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cmp March 29, 2009

Filed under: itethic — hikaru011 @ 10:25 am

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- James Rachels: Egoism and Moral Scepticism

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn the definition of Egoism

  • I expect to learn what is Moral skepticism

  • Psychological egoism

  • Ethical Egoism

Quote:

“The legend of Gyges is about a shepherd who was said to have found a magic ring in a fissure opened by an earthquake. The ring would make its wearer invisible and thus would enable him to go anywhere and do anything undetected. Gyges use the power of the ring to gain entry to the Royal Palace where he seduced the Queen, murdered the King, and subsequently seized the throne.”

Book Review:

The reading starts with this story, the legend of Gyges. It was about a shepherd who found a ring. The powerful ring would make the wearer invisible. He used this opportunity to enter the Palace. He killed the king and seduced the queen. He grabbed the king’s throne. Glaucon says that no one its commonly believed that would have an iron strength of mind to stand fast in doing right or keep his hands off other men’s good when he could go to a market place and grab anything that he want with the powers of a God. This explains that all of us are believed to have an ability to do wrong things if we are powerful. We will do anything that is pleasurable for us. If we know that we can have anything that we want, surely, we will grab it. Of course it can make us happy and it can make our life pleasurable. Glaucon also explains his skeptical views. These are psychological egoism, which means men are all selfish in everything that they do and the only motive from which anyone ever acts is self interest, and Ethical egoism, which means, a normative view about how men ought to act. I think psychological egoism is more likely practiced in our society today. All men are selfish. For example, we work hard to earn money. The money that we earned is for our own pleasure. Nowadays, there are less people who share their blessing with charities, and the like. It is because; we believe that what we earned is the fruit of our labor. There are also arguments for psychological egoism. First is that people never volunteer themselves unless they want to, and with unselfishness comes self satisfaction. Ethical egoism, for me, means it is like a law on which how mean supposed to act. For example, when we saw some one who’s dying and in pain, we should help him because the society tells us to do so.

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is Psychological Egoism?
  2. What is Ethical Egoism?
  3. The legend of Gyges is all about what?
  4. How many arguments does psychological egoism have?
  5. Who is Gyges?

What I have learned:

I have learned about psychological egoism and ethical egoism. These two are the skeptical views suggested by Glaucon. I believed that of these two, psychological egoism can best describe most people.

Review Questions:

  1. Explain the legend of Gyges. What questions about morality and are raised by the story?

The legend of Gyges is about a shepherd who was said to have found a magic ring in a fissure opened by an earthquake. The ring would make its wearer invisible and thus would enable him to go anywhere and do anything undetected. Gyges use the power of the ring to gain entry to the Royal Palace where he seduced the Queen, murdered the King, and subsequently seized the throne.

A question about morality has been raised after the story. Assume that there were two rings. The one who given to a man of virtue and the other one is given to a man of rouge. A man of rouge will take advantage to the rings power. A man of virtue will also do the same. “No one, it is commonly believed, would have such iron strength of mind as to stand fast in doing right or keep his hands off other men’s good, when he could go to the market place and fearlessly help him to anything he wanted with the powers of a god.”

  1. Distinguish between psychological and ethical egoism.

Psychological egoism is the view that all men are selfish in everything that they do, that is that the only motive from which anyone ever acts is self interest. Ethical egoism is a normative view about how men ought to act.

  1. Rachel discusses two arguments for psychological egoism. What are these arguments, and how does he reply to them?

The first argument rests on the basis that people never voluntarily do anything except what they want to. The second argument says that the unselfish actions always produce a sense of satisfaction.

  1. What three common place confusion does Rachels detect in the thesis of psychological egoism?

The first is the confusion of selfishness with self interest. Second, the assumption that every action is done either from self-interest or from other regarding motives. Third, the common but false assumption that a concern for one’s own welfare is a incompatible with any genuine concern for the welfare of others.

  1. State the argument for saying that ethical egoism is inconsistent. Why doesn’t Rachels’ accept this argument?

Ethical egoism is a standard way of man obliged to act. According to ethical egoism, the only person I need to think of is myself.

  1. According to Rachels, why shouldn’t we hurt others, and why should we help others? How can the egoist reply?

“Why shouldn’t you do actions that will harm others? Because, doing those actions will harm others”. According to Rachels, the welfare of human beings is something that most of us value for its own sake, and not merely for the sake of something else.

The egoist doesn’t care about other people, whether he help or hurt others.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Has Rachels answered the questions raised by Glaucon, namely, “Why be moral?” If so, what exactly his answer?

Rachels answered this by explaining psychological and ethical egoism.

  1. Are genuine egoist rare, as Rachels claims? Is it a fact that most people care about others, even people they don’t know?

Rachels claim that the genuine egoist is rare. Genuine egoist is the people who care for others before themselves.

  1. Suppose we define ethical altruism as the view that one should always act for the benefit of others and never in one’s own self-interest. Is such a view immoral or not?

It is good to also think about others but to think about others before you is not right. It is not immoral but I can say it’s unjustifiable.

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- John Arthur: Religion, Morality, and Conscience

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn the if religion is the basis of having morality

  • Difference of Morality from Religion

  • Divine Command Theory

Quote:

“To have a moral code, then, is to tend to evaluate (perhaps without even expressing it) the behavior of others and to feel guilt at certain actions when we perform them. Religion, on the other hand, involves belief s in supernatural powers that are created and perhaps also control nature, the tendency to worship and pray to those supernatural forces or beings, and the presence of organizational structures and authoritative texts.”

