Morality of people or actions

Posted in Uncategorized on December 10, 2008 by believemeimlying

I thought about this for a while and I had a tough time coming up with a clear way to state this so if it seems unclear or just flat out doesn’t make sense I’m sorry but this is the best way I figured out how to put this. I strongly agree with Aristotle and Nietzsche that morality is a quality of people and not actions. If we say an action is moral or immoral it really doesn’t make sense since we need an individual to commit that action. If people didn’t exist, actions could not exist. Therefore, people must be what is judged as moral or immoral. I would like to add however, that I believe that actions are a part of morality, I feel that an individuals actions are a component of his or her morality, but this is consistent with saying that the person as a whole is moral or immoral and not each individual action.

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Aristotle on Murder

Posted in Uncategorized on December 7, 2008 by believemeimlying

I’m really not sure how Aristotle would view murder since in his view actions do not have moral worth. I feel that if we had to view murder as moral or immoral it would have to depend on the person committing the act. Aristotle looks at vices and virtues or excess and defect however I do not believe in the case of murder you can apply these values to the action. One could make the possible argument that an individual’s moral worth comes from a good balance of virtues, and therefore one who commits a murderous act would have various qualities that we may consider to be vices. For example this person may be reckless, insecure, and intolerant and thus this person would not be considered moral.

Social Contract

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2008 by believemeimlying

The social contract is first thought of to be between the various members of a society. That is to say that each member gives up some rights to ensure the safety of the whole. Aside from this social contract where the government oversees the contract between the people in the society there is a social contract between the people and the government. I feel the contract is enforced by each party in their own self interest. First the members of society act in accord with the laws and guidelines set by the government so their rights are not further taken away, and the government acts in a way which the citizens will not revolt against and overthrow the government. I feel in this case they both act as the overseeing power since society can operate on an individual level and a collective level.

Hobbes – Government and Morality

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 by believemeimlying

I feel that the government is not held to the same moral standards the individuals of society are held to. We as members of society give up certain rights such as the right to other person’s bodies, and others belongings, however we give that right to the government and never consider the act to be immoral. For example, in the United States, if there is a situation where the government feels it is necessary to take your property it is completely legal and legitimate under imminent domain. We do not consider this to be an immoral act because we can not judge the government as a whole, equal to that of an individual in society. Most of the actions that the government takes would be considered immoral if they were done by an individual. Such as fines, in this case the government is forcing you to give up money and even in some cases taking away further rights which all men are “given.” Even though the government is not held to the same moral judgments as the individuals in that society, they are held to moral standards in the sense which Hobbes describes morality, which is doing what you said you are going to do.

The State of War

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2008 by believemeimlying

The natural state or the state of war that Hobbes discusses is an extreme scenario where everyone is constantly in competition with everyone else. It truly does appear to be a fair judgment of how things may be if humans did not function in a way which supports civilization. By this I mean that humans function in a rational way. We are able to look at a situation and decide what action to take while considering what may happen as a result of that action. We are able to think and not simply react to a stimulus. This is why I feel that humans do not live in this state of war or nature but a state of civilization.
I feel that saying the state of war is the worst possible situation we could face is on the extreme end however it may very well be that bad. I have yet to be able to think of a situation which even comes close to that which Hobbes describes. The only thing that makes me doubt the severity of this situation is from observations of this natural state which all other organisms live in around us. It just doesn’t appear to be as bad as Hobbes says it is.

Mill v. Kant

Posted in Uncategorized on November 13, 2008 by believemeimlying

Its quite clear that both John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant have flaws in their ideas on morality. In my personal opinion I feel that the flaws in Kant’s method of determining morality are much more detrimental to his overall idea. In Kant’s method, he strictly disregards consequences however he bases many of his views on rationality and self interest. I feel that a rational person acting in their own self interest must be thinking of possible consequences, for if he was not thinking of possible outcomes it would be safe to say that he is not acting rationally nor would he know whether he is in fact acting in his own self interest since he has no idea of the possible consequences of his action. I feel this flaw completely tears down the foundation of Kant’s argument. Looking at Mill we see individual flaws under certain circumstances however they are not as detrimental to the overall idea. The example of charity being used for bad things seems like a consequence out of your sole control. This is not a flaw in Mill’s concept but a flaw in the application of his ideas which is why I would choose Mill’s theory over Kant’s.

Rationality

Posted in Uncategorized on November 9, 2008 by believemeimlying

Kant uses rationality in many ways to demonstrate that it is an essential piece of an individual which allows us to determine our duties. Kant first takes a general guideline or a maxim and try to universalize it. This means to apply the maxim to everyone and ask that every individual follow it. This is where we use our rationality. When analyzing this universalized maxim we must determine if this will create a contradiction. A contradiction is created when following the maxim may eventually lead to a situation where the maxim no longer does its job. For example, If you want to do well in school you should cheat on your tests. If everyone did in fact cheat on their tests, teachers would eventually find a new method of evaluating students where they were unable to cheat. In this case cheating on your tests would no longer lead you to do well in school since tests are no longer given. This is what Kant means by a contradiction. We must use our rationality to create these situations and determine if in fact our maxim can be successfully universalized.