Mill’s the best!

At first, I have to admit, I didn’t understand what the heck he was talking about until we went over it like a hundred times in class. But after going into it as much as we did i came to appreciate his thoughts. Mill simply asked people to think of the effects of their actitons and how those effects can effect others. I don’t think this is too much to ask of such intelligent and rational beings. It takes but a minute to think of consequences when you have so many other people’s mistakes to look at also. In fact I think it is selfish not to think of how your action may effect another person. Only thinking of how your acions effect you and your motive is selfish and even Aristotle would say that’s wrong! I may not speak a lot in class, but I did learn a lot and it was very interesting to learn about these theories and put them into real life issues. I’d never heard of any of these philosophers, besides Aristotle, before this class. So, thanks Boone!



Aristotle would say that murder is wrong because of the person commiting it. The crime has no value, but the character of the person is what’s weighted.  So if a good person commits a crime such as this would it still be an immoral act? Aristotle might still say it is, but I dont completely agree. If murder becomes the mean in a self defense situation is it really wrong?

Moral passings for Euthansia?

I read “Active and Passive Euthanasia” by James Rachels. In writing this essay, Rachels discusses the controversy of euthanasia. There are instances of passive euthanasia, in which a patient is allowed to die by withholding of medical treatment or food and there are instances of active euthanasia, in which a patient is given enough medicine to not only put them out of pain, but to kill them. Until reading this essay, I didn’t know that there were two types of euthanasia. I thought that “mercy killing” was only categorized as what Rachels calls active euthanasia. I really don’t see how the first instance of euthanasia (passive) is mercy killing at all. Rachels goes into this in his paper. The moral question is whether either instance is more moral than the other. Is killing someone morally worse than letting them die? Rachels argues in his thesis that “killing is not in itself any worse than letting die; if my contention is right, it follows that active euthanasia is not any worse than passive euthanasia.” A person’s moral instincts may tell them that killing is worse than letting someone die, but when Rachels gives the example of Jones and Smith our morals tell us otherwise. In both cases, the person holding the power, Jones or Smith stands to inherent money in the case of a death to his cousin. Both, James and Smith, have the intention of killing the child. Smith takes the action of murdering the child and Jones, with the same intention finds the child already drowning and does nothing to save his life. In this example it is easy to say that Jones is just as bad if not worse than Smith for not saving an already helpless child. Rachels dismisses Jones’ defense that he ‘didn’t do anything except just stand there and watch the child die’ as a “grotesque perversion of moral reasoning.” The American Medical Association also goes against Rachels theory that neither passive or active euthanasia is better than the other. They say that it is “permissible, at least in some cases, to let a patient die, but it is never permissible to take any direct action designed to kill a patient.” The AMA says here that passive euthanasia is more acceptable than active. In which case one is right and the other is wrong. In Rachels argument against this doctrine, he argues a situation in which a patient is dying of some type of throat cancer. In this case the patient will die in the same amount of time with or without the treatment. The patient does not want to live anymore and asks the doctor to end his life. Rachels notes that in this case if the doctrine is followed that the patient will take longer to die and this will result in a more agonizing death. He argues that in this case active euthanasia would be more preferable. As we all know a person in pain does not think rationally and if in enough pain may always say “I want to die,” but if we say that suicide is wrong how can we say that any type of euthanasia is right? I don’t think that Rachels’ argument is this case is persuasive at all. Rachels says, “ to endorse the option that leads to more suffering rather than to less…is contrary to the humanitarian impulse that prompt the decision not to prolong his life in the first place.” But isn’t also contrary to the a doctor’s natural inclination to save a life? Isn’t that what the doctor is there for, to save life and not take it? If not wouldn’t the patient have stayed home and died alone or taken another way out on his/her own? A person knows that suicide is wrong so he asks the doctor to do it for him. Rachels is more persuadable in the earlier example of Jones and Smith, but the example doesn’t pertain to the AMA because it has nothing to do with a doctor and patient relationship and it also adds the incentive (money) to kill. Over all, pain is a part of life. If we let people began to think that they should be able to determine who lives and dies, what are we really opening ourselves up to? New treatments and cures are being brought up all the time. How would it make a “humanitarian” doctor feel if he euthanized a patient and the cure was available the next day or week? Doctors should not play God to who lives and dies. Their job is perfect their trade in saving lives, not delete the ones that are too agonizing for them to watch.