Book review:

I believe that because of all the beliefs that we have, we got to know what is right and wrong. Morality is about right deeds and wrong doings. But in the reading, it is said that religion is not the base foundation of our moral beliefs. For me, religion may not be the center on how morality evolves but religion plays a part. We believe that stealing and killing are immoral. These two acts can harm and destroy others. Thou shall not steal and thou shall not kill are two commandments of God. We know that this is immoral; these are violations of the moral law. I believe that these two came from our religious beliefs. But man motives for doing the right thing have nothing to do with religion. It is explained in the reading that if someone do good, it is because he does not want to harm others, or does not want to embarrass his family and friends. We need religion to act morally is said to be wrong. I think someway this is true. Most people are not religious at all yet act morally. For example, if he does not pray the rosary and does not hear the mass every Sunday, it doesn’t mean the he is immoral. Immoral acts are based on how people react to his society. Like stealing, for example, there are people who listen to mass, pray often, yet capable of stealing or doing wrong deeds.

Divine Command Theory is “claim that something is right because God wills it. It is shows that morally right are determined by the will of the single supreme deity. “Arthur rejects it because this theory says that all the things that God command are right, if it isn’t commanded by God, therefore it is wrong. I believe that what God commanded is right for Catholics and for non- Catholics, it may be wrong. For those who don’t believe in God, for pagans, may be the divine command theory is some what irrelevant to them. It is because not all of us believes and listens to the word of God. By not listening and believing is not an act of immorality. Catholicism is not the only religion exist in the world. All of us have different beliefs.

Integrative Questions:

  1. Is religion the basis of morality?
  2. What is Divine Command Theory?
  3. Did Arthur reject this theory?
  4. What is religion?
  5. How religion does differ from morality?

What I have learned:

I have learned that religion is not the basis of morality. What might right and moral for you might not be moral for others. Some of us don’t do immoral things because we don’t want to hurt or harm others not because of our religious beliefs.

Review Questions:
1. According to Arthur how are Morality and Religion different?

Morality is all about what is right from wrong. What actions that our society consider as proper and etiquette. Religion, on the other hand, involves beliefs in supernatural powers, like God.

2. Why isn’t religion necessary for moral motivation?

When we do things properly, religion has nothing to do with it. We act based on our instinct. For example, we don’t hurt others not because we’re scared that we might end up in hell but because we know that it is wrong.

3. Why isn’t religion necessary as a source of moral knowledge?

Religion, basically, teaches us what is right and wrong. I think religion is not necessary as a source of moral knowledge because there are many religions in the world. What is right for the Catholics may not be right for the Muslims. It became unnecessary because we all have different beliefs. Moral knowledge comes from within.

4. What is divine command theory? Why does Arthur reject this theory?

According to divine command theory, religion is necessary for morality because without God there could be no right and wrong.

Arthur rejects this theory because, as the definition above stated that God dictates us what is right from wrong. But the expressions “commanded by God” and “morally required” do not mean the same. If one thing is not commanded by God it does not automatically immoral.

5. According to Arthur, how are morality and religion connected?

In some way they are connected, but truly, morality and religion are independent from each other.

6. Dewey says that morality is social, what does this mean according to Arthur?

Arthur stated his four ideas. These are:

  • The existence of morality assumes that we posses a socially required language within which we think about our choices and which alternatives we ought to follow.

· Morality is social in that it governs relationships among people, defining our responsibilities to others and theirs to us. Morality provides the standards we rely on in gauging with family, lovers, friends, fellow citizens and even strangers.

· Morality is social in the sense that we are, in fact, subject to criticisms by others of our actions. We discuss with others what we do, and often hear them concerning whether our decisions were acceptable.

· Idea depends on appreciating the fact that to think from the moral view point.

Discussion Questions:

1. Has Arthur refuted the divine command theory? if not, how can it be defended?

Arthur is against the divine command theory. He explained what he think why he does not support this theory.

2. If morality is social, as Dewey says, then how can we have any obligations to non human?

For me, animal is also a living thing that God created. We should respect the animals and also their way of living.

3. What does Dewey mean by moral education? Does a college ethics class count as moral education?

A moral education teaches us how to act morally in accordance to the common law. I think an ethic class in considered as a moral education since it teaches us the morals of well human being.

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- Friedrich Nietzsche: Master- and Slave- Morality

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn Master- and Slave- Morality

  • A good and healthy society

  • Will to power

  • Nietzsche’s writings

Quote:

“Nietzsche argues that a healthy society should allow superior individuals to exercise “will to power,” their drive toward domination and exploitation of the inferior. The superior person follows a “master-morality” that emphasizes power, strength, egoism, and freedom, as distinguished from a “slave-morality” that calls for weakness, submission, sympathy, and love.”

Book Review:

A master and slave morality, for me, is like of those Master and servants relationship. As for the master, since he is the superior, he has the power to command task to the inferior ones. A good or healthy society, as described by Nietzsche, should allow superior individuals to exercise their will to power with the inferior. For me it means that a society to be healthy, the higher people should practice and exercise their powers over the smaller people. I think an example if that of the president over the country which he governed. A president is considered as the superior, he has the right to command task and those who are inferior to him should follow. Exercising his power or the “will to power” includes making decisions for his people. As the superior being, he has the job or task to control his people and anything under his constitution. A healthy society can be produced if the inferior ones allow the superior to handle or to command them.

Nietzsche’s only explained a healthy society with this master slave morality. Exercising the will to power is a key to obtain one. I think all of us are entitled to our own opinion. And as what I’ve read, his writings are not harmful and dangerous. Charges against him are not justifiable because I think he just explained what he think and believe.

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is will to power?
  2. What is a healthy society?
  3. What is master morality?
  4. What is slave morality?
  5. Does Nietzsche’s writings really harmful?

What I have learned:

I have learned about master- and slave- morality. For me, this master- slave relationship is not immoral. I believe that it is a key in obtaining a healthy society. The superior ones has the authority over the inferiors.

Review Questions

1. How does Nietzsche characterize a good and healthy society?

A good and healthy society can allow their superior to exercise their “will to power”, their drive toward domination and exploitation of the inferior.

