Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Philosophy is like…

 

Philosophy was the epitome of a confusing class. Although I didn’t participate in discussions and speak up about my personal opinions, our class was really diverse in terms of perspective. It was interesting listening to the debates and people becoming genuinely passionate about what they were talking about. We are all in the same class, the same age, and going to the same school, yet we are completely different with what we’re thinking about.


 

To put philosophy to comparison, I think that philosophy is like a tree. Trees need seeds in order to grow, without a seed there’s no tree. We need core ideas and morals in order to grow, without an opinion there’s no mindset. Due to experience and emotion, we are shaped into the person we are today. The experience is like the water and sunshine the tree needs in order to develop and become the form they are today. It’s become pretty clear that there’s no right or wrong in philosophy. You decide whether or not you think a certain argument is valid, whether you believe in what a philosopher is talking about, and most importantly just to stand your ground in where your mind’s at. I think my mind has expanded a lot more thanks to this class, writing the blogposts has put me into a completely different mood where I continue to type out what my brain is spilling out. With the creativity and flexibility of this class, I was able to be taken off into a world where I would’ve never gone with any other class.

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Overtime, we are influenced and inspired. Our thoughts and perspectives changes along with our surroundings. Although, sometimes it is scary how the world around us seems to be moving so quickly and we’re not adjusting fast enough to it. That’s kinda like what senior year feels like. Trees that have grown in warm climates will differ from the ones that grew in cold, harsh environments. Environment plays a huge part in how we evolve and develop. We all have a different past and history, some have gone through more than others, some more wise than others. As we go through situations, we “branch” off into new outlooks and opinions, in all sorts of directions. Life isn’t one straight path, there’s always going to be dead ends and unexpected turns. Our brains already look like the roots of trees; realizations, happenings, experience, education, and memories. All of the roots absorbing of new concepts on the inside. With the expansion of our consciousness and fundamental understanding, we are able to embody realizations and new morals.

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Organ Donation Ethics – EmmaJ

 

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My personal ethics can be simply summed up as 1) Treat others how you want to be treated and 2) happiness must be pursued with an awareness of the people around you. As Eleanor Roosevelt says, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” In the study of Ethics, like all areas of philosophy, there is never a definitive answer and different people will have different opinions on what is right and wrong based on their own unique experiences. I believe that as long as you have good intentions and you can make peace with your decision, it can be considered the “right decision”. Every moral dilemma is unique and there are more variables than could ever be properly represented in an ethical calculus equation, I