s theory of utilitarianism it really made me think like a philosopher would and made me want to come up with my own definition of what is moral.


December 12, 2008 at 7:44 pm Leave a comment

Blog Assignment #17

Blog: Give an Aristotelean account for the moral worth of murder. Remember, this is perhaps a little trickier than it sounds, since Aristotle is focused not as much on the value of actions as on the value of individuals.

Aristotle doesn’t look at just an action as being moral or immoral. He looks at the intentions behind the action, and if someone is acting with in a balance. He says that people shouldn’t be too passive in situations but also not too aggressive either, he talks about having a scale and a balance. An example of murder being moral in Aristotle’s eyes would be if someone where trying to attack your family and hurt you wife and child and you were to try to defend them and ended up murdering them. This action would be considered less immoral because it didn’t have harmful intentions it was an act of self defense. It wasn’t like you were looking to go out and murder someone they brought your actions upon themselves by trying to harm your family.

December 8, 2008 at 12:33 am 1 comment

Blog Assignment #16

Blog about the question of who, precisely, is a party to the social contract. Can we rightfully say that the sovereign has made an agreement to give up some rights? How about a child? Or a person who, because of material limitations, cannot easily opt out of the contract by moving away? If these people are only parties to the contract in a limited way, is their subjectivity to moral judgment also limited?

I believe that we are all party to the social contract in certain ways. I don’t think that we can have a specific one social contract that applies to everyone because we are all in different stages of life and grow up in different families and have a different set of morals.  I don’t believe that the sovereign has made an agreement to give up some rights because even though that have a position of power they should also have a different version of the social contract like everyone else. Same applies to a child there are only a certain amount of morals that children are expected to have and  they grow and learn different morals and their social contract changes also as the rest of us.

November 23, 2008 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Blog Assignment #15

Blog about the connection that Hobbes posits between morality and government. What’s the connection? Are governments/sovereigns subject to moral judgment?

Hobbes states that the government is there in order to protect morality. The connection between the government and morality would then be that the government is there in order to make sure that people act in a moral manner. I certainly think that that governments are subject to moral judgment for many reasons. There are laws that are make say back when slavery was legal, at the time it was perfectly normal to have slaves in your home and even after slavery was abolished it was perfectly normal to separate black Americans from white Americans. Is treating someone like an animal or separating someone for the rest of society moral in our eyes today? I think that this is an issue where our government is subject to moral judgment. Times and society change and I believe that morals do as well. Also there is certainly corruption within certain aspects of government and officials that are elected to carry out and enforce our laws. There are many stories of judges ruling in favor of someone because of a bribe or police officers being untrue to their duties. This is also a reason government can be morally judged because those that are supposed to be protecting morality might not be acting so moral themselves.

November 20, 2008 at 1:56 am Leave a comment

Blog Assignment #13

I want you to think back over Kant and Mill and do some broad decision making. Each theory has its own problems. If you had to choose one of the two theories based solely on which one had the least troubling problems, which would it be? Are you bothered more by the shortcomings of Mill – think about, for example, his judgment of someone who tries to give to charity but the money ends up going for bad things – or the shortcomings of Kant – for instance, his judgment on what you should do if there’s a murderer looking for your grandmother.

November 17, 2008 at 12:38 am Leave a comment

Blog Assignment #14

Blog about Hobbes’s conception of the state of nature. Is he right that human nature, combined with the finiteness of the world’s resources, will necessarily lead to a state of war? Is he right that the state of war described would really be the worst situation imaginable?

Hobbes states that is is considered human nature to want be selfish and for people to want to look out for what is best for themselves. This is true, but it is also a part of human nature to be selfish with certain boundaries. For example we would clearly not go to the grocery store and beat someone off the head for the last bag of marshmallows. If it was human nature to be only concerned with your own wellbeing then everyday would indeed be a state of war, people would be fight over everything and it would be the worst situation imaginable. I believe Hobbes would say well yes people are beating each other up everyday because we have a legal system and a government which prevents that. But how would we ever really know if this controlled behavior is due to our laws or if it really is a part of our human nature to look out for others? We’ve had forms of government for many many years and maybe because of this in itself could this controlled form of selfishness now be a part of our human nature? I think that these are a few questions that go against Hobbes theory that our human nature is to be only selfish.

November 17, 2008 at 12:38 am 2 comments

Blog Assignment #12

Blog about the issue of rationality that arises time and time again in these passages. Here are some questions you might think about: What is the connection between rationality and self-interest or self-love? What kinds of assumptions does Kant make about the nature of rationality? How does Kant use the notion of rationality to demonstrate our duties? In what ways is categorical imperative dependent on rationality? Et cetera.

The connection between rationality and self-love in Kant’s view is that a rational person must first love themselves. This makes sense because when you don’t have self love the decisions you make are not rational. A perfect example would be people that are suffering from depression. In most cases these people start to lack self love and then this leads to them making irrational decision. Like a father who has for years loved his family and wife and is now in debt suffers from depression and no longer has self love. He starts to treat his family poorly and not longer makes an effort to get himself and them out of their debt, this is not a rational decision on his part. Say this depression leads to him killing himself this is also not a rational decision.  A person with no self love is in comparison a person that suffers from depression. These people for the most part don’t have any desire to do things for themselves let alone other people. This causes them to make irrational decision.

November 10, 2008 at 12:43 am 1 comment

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