2. What is Nietzsche’s view of injury, violence and exploitation?

Injury, violence and exploitation, according to Nietzsche avoid us to experience the sense of good conduct among individuals when there are necessary conditions given.

3. Distinguish between master-morality and slave-morality.

Master morality is the value creator. Slave morality illustrates the virtue of sympathy, kindness and humility.

4. Explain the Will to Power.

Will of Power is precisely the will to life. It can be achieved thru creative activity.

Discussion Questions

1. Some people view Nietzsche’s writings as harmful and even dangerous. For example, some have charged Nietzsche with inspiring Nazism. Are these charges justified or not? Why or why not?

Nietzsche’s only explained a healthy society with this master slave morality. Exercising the will to power is a key to obtain one. I think all of us are entitled to our own opinion. And as what I’ve read, his writings are not harmful and dangerous. Charges against him are not justifiable because I think he just explained what he think and believe.

2. What does it mean to be “a creator of values”?

“What is injurious to me is injurious in itself; he knows that it is he himself only who confers honor on things; he is a creator of values.”

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- Mary Midgley: Trying Out one’s New Sword

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn Tsujigiri

  • Moral isolationism

  • Basis for criticizing other cultures

Quote:

“Tsujigiri, literally “crossroads cut.” A samurai sword had to tried out because, if it was to work properly, it had to slice through someone at a single blow, from the shoulder to the opposite flank. Otherwise, the warrior bungled his stroke. This could injure his honor offend his ancestors, and even let down his emperor. So tests were needed, and the wayfarer had to be expended. Any wayfarer would do- provided of course, that he was not another Samurai.”

Book Review:

Moral isolationism is a doctrine of immoralism because it forbids any moral reasoning. It falsely assumes that cultures are separate and unmixed. It is also a belief that no one can understand culture except his own. For example, I, as a Filipino, may not be familiar and don’t understand the American culture, but I, as a Filipino, know my own culture. According to Midgley, there is something wrong with Moral isolationism. I think what is wrong is we are ignorant or sometimes we misunderstood other people’s culture. Moral isolationism stops us in criticizing others customs that might destroy the value of morality, it is wrong because it defies or contrast the moral values we know and believe. In the example stated above, the tsujigiri or the crossroad cuts, for most of us, we may think that it is immoral. Taking out a life of innocent people just to practice your sword it a very brutal action, but for the ancient Japanese, what is immoral or wrong is when they bring disgrace to their emperors and ancestors. I think that most of us misunderstand other’s culture because in the first place, we don’t care about others except our own. I believe this is true. But before giving any opinion or before criticizing something or other people’s culture, we must first consider knowing and understanding the basis. It is the same when you criticize and give an opinion with your friends. How can you give your own idea or opinion if you are completely unaware what happened.

It is also said in the book that we may well reflect that we simply do not understand it; therefore are not qualified to criticize it at all, because we are not members of that culture. If we think like this, we should ask ourselves: Does the isolating barrier between the two cultures block praise as well as blame? How they or we judged each other’s customs.

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is tsujigiri?
  2. Do you think it is morally right?
  3. What is moral isolationism?
  4. What is/are the basis of criticizing other cultures?
  5. Is moral isolationism is a doctrine of immoralism?

What I have learned?

I have learned about moral isolationism. Moral Isolationism means that we don’t know any culture except our own. I believe that this statement is true. Most of us don’t care with other cultures. When we heard something, we just react with the situation, without knowing if that certain thing that happened is typical to them or not.

Review Questions

1. What is “moral isolationism”?

Moral isolationism is a doctrine of immoralism because it forbids any moral reasoning. It falsely assumes that cultures are separate and unmixed.

2. Explain the Japanese custom of tsujigiri. What questions does Midgley ask about this custom?

Tsujigiri or crosscut is practiced by the Japanese samurais. They

test new swords on wayfarers. It is important to the samurais that their sword must be able to slice through someone in a single swing, passing from the shoulder to the opposite side. If the sword did not work properly, the samurai would lose his

Honor, the respect of his emperor and disgrace his ancestors.

In others’ custom, they might think that it is brutal and unfair, but for the Japanese this is right since it is their custom. Midgley asks do other people with different custom questions our very own customs.

3. What is wrong with moral isolationism, according to Midgley?

“People usually take it up because they think it is respectful attitude to other cultures. In fact, however, it is not respectful.”

Moral isolationism stops us in criticizing others customs that might destroy the value of morality, it is wrong because it defies or contrast the moral values we know and believe.

4. What does Midgley think is the basis for criticizing other cultures?

The basis to criticize other culture is to prove it that it destroys the general moral teachings. But in order to make favorable judgment or criticism, we have to know enough.

Discussion Questions

1. Midgley says that Nietzsche is an immoralist. Is that an accurate and fair assessment of Nietzsche? Why or why not?

No because all of us has a right to express what we think and believe in.

2. Do you agree with Midgley’s claim that the idea of separate and unmixed cultures is unreal? Explain your answer.

Yes because racial discrimination is everywhere!

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- John Stewart Mill – Utilitarianism

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn Utilitarianism

  • Greatest Happiness principle

  • Higher and Lower Pleasure

Quote:

By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure.”

“Principle of Utility or the Greatest Happiness Principle, says that the ultimate end, with reference to and for the sake of which all other things are desirable, whether we are considering our own good or that of other people, is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible from enjoyments, both in point of quantity and quality.”

Book Review:

Utilitarianism, according to wikipedia, is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all persons. The principle of utility or the greatest happiness principle, for me, means that the greatest happiness must be considered first before you acknowledge your own happiness. A utilitarian standard is not the agent’s own greatest happiness, but the greatest happiness altogether. Like I said, we must first think if what we do may make others happy before we consider ourselves.

