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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:48 pm 
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We learned about situation ethics today in our morality class. It was taught that situational ethics is an attempt to justify a decision based on the most pleasing of scenarios. It was taught that nothing is wrong with situational ethics in and of itself:

So, the two scenarios I have tonight are: stay at home and watch the last episode of Conan O'Brien before he leaves the Late Show. Or, I can go to my high school's basketball game. After contrasting, the more pleasing of options is to stay at home and watch Conan.

What's a little more murky is using situational ethics to justify a decision which is considered morally wrong. "Morally wrong" being, not treating the human being as priceless or disrupting the harmonious cycle of nature (what something is inclined to do) or impeding upon the most basic fundamental rights of a human being.

So, Michael Schiavo said to himself: You know, I am spending all this money for Terri to be on life support. I met a new woman with whom I want to make a future, and I could get a huge settlement from Terri's death; just pull the plug and rid me of this burden. Or, I could keep the feeding tube in and let her live, and treat her human being as priceless, etc. etc. The more pleasing option is getting money, marrying a new woman and just putting Terri down.

It was taught that that was not morally right, though, because of the reason stated above. It was taught that if Terri's unplugging was considered justified because she was a burden, then I could kill any jerk I see on the street because they're a jerk and that is the more pleasing option to me.

I, personally, do agree (of course, I haven't really heard a counter-example) and it seems very logical to me. In fact, that's what our morality class is all about.... Our teacher hasn't mentioned God once. It's about being able to prove something is wrong based on logic, and not the Bible or anything like that. On our test, we had to write our essays as if we're trying to explain something to an atheist -- I've had lots of practice with that. ;)

Anyway, I'm REALLY digressing.... Here is my point.

Part of the lecture today was explanation of basic fundamental rights, and the teacher asked for a couple examples. He said, "Why don't you try the Declaration of Independence on for size?"

I raised my hand and said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

I don't believe that these rights were given - not by God, my parents, or government; I believe that, simply, they're just there. They exist, and I believe that would have existed whether or not this line was conceived by Thomas Jefferson. Because that's what a human is inclined to do. All of the things a person does to survive; a person's inclination to be free; and, really - everyone wants to be happy. These are just basic human goods that a person is inclined toward.

Unfortunately, I can't think of my question anymore. But I'm posting this anyway - maybe I'll think of the question later. Besides, I didn't type all of this for my health.

Sorry, if I wasted your time.
Comment or question. Something. Something worthwhile.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:37 pm 
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Thank you, Tommy, what you have written is really interesting and raises many questions and conments but, there's a lot to think about and it will take me a while to sort out my thoughts!

Here's one thought to be going on with:

If Michael Schiavo had not had any other woman lined up, if he was not responsible for paying for the life support, so there was no financial gain, if he was distraught at the prospect of seeing his beloved wife living as a vegetable and knew for certain that she would have hated it, then does his action still seem "morally wrong"?

Rather than Terri being a "burden", that life under these circumstances was her "burden" ?

And how can you be sure that despite the other woman and despite the money, that he still did not act on the last premise?

Please can you disregard in this instance religious teachings re euthanasia, and just look at it from your situational ethics viewpoint?

GT

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:06 pm 
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Tommy GS wrote:
Part of the lecture today was explanation of basic fundamental rights, and the teacher asked for a couple examples. He said, "Why don't you try the Declaration of Independence on for size?"

I raised my hand and said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

.


Can you explain to someone who does not accept the thoughts of "their Creator" why man, simply as part of the natural order of animals, should have any rights to Life, Liberty or the Pursuit of Happiness when the rest of the animal kingdom is frequently denied all of them?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:34 am 
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Even though you do not ask us a question, I think I will have to contest a part of your post.

Namely:

Quote:
I raised my hand and said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

I don't believe that these rights were given - not by God, my parents, or government; I believe that, simply, they're just there. They exist, and I believe that would have existed whether or not this line was conceived by Thomas Jefferson. Because that's what a human is inclined to do. All of the things a person does to survive; a person's inclination to be free; and, really - everyone wants to be happy. These are just basic human goods that a person is inclined toward.


I tend to disagree. As an atheist (or at best, agnostic), I have to say that there is no solid foundation in and of itself for these rights.
They're fiction. A part of the social contract which was made when the States were established, and due to its popular wording, has been implemented in the constitutions of most countries around the world.

That is not to say that I don't think that these rights SHOULD be inalienable, it's just that I call bullshit on the whole "natural law" or lex naturalis on which they're based. There is no such thing. It is used to fill in the gap left by secularization which of course, threatened to undermine the social order due to there no longer being a divine authority that provides the state with legitimacy of rule.

Once you depend solely on the people to make your rule legitimate and can no longer call upon divine authority, you are forced to delude them with a new kind of fiction. Rights. The pursuit of bloody happiness.

No real political power, but hey... you can't have it all, can you?

che

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Re vera, cara mea, mea nil refert.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:29 pm 
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Sorry, my internet at home is not working.
I have stopped at the library for a few minutes to pick up a book and can't respond. I guess that gives me more time to ponder your responses. ;)

Talk to you when I can.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:01 am 
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I keep forgetting to respond. Now it's 2:40 am and the end of the 3rd qtr for school tomorrow. Which means all my missing homework is due (and I have A LOT.) And I haven't done any of it. At all.

What a better time! I'll try and go in order:

Gumtree, if you all you said was true, then why can't I kill my English teacher? She burdens me with a research paper and I burden her by being a class clown (thanks, Carlin.) Why can't she kill me because I annoy her? As a matter of fact, let's just kill anyone who is under stress. Can that justify the taking of a life? The more pleasing of options? I'm going to decide if her burden is too heavy?

Hi, again Gumtree :). Let's consider significant differences between a human and a bird. The biggest is being able to rationalize. When a bird gets cold, does it build a fire? Nope, it flies south. When a human gets cold, though, it can stay (or go) based on choice. People are suffering through winter EVERYWHERE and they don't instinctively flock to Florida where it's toasty. Also, there are many things that Darwin's theory does NOT take into account - such as the way humans are creative. We have sports, music, enhanced leisure, computers, designs, etc. etc. Granted, a spider's web is quite creative, but the spider doesn't sit and say, "Oh, that looks good." It just does what it does. Furthermore, it has been man's nature in all of history to have dominance over plants and animals. The settlers killed buffalo, picked berries and nuts, etc. So obviously there is a certain amount of dominion that humans have, through nature.

Che, do you believe you were born un-free?


Whew, I answered everything to my understanding as best I could! Pitch in! Cheerio....


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:16 am 
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Hi Tommy thanks for your answers - now - Do your homework :mrgreen:

Just kidding!

I will definitely respond, but I know I'm going to be flat out for a week or two , so it won't be instant.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:23 am 
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Quote:
Hi Tommy thanks for your answers - now - Do your homework :mrgreen:
I'm SOOOOO glad you ended it with a smiley. I REALLY do have to go anyway. Three am to seven-thirty am and through the entire school day - a LONG history of a prime homework-doing hours. It REALLY sucks have no motivation and feeling like I have to live up to something. But what the hell....


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:35 pm 
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we will learn all with time...


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:22 am 
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Quote:
Che, do you believe you were born un-free?


Do you believe you were born free?

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