Ethics

December 10, 2008

I dont think morality is only a quality of people and not of actions because when good people do bad things we say they are “acting out of character” so that insnt necesarily from their character . It seems that all the philosphers were constantly trying to eleminate factors that play into a moral decision to bring it down to one thing. I think in reality its more complicated than that. More of a combination of things like intentions, actions, consequences, qualities etc. We can often judge an action to be good or bad almost instantly from our gut feeling and this would suggest that morality isnt complicated, but it is. Most of the time when we get that gut or instinctual reaction its obvious that something is good or bad. Even when we make these obvious moral decisions its hard to explain why we feel that way; this suggest that morality is complicated. When you actually take a step back and think about how, why, and the overall result of something you may come to a totally different decision because you have taken alot of different factors into account.

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Aristotle and Murder

December 8, 2008

After reading some of the blogs it seems that Aristotle considers extremes non virtuous. While murder is always extreme it seems less extreme in certain situations. Such as a soldier killing another soldier on an opposing side would not necessarily be as extreme as a terrorist killing innocent people. Or if someone broke into your house and had a weapon using deadly force to defend yourself doesn’t seem as extreme. So i guess Aristotle would say that it depends on the situation?

Who is a party to the social contract

November 23, 2008

I believe that children are held to the social contract to the extent that they can understand it. As for the concept of someone who does not have the means to escape the contract but does not want to obey it is a confusing one. Say theres a person being raised in American under our social contract. This person doesnt want to be in the contract but cannot escape it because they do not have the financial means to leave the country. I feel like this person would still be bound to the contract even though they dont wish to be. This person has been recieving the benefits of the contract for their entire life and if they go out and say take someones elses things they would be violating the contract and should be punished for it. Although something tells me that its not right to hold people to a contract that they never offically signed up for, i would think this person should still obey it. This is probably because elements of the contract were moral or immoral before there was even a contract and they should be implemented with or without a contract. Even in a state of nature, before a contract, wouldn’t there still be judgments being made about someones actions? There is some level of trust which can exist without the insurance of a government. The evidence of that trust would be relationships and packs of people living together before there was any enforcers or contracts.

Government and Morality

November 19, 2008

If Hobbes believes there’s only morality when there is a contract, then yes the government is subject to morality. The people make a contract with the government to defend their rights. So if the government doesn’t do this properly then they would be violating the contract, making them immoral.

In a more general sense shouldn’t the Government be held to the highest moral standards? If every ones giving their rights up to the government they have all the power and we all know how the saying goes; with great power comes great responsibility. Giving up your rights to the government would be useless if the government acts immoral by either not defending your rights properly or using what you give up to the government for bad or unnecessary things. If George Bush kicks a kid in the shin for no reason he is being immoral. If he acts through the government and tells a soldier to kick the kid in the shin the government is being immoral.

Going back to when these small governments formed, think about how it would happen. People are sick of the state of war so they want to form a social contract. They give up their rights to the government. The government in this situation would be the individuals who the people trust to have good judgment and good morals.

Hobbes

November 16, 2008

I think Hobbes isn’t totally correct about the state of nature. When can we not be in a state of nature? just because we can shape our environment to make it more survivable doesn’t mean that we are not in a state of nature. we are still effected by the constraints of limited resources and unlimited wants. Even if Hobbes considers a state of nature where people are all out against one another this naturally leads to people aligning themselves with those they trust and against those who they don’t. This leads to civilizations etc. I think that people can not separate themselves from the state of nature, we live in it everyday its just different than most people think. Were just competing in more civilized ways. such as trying to get a better job, make more money, align yourself with those who can help you.

Kant or Mill

November 12, 2008

If i had to choose between the theories of Kant or Mill, i think i would have to side with Kant. I side with Kant because whenever someone does something that has a bad consequence but had good intentions we always would view that action to be more moral than an action that had a bad consequence and bad intentions. Look how obviously immoral an action with both bad consequences and bad intentions is compared to how something that has good intentions but bad consequences is not really that bad.

Good intentions Bad consequences:  I donate to a charity and do a reasonable amount of research before sending them my money. It turns out that this charity is illegitimate. This charity then uses the money to put poison in baby food.

Bad intentions Bad Consequences: I donate to the same charity but i know that theyre going around posioning baby food.

Isnt the second one way worse? Doesnt this tell us that our intentions have atleast something to do with the moral worth of our actions?

While i dont totally like Kant or Mills theorys i would not be able to side with Mill just because he does not consider all the factors that go into making a decision before an action.

Rationality and Self Love

November 9, 2008

I think when Kant describes self love hes just really describing the natural instincts in our brain that help us survive. That main natural instinct would have to be rationality. Rationality is the only reason we have survived so much better than other species. If I’m in the backseat with a dog and were being driven down the highway and i throw a steak out the window theres a good chance that dog is going to jump out the window after it. Obviously no rational human would do this. I don’t think  a rational human wouldn’t do this because they love themselves so much but just have the ability to think about how their actions would best help their survival.

Categorical Imperative

November 2, 2008

The maxim that i am trying to apply to the categorical imperative is; If you want money, steal it.

The current maxim for making money in today’s world seems to be; if you want money, work for it. This seems to be working well and can be applied universally. When i began to think of my example maxim i realized it could not be applied to universal law.

If you want money, steal it

If stealing were universal law no one would work

If no one worked there would be no money

If there is no money then you cant steal it

It seems that this maxim has already defeated itself but i think it would go even further

If everyone were stealing then an essential part of society would be in jeopardy; trust and honesty.

I don’t believe that society can even exist without at least some level of these two traits.

hapiness and intrinsic worth

October 30, 2008

I’m not totally sure what intrinsic worth means but, if it means that its something naturally good then I think hapiness does have intrinsic worth. Hapiness is something that everyone is encouraged to pursue.

We also disscused in class that a things purpose is whatever it is best at. I think that reasons and reasonoing is best at helping us survive. The ability to think before we act has been what’s led us to the hudge success of the human race. Look at all the other animals that have the same sense and abilities as us(usually enhanced compared to our own) but we have survived much better than these animals because of our reason.

Aye, Yo MILL

October 26, 2008

How can you really believe that motives, intentions, reasons etc have absolutely nothing to do with the moral weight of an action? If i am someone who is loved by most that i encounter and i accidentally shoot myself while cleaning my gun this would cause much sadness. By your terms this action would be deemed immoral.

A) You took a risk in owning a gun and therefore i have no sympathy for your situation.

C) Instead of trying to twist and turn this to fit my whacked view on morals, I’m going to realize that this just does not sit right with me. While its hard to deem this action moral it is defiantly not immoral. Maybe moral if you were cleaning your weapon because you want it to function properly if you ever needed it to protect yourself or family. But this once again proves the point that the moralness of an action has to do with your motives/reasons etc.