There is also higher and lower pleasure, which is said to be the two kind of pleasure. The definition depends on how you perceive happiness. For example, for me, I consider this thing as the source of my higher pleasure, while the other thing is the source of my lower pleasure. Higher pleasure for me may be the source of lower pleasure for others. It is said in the book that different people may place a different value on pleasures based on how they perceive and experience pleasure. “A being of higher faculties requires more to make him happy, is capable probably of more acute suffering, and certainly accessible to it at more point than one of an inferior type.”

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is Utilitarianism?
  2. What is the Greatest Happiness Principle?
  3. Is higher pleasure for me may be lower pleasure to others?
  4. What is a utilitarian standard?
  5. What is the Principle of Utility?

What I have learned:

I have learned that a utilitarian standard means that we should consider first the greatest happiness altogether or the happiness of most people before we consider our happiness. The higher and lower pleasures are categorized on how you perceive happiness.

Review Questions:

  1. State and explain the Principle of Utility. Show how it could be used to justify actions that are conventionally viewed as wrong, such as lying and stealing.

Principle of Utility or the Greatest Happiness Principle, says that the ultimate end, with reference to and for the sake of which all other things are desirable, whether we are considering our own good or that of other people, is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible from enjoyments, both in point of quantity and quality.

Actions like stealing and lying are viewed as wrong, I think it is because that when you lie or steal, it don’t bring happiness to us and to other people.

  1. How does Mill reply to the objection that Epicureanism is a doctrine worthy only of a swine?

Mill said that if the sources of pleasure of a human being and a swine are the same, the rule of life which is good enough for the one would be good enough for the other. The comparison of Epicurean life to that of the beasts is degrading because a beast’s definition of pleasure is not the same as of human’s conception of happiness.

  1. How does Mill distinguish between higher and lower pleasures?

Different people may place a different value on pleasures based on how they perceive and experience pleasure.

“A being of higher faculties requires more to make him happy, is capable probably of more acute suffering, and certainly accessible to it at more point than one of an inferior type.”

  1. According to Mill, whose happiness must be considered?

A utilitarian standard is not the agent’s own greatest happiness, but the greatest happiness altogether.

I think we should consider first the happiness of others, the greatest happiness, before we think about our own happiness.

  1. Carefully reconstruct Mill’s proof of the Principle of Utility.

According to Mill:

· Happiness is desirable, and the only thing desirable, as an end; all other things being only desirable as means to that end.

· An object is visible is that people actually see it, and so of the other sources of our experience.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is happiness nothing more than pleasure, and the absence of pain? What do you think?

No because I believe happiness is more than pleasure. Happiness can’t be measured by material things. Happiness is in accordance with virtue.

  1. Does Mill convinces you that the so-called higher pleasure are better than the lower ones? What about the person of expirience who prefers the lower preasure over the higher ones?

No. As what I’ve understand, higher pleasure for me may be lower pleasure for others. It depends on out outlook in happiness.

  1. Mill says, ” In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we can read the complete spirit of the ethics of utility.” Is this true or not?

FALSE

4. Many commentators have thought Mill’s proof of principle of utility is defective. Do you agree? If so, then what mistakes does he make? Is there any way to reformulate the proofs that it is not defective?

For me, Mill’s principle of utility is not defective.

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- James Rachels: The Debate over Utilitarianism

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn Hedonism

  • Three propositions of classical utilitarianism

  • Act utilitarianism

  • Rule Utilitarianism

Quote:

“Classical Utilitarianism, the theory defended by Bentham and Mill, can be summarized in three propositions:

1. Actions are judged right or wrong solely in virtue of their consequences. Nothing else matters. Right actions are, simply, those that have best consequences.

2. In assessing consequences, the only thing that matters is the amount of happiness or unhappiness that caused. Everything else is irrelevant.

3. In calculating happiness or unhappiness that will be caused, no one’s happiness is to be counted as more important than anyone else.”

Book Review:

In assessing consequences, the only thing that matters is the amount of happiness or unhappiness that caused. Everything else is irrelevant. Clearly, when we talk about utilitarianism, happiness is the most important thing. Classical Utilitarianism is all about happiness, calculating happiness, etc.

According to the Book, Hedonism is a perennially popular theory that goes back at least as far as ancient Greeks. Hedonism is the belief of a something that if it is good then it will be called, happiness but it misunderstands the meaning of happiness because happiness is not something that is recognized as good and sought for its means of bringing it about. Instead, happiness is a response as goods, independently and in their own right. Utilitarianism says that right actions produce the most good. But is happiness the only thing matters? We know that happiness is the ultimate good. According to utilitarianism, what is pleasurable for us is good and what bring us pain is evil. For example, friendship, we think that friendship is a good thing and so we make friends. Making and having friends makes us happy.

Rule Utilitarianism is actions conform in to the rules that will lead to greater good while an Act Utilitarianism states that the right action is one that will give happiness to a person. Rule utilitarianism focuses on the greatest number of happiness.

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is Rule Utilitarianism?
  2. What is Act Utilitarianism?
  3. What is Hedonism?
  4. Do hedonism misunderstands the meaning of happiness?
  5. Who defended the classical utilitarianism?

What I have learned:

I have learned about Hedonism. Hedonism is said to misunderstand the meaning of happiness. Maybe because when we talk about utilitarianism, all we hear is about happiness, for the greatest happiness, etc.

Review Questions

1. Rachels says that classical utilitarianism can be summed up in three propositions. What are they?

Classical Utilitarianism, the theory defended by Bentham and Mill, can be summarized in three propositions:

4. Actions are judged right or wrong solely in virtue of their consequences

5. In assessing consequences, the only thing that matters is the amount of happiness or unhappiness that caused.

6. In calculating happiness or unhappiness that will be caused , no one’s happiness is to be counted as more important than anyone else.

2. Explain the problem with hedonism. How do defenders of utilitarianism respond to this problem?

Hedonism is a perennially popular theory that goes back at least as far as ancient Greeks. Hedonism is the belief of a something that if it is good then it will be called, happiness but it misunderstands the meaning of happiness because happiness is not something that is recognized as good and sought for its means of bringing it about. Instead, happiness is a response as goods, independently and in their own right.