All parties must honor the social contract!

I think that we can say that the sovereign has made an agreement to give up some rights because whoever the sovereign is gives up the right to act in his/her own self interest. They have to act in the best interest of the whole unit they are incharge of. They are not able to slip up and only take into account their own needs or wants or use their power to do so. It would be immoral for them to use their powers for unjust acts that go against the well-being of the people they are sovereign to. A child, even though they are not able to make a decision in whether they want to or not is automatically apart of the contract when born and as he/she grows up they learn how to honor the contract. There is no way for anyone person to opt out of the contract at any point because their will always be another sovereign anywhere they go. This social contract, in Kant’s view, is the only way to keep us from a state of nature and with that said every rational being will honor this in every state, country, town or village.

Rational seelf-interest?

It may seem rational for a person to have their self-interest at heart, but to what extent? In the fourth example Kant gives us the scenario of a person only taking into account his own issues and not giving assitance to anyone in need. Sure it may seem good to him that he doesnt have to exhaust any energy helping others or even caring to do so, if this were a universal maxim and this same person had a problem no one would give a helping hand. In this case yielding to your own personal interest all the time would in turn negatively effect your personal interest.


If we as a people dont have a right to judge the governments morality then why would we go into a social contract with them giving them our rights? We should be able to judge them on how they use our rights. If we just gave the govt our rights without this trust then wouldnt it be even worse than the state of nature? We wouldnt be able to trust each other nor the govt we gave our rights to. We as a people dont give up all of our rights if have the right to overthrow the govt so in some aspect we are judging if they do right by us because if not we can give them the boot.

State of Nature=State of War?

I don’t totallly agree with Hobbes’ state of nature. I don’t believe that this natural state of  would lead to such constant war. It it were to be tru it would have happened already. “The passions that incline men to peace, are fear of death…” (Rachels 141) For this reason man wouldn’t find it feasible to fight, man against man, all the time for say one piece of food. As a natural response to pursuing one’s own interest Men would form small tribes to defend their food and land as done in ancient times. I agree with Hobbes in the fact that without religion and government to fear people may never become civilized, but with government and religion there are millions of people who still aren’t civilized. There are men right here in America who still kill for what they want, but won’t work for.

Mill vs Kant…Mill

I agree with Mill’s methods of judging morality way more than Kant’s. Kant doesnt seem to understand that different obstacles call for different solutions. Its not reasonable to say that lying to a murder at the door who wants to kill your grandmother is immoral. Mill’s theory, though some may not agree with it is more realistic and In my opinion easier to follow. Do whatever increases overall happiness. As rational human beings we should be able to think far enough to see what the actions are that increase happiness.

A world of cheaters?? O no…

“Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law (Rachels 131). It is obvious, with this statement, that if everyone were to cheat on their tests the world would be in disarray. We would never be able to tell anyone’s true potential and what they have learned through their course of study. How would we be able to tell if the doctor who operates on you really knows what hes doing or if the accountant has any knowledge of how to adress your finances. What if your teacher wasnt qualified to even teach you? Without tests how would anyone be able to access your ability to carry out such important jobs? Cheating cannot be adopted as universal standard because it would lead to a world with no trust or potential for advancement.

Value of Happiness….

I believe that happiness has value for those who seek it and those who retain it. I dont believe that happiness has intrinsic value. Happiness will always be dependant on other factors like how it is achieved. People retain happiness from their physical condition, as a consequence to an action or even by speculation to an event, but happiness is never acheived out of thin air. Even if you wake up happy and don’t know why there is always a reason for it. It could be that you feel blessed to have woken up; it could be because of the glorious dream you had the night before; it could be from the great night you had previously; it could be because your in good health, but it will always be because of another underlying reason. If happiness had intrinsic value it wouldn’t be so hard for everyone to experience and because it is so hard for everyone to experience we have to know that there is a reason behind every happy moment.

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