Defenders of utilitarianism suggest that in order to over ride Hedonism, we must utilize our resources and other good things in order for us to be happy.

3. What are the objections about justice, rights and promises?

The objection for justice is a fair judgment. The objection for rights is not valued especially to racisms on a community, promises are be likely to be broken in promising a fair judgment, and rights are valued.

4. Distinguish between rule- and act- utilitarianism. How does rule- utilitarianism reply to the objections?

Rule Utilitarianism, the new version of Utilitarianism modifies the original theory, Act utilitarianism, so that individual actions will no longer be judged by Principle of Utility. Instead, rules will be established by reference to the rules.

Rule Utilitarianism is actions conform in to the rules that will lead to greater good.

Act Utilitarianism states that the right action is one that will give happiness to a person.

5. What is the third line of defense?

Act-Utilitarianism

Discussion Questions

1. Smart’s defense of utilitarianism is to reject common moral beliefs when they conflict with utilitarianism. Is this acceptable to you or not? Explain your answer.

– No. As a human being, we have moral and common beliefs.

2. A utilitarian is supposed to give moral consideration to all concerned. Who must be considered? What about nonhuman animals? How about lakes and streams?

The one who lacks knowledge in morality should be considered first.

3. Rachels claims that merit should be given moral consideration independent of utility. Do you agree?

Yes.

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories– Immanuel Kant: Categorical Imperative

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn the categorical imperative
  • Good will
  • Good will and its result

Quote:

“Kant believes that our moral duty can be formulated in one supreme rule, the categorical imperative, from which all our duties can be derived, Although he says that there is just one rule, he gives different versions of it, and two of them seem to be distinct, He arrives at the supreme rule or rules by considering the nature of the good will and duty.”

“The end justifies the means.”

“I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law.”

Book Review:

Good will, for me, means the strength or the courage in doing the right things. It is your clean purpose in anything that you do. According to the reading, intelligence, wit and like any other talents are without a doubt good and desirable. But these can be also harmful and bad when the will is not good. For example, if you are rich, surely, wealth and fame is a desirable thing. If you use your money to harm other people, or if you use it for a bad purpose, the will is not considered good. In other words, you did not properly use the gifts given to you. The book also says that the Good will is not good because of what are the effects or accomplishments, but because of its fitness in attaining some proposed end, it is good through its willing alone. It means that the end justifies the mean. For me, we can understand this by this example: When a person works hard so that he buy a house, by working hard he harm no people, I think we can consider this as good will. The mean itself is considered good since he did not make any mistakes and did not harm others when he was still in the process.

According to wikipedia, Kant says that human beings occupy a special place in creation, and morality can be summed up in one ultimate commandment of reason, or imperative, from which all duties and obligations derive. He defined an imperative as any proposition that declares a certain action to be necessary. The categorical imperative or the reading focuses on the maxim or the universal law. For example, we don’t hurt others because we know that hurting others is bad. Our reason is a universal law. Universal law is a common law that we are all aware of.

Integrative Questions:

  1. Who discussed the concept of Categorical Imperative?
  2. What is categorical Imperative?
  3. What does the “end justifies the means” says?
  4. What is a universal law?
  5. What is a good will?

What I have learned:

I have learned about the Good will. All the things that we have, like wealth, wit, and the like, can give us happiness, but these things can be also extremely bad if our will is not good. The universal law is a law that we all know or common to us.

Review Questions:

  1. Explain Kant’s account of the good will.

“It is impossible to conceive anything at all in the world or even out if it, which can be taken as good without qualification, except goodwill.”

Our action speaks for itself. Even if we don’t fulfill our mission, what we control is the will behind our actions. The outcome or the result of our action is not the morality; rather the way we do it is how we can measure morality.

  1. Distinguish between hypothetical and categorical imperatives.

Hypothetical imperative requires a certain action is a given situation. A categorical imperative you should do what you must or need to do.

3. State the first formulation of the categorical imperative (using the notion of a universal law), and explain how Kant uses this rule to derive some specific duties toward self and others.

“Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

The universal law serves the will as its principle.

4. State the second version of the categorical imperative (using the language of means and end) and explain it.

“The end justifies the mean”

For me, this means that the result of what you do is defends or defines the mean on how you do an action.

Discussion Questions

1. Are the two versions of the categorical imperative just different expressions of one basic rule, or are they two different rules? Defend your view.

No, because it shares the same concept, the concept of good will.

2. Kant claims that an action that is not done from the motive of duty has no moral worth. Do you agree or not? If not, give some counterexample.

No. It is common for us to do things that are not are duty and I believe that we don’t consider these things immoral.

3. Some commentators think that the categorical imperative (particularly the first formulation) can be used to justify no moral or immoral actions. Is this a good criticism?

Yes.

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- Aristotle: Happiness and Virtue

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn Aristotle’s definition of happiness
  • Aristotelian Mean

Quote:

“Aristotle argues that all human beings seek happiness, and that happiness is not pleasure, honor, or wealth, but an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue. Virtue is of two kinds: moral and intellectual. Moral virtue comes from training and habit, and generally is a state of character that is a mean between vices of excess and deficiency. For example, Aristotle portrays the virtue of courage as a mean between the extremes of rashness, an excess, and cowardice, a deficiency. Intellectual virtue produces the most perfect happiness and is found un the activity od reason or contemplation.”

Book Review:

For Aristotle, happiness is an activity of the soul. Happiness is not measured because of wealth, fame but rather happiness is living your life with virtue. For most of us, happiness means living al life that is easy. By having money, and extravagant things, we can be happy. For Aristotle, the definition of happiness does not depend on material things. Happiness depends on self fulfillment and happiness in accordance with virtue. According to Aristotle, moral virtue comes from training and habit, and generally is a state of character that is mean between the vices of excess and deficiency. An example given in the reading is that the virtue of courage as a mean between the extremes of rashness, an excess, and cowardice, a deficiency.

I remember one topic that we discussed that covers the Aristotelian Mean. It was about Natalie Dylan, a girl who auctioned her virginity so that she can earn money for tuition. When you study her situation, Natalie Dylan values her education. She pays a lot of attention with her studies but due to lack of financial resources, she decided to sell her virginity online. The highest bidder will have her virginity. Her sister went to a prostitution house for about 3 weeks so that she could earn money for tuition also. I believe what they both did is for the sake of their education. But when you apply the Aristotelian Mean, when you think about the extreme, Natalie will get a lot of money but she will have to forsake her virginity. If she did not do it, she will not be able to continue her studies. When you consider the mean of the situation, she can continue her studies without giving up her virginity by finding a decent job in a coffee shop, fast food restaurants, etc.

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is happiness according to Aristotle?
  2. What is virtue?
  3. What are two kinds of virtue?
  4. Is having wealth and fortune defines happiness?
  5. What is Aristotelian Mean?

What I have learned:

Happiness is not all about material things. Happiness is all about self fulfillment for it is an activity of the soul. Happiness should be in accordance with virtue.

Review Questions

1. What is happiness, according to Aristotle? How is it related to virtue? How is it related to pleasure?

“All human being seeks happiness, and happiness is not pleasure, honor or wealth, but an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue.” According to Aristotle, happiness has a deeper meaning. It is not just having a luxurious life but rather it is about self fulfillment. Happiness comes with virtue. Virtue has two kinds: Moral and Intellectual. Moral virtue comes from training and habit while intellectual virtue is found in the activity of reason and contemplation. Intellectual virtue is said to be producing the most perfect happiness.

2. How does Aristotle explain moral virtue?

Moral virtue comes from training and habit, and generally is a state of character that is mean between the vices of excess and deficiency. An example given in the reading is that the virtue of courage as a mean between the extremes of rashness, an excess, and cowardice, a deficiency.

3. Is it possible for everyone in our society to be happy as Aristotle explains it? If not, who cannot be happy?

Yes, it is possible for everyone to be happy. It depends on how a person defines happiness. Some people believe that happiness is pleasure, wealth and honor, while others think that happiness is self subsistent.

Discussion Questions

1. Aristotle characterizes a life of pleasure as suitable for beasts. But what, if anything, is wrong with a life of pleasure?

Most men prefer a life suitable for the beast. The life of pleasure. For example, the life of money-making. Wealth is evidently not the good we’re seeking because it is useless and it is for the sake of something else.

2. Aristotle claims that the philosopher will be happier than anyone else. Why is this? Do you agree or not?

“Happy man lives well and does well”. According to Aristotle, philosophers already practically defined happiness as a sort of good life and good action.

I do not agree that philosophers will be happier than anyone else. For me, happiness depends on what you believe in. If happiness for you means having an extravagant life, well that’s your happiness. If you believe in other’s definition of happiness and it does not make you happy, so why should you bother contemplating. Why don’t you just live your life the way you want it to be and stick for what you believe in?

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- Joel Feinberg: The Nature and Value of Rights

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn the importance of rights

  • A world without rights

  • Personal Desert

Quote:

“Feinberg wants to demonstrate that rights are morally important. To do this, he imagines Nowheresville, a world like our own except that people do not have rights. As a result, people in this world cannot make moral claims when they are treated unjustly. They cannot demand or claim just treatment, and so they are deprived of self respect and human dignity.”

Book Review:

Joel Feinberg illustrates the world without a right in Nowheresville. He used Nowheresville to help us picture how to live a life without having any rights. We know that having right as a person is important. I remember, during my poligov class, as a human being, we have so many rights. We have right to form assembly, right to speech, etc. These rights are our own way in showing that we exist and we belong in this society. We need this so that we can be treated fair and just. If we imagine living a life without any rights, we may think that how can we survive? Surely, it will be difficult and even it can degrade us as a human being. For example, a man works 8 hours a day and receives a minimum wage. In Nowheresville, a man works 8 hours a day and receives nothing. A man can not demand for anything, he can’t demand for salary, since he has no rights. If his master asks him to work 15 hours a day, he can’t protest anything because in Nowheseville, there are no rights at all. In our society today, employees have a right over their employer. If the employer treats his people unjust, the employees have the right to protest.

Personal Desert means when a person deserves something good from us what is meant in parts is that there would be a certain proprietary in our giving that good thing to him in virtue of the kind of person he is. According to Feinberg, deserving something good is not the same as having a right to it. The doctrine of the logical correlativity of rights and duties says that all duties entail other people’s right and all rights entail other’s people duty. The first part, all duties entail other people’s right, Feinberg says that this doctrine is somewhat right and somewhat wrong. He said that duty, from the root word due, is like a task. For example, payment of bills due date, etc.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is a personal desert?

2. Is right important?

3. What are the disadvantages of a world without rights?

4. What is the doctrine of logical correlativity of rights and duties?

5. What is Nowheresville?

What I have learned:

I have learned about if our world is like Nowheresville, where there are no rights, we can’t make any claims and we will be treated unjustly.

Review Questions:

  1. Describe Nowheresville. How this world different from our world?

Nowheresville is a world like our own except that people do not have rights. This world is different from our world because we have rights, we can make moral claims and we are treated equally.

  1. Explain the doctrine of the logical correlativity of rights and duties. What is Feinberg’s position on this doctrine?

This is the doctrine that:

  • All duties entail other people’s rights
  • All rights entail other people’s duties

Feinberg says that the first part of the doctrine is alleged entailment from duties to rights. His answer is “In a sense yes and in a sense no.” He said that the word duty is associated with the word due which is like the payments to the debts to creditors.

  1. How does Feinberg explain the concept of personal desert? How would personal desert work in Nowheresville?

Personal Desert means when a person deserves something good from us what is meant in parts is that there would be a certain proprietary in our giving that good thing to him in virtue of the kind of person he is. According to Feinberg, deserving something good is not the same as having a right to it. If a personal desert is been applied in Nowheresville, I think it would work in some way. Since people have no rights there, when you do work for your master and your master does not pay or reward you, you have no rights in asking for reward or payment.

  1. Explain the notion of a sovereign right monopoly. How would this work in Nowheresville according to Feinberg?

The sovereign has a certain duty to treat his subjects well, but this duty was owed not to the subjects directly but to God, just as we might have duty to a person to treat his property well, but of course no duty to the property itself but only to the owner.

Introducing rights of a sort into Nowheresville, but they are not personal rights. The sovereign has a monopoly on all rights.”

  1. What are claim rights? Why does Feinberg think they are morally important?

Right is a kind of claim, and claim is an assertion of rights. I think it is morally important because all of us have a right enables us to stand up like men, to look others in the eye, and to feel some fundamental way the equal of anyone.

Discussion Question:

  1. Does Feinberg make a convincing case for the importance of rights? Why or why not?

Yes. When he introduced to us Nowheresville, he opens our eyes in a society where there are no rights. This makes us value our rights as a human.

  1. Can you give a non circular definition of claim rights?

No.

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- Ronald Dworkin: Taking Rights Seriously

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference:

http://webpub.allegheny.edu/employee/e/epalmer/webcoursematerials/RCDWeb/palmdwork.html

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn people’s right

Quote:

“On Dworkin’s view, if a people have a right to do something, then it is wrong to interfere with them. For example, if citizens have a right to free speech, then it is wrong for the government to interfere with them the exercise of this right, unless this is necessary to protect other rights. This notion of rights, Dworkin believes, rests on the Kantian idea of treating people with dignity as members of the moral community, and also the idea of political equality.”

Dworkin: “Does a man ever have the right to break a law… in the strong sense, so that the Government would do wrong to stop him, by arresting and prosecuting him?”

It is right for the government to stop you from yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre, and it might be argued that it is right to stop the Klan from burning a cross in a public space in front of someone’s house. Why? “The government may override that right when necessary to protect the rights of others.” (Dworkin, 409)

Book Review:

Dworkin says if a man has a right to do something, you should not stop him. For example, a man has a right to form an assembly; we should not interfere with him. It is his rights. But if the man obstructs other rights, then it is the time you can stop him. If he joined rally, and this rally violates the right of other people, you can prevent the man for exercising his right. I think what the quote above tries to explain is that as a human being, we all have rights. We all have the capability in exercising our rights. But we in doing so, we should not cause destruction to other rights and harm with other people.

The second quote says if a man break a law, the government will stop him. The means that the government will use to stop him may violate his right. If a man has been arrested, he can no longer exercise all his right. Do we have a duty to follow the rules that the government set upon us even though it overrun our rights? I think that it is our job, to follow what the government says. If the laws are for the common good, we must follow it. But if we think that these laws that the government imposed upon us can harm others and do no good, why should we follow? I believe that the government has the right over us. But we still have rights as a human. We should follow the rules set upon us because I think all of the rules that the government enforced are just rules to protect other’s rights.

Integrative Questions:

1. Is right important?

2. Do we need to follow the government?

3. Is it wrong to stop others when they’re exercising their rights?

4. Dworkin believes in what idea?

5. You can stop people who exercise their rights when..?

What I have learned:

As a human being, we all have rights. We can exercise our rights anytime but we need to consider that when exercising our rights we should not violate other rights.

Review Questions:

1. What does Dworkin mean by rights in the strong sense? What rights in this sense are protected by the USA Constitution?

“If a people have the right to do something, then it is wrong to interfere with them.”

For example, we have right to speech, right to form association, etc. We can exercise our human rights and the government won’t interfere with us except if we violate other rights.

The American provides a set of individual legal rights in the First Amendment, and due process, equal protection, and similar clauses.

2. Distinguish between legal and moral rights. Give some examples of legal rights that are not moral rights, and moral rights that are not legal rights.

Legal right is the right of a citizen protected by a constitution. Moral right is right of a person according to his morality and conscience. Not all legal rights, or even constitutional rights, represent moral rights against the government.

An example that I can give is abortion. In some countries like China, I think, abortion is legal, but morally speaking, abortion is wrong. Euthanasia or mercy killing is legally acceptable by the society but still immoral for others.

3. What are the two models of how a government might define the rights of its citizens? Which does Dworkin find more attractive?

  • The first model recommends striking a balance between rights of the individual and the demands of society
  • The second one is that the government inflates a right.

Dworkin finds the second model more attractive because the first one is false in a sense that the right is important but unfortunately not.

4. According to Dworkin, what two important ideas are behind the institution of rights?

Act of faith by the Majorities and Minorities

Discussion Questions

1. Does a person have the right to break the law? Why or why not?

It depends on a person on how he wants to exercise his rights.

2. Are rights in the strong sense compatible with Mill’s utilitarianism?

Yes.

3. Do you think that Kant would accept rights in the strong sense or not?

No.

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- John Rawls: A Theory of Justice

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: N/A

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn the theory of justice

  • Principles of Justice

Quote:

“Rawls’s theory states that there are two principles of justice: The first principle involves equal basic liberties, and the second principle concerns the arrangement of social and economic inequalities. According to Rawls’s theory, these are the principles that free and rational persons would accept in a hypothetical original position where there is a veil of ignorance hiding from the contractors all the particular facts about themselves. ”

“Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.”

“Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both:

· Reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage

· Attached to positions and offices open to all.”

Book Review:

According to the book, no one in the society know his place and does not know his fortune in the distribution of the natural assets, abilities, etc. I think it says that all of us have no idea who we really are, what is our status or position in the world we live in. Because of this, no one has the advantage over the other. When we think that most of us are unaware on whom we really are, then no one can lead us and force us to do something.

The first principle of justice: Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others. It means that whatever we are experiencing must be experience with others. When we are indulging ourselves because of freedom, other people must also indulge themselves. We are all equal. We have equal right in the most basic and the most crucial controversies. The second principle state that the distribution of wealth should be of everyone’s advantage, wealth in a sense of natural wealth, I think.

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is the first principle of Justice?
  2. What is the second principle of justice?
  3. Who stated the theory of Justice?
  4. Do we all know our class or status in the society?
  5. The principles of justice are chosen behind what?

What I have learned:

I have learned about the principle of justice. All of us are equal, we should be treated equally. What I have must be what others have.

Review Questions:

  1. Carefully explain Rawl’s conception of the original position.

No one knows his position in the society. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. This ensures that no one is advantage or disadvantage in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural chance of social circumstances.

  1. State and Explain Rawl’s first principle of Justice.

“Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.”

  1. State and Explain the second principle. Which principle has priority such that it cannot be sacrificed?

Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both:

· Reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage

· Attached to positions and offices open to all.

The first and second principle should be arranged in order. “This ordering means that a departure from the institutions of equal liberty required by the first principle can not be justified by greater and economic advantage.”

Discussion Questions:

1. On the first principle, each person has an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty as long as this does not interfere with a similar liberty for others. What does this allow people to do? Does it mean, for example, that people have right to engage in homosexual activities as long as they don’t interfere with others? Can people produce and view pornography if it does not restrict anyone’s freedom? Are people allowed to take drugs in the privacy of their homes?

In a way I think, we can exercise the equality of our right. By having an equal right does not mean that we should take advantage. We should also watch our actions.

2. Is it possible for free and rational persons in the original position to agree upon different principles than give by Rawls? For example, why wouldn’t they agree to an equal distribution of wealth and income rather than an unequal distribution? That is, why wouldn’t they adopt socialism rather than capitalism? Isn’t socialism just as rational as capitalism?

Yes.

Otsuka Hikaru

ITETHIC

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Book Review: Chapter 1- Ethical Theories- Annette Baier: The Need for more than Justice

Library Reference: N/A

Internet Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Care_perspective

Learning Expectation:

  • I expect to learn justice perspective

  • Care perspective

  • Kohlberg’s theory

Quote:

“Gilligan wants still wants to claim that women are most unlikely to take only the justice perspective, as some men are claimed to, at least until some mid-life crisis jolts them into “bifocal” moral vision. Gilligan in her book did not offer any explanatory theory of why there should be any difference between female and male moral outlook, but she did tend link naturalness to women of the care perspective with their role as the primary caretakers of young children, that is with their parental and specifically maternal role.”

Book Review:

Most men claimed to be of care perspective. For me, men should be classified as justice perspective. Care perspective, as the quote stated above, for woman, suits a woman. It comes with naturalness, a woman is the one who take care of an infant, raise a child, and discipline a person. There are things with this naturalness that only woman can do. Gilligan’s position is said to be contrasting Kohlberg’s idea.

There are questions are raised in the book. These are: Is justice blind to important social values, or at least one eyed? What is it that comes into view from care perspective that is not seen in justice perspective? I believe that we used to look at justice as blind or one eyed since as a female, we think that justice is always at men’s side. In differentiating justice and care perspective, care perspective according to wikipedia focuses on people in terms of their connectedness with others. I think this is why Gilligan says that women, more than men, are of care perspective. Since connectedness is concern, naturalness comes hand in hand. For me, woman is more understanding or open minded in any relationship.

Kohlberg’s theory was grouped into three levels: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. According to the book, Kohlberg’s version of moral maturity aspect for person and for their rights as equals did not shared by many men, and the women most likely to speak with different voice. I think it is because how men’s outlook or perspective is different from woman.

Integrative Questions:

  1. What is a care perspective?
  2. Who claims that woman is more on care perspective?
  3. How many levels does Kohlberg’s theory have?
  4. What is justice perspective?
  5. Are justice considered as blind and one eyed?

What I have learned:


According to Gilligan, women should claim themselves as of care perspective. Care perspective comes with naturalness, which means since women are the ultimate caretakers, women should be also of care perspective.

Review Questions:

  1. Distinguish between the justice and care perspective. According to Gilligan, how do these perspectives develop?

In the book, Gilligan claims that woman are most unlikely to take only justice perspective, since the care perspective is a women’s natural role as the primary caretakers of young children.

  1. Explain Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. What criticisms do Gilligan and Baier make of this theory?

  • Pre-conventional level – where what is seen to matter is pleasing or not
  • Conventional – a child tries to fit in a group like school, etc
  • Post-conventional

Kohlberg’s version of moral maturity did not seem shared by many young men.

  1. Baier says there are three important differences between Kantian liberals and their critics. What are these differences?

Differences between Kantian liberals and their critics:

· The relative weight put on relationships between equal

· The relative weight put on freedom of choice

· The authority of intellect over emotions

  1. Why does Baier attack the Kantian view that the reason should control unruly passions?

Because she said that we should never forget the facts of history.

Discussion Questions:

1. What does Baier mean when she speaks of the need “to transvalue the values of our patriarchal past”? Do new values replace the old ones? If so, then do we abandon the old values of justice, freedom, and right?

To transvalue means improving our values. I think new values does not replace the old ones, the new values are just the improved versions.

2. What is wrong with the Kantian view that extends equal rights to all rational beings, including women and minorities? What would Baier say? What do you think?

There is nothing wrong with the Kantian’s view.

3. Baier seems to reject the Kantian emphasis on freedom of choice. Granted, we do not choose our parent, but still don’t we have freedom of choice about many things, and isn’t this very important?

Freedom of choice for me is a privilege.

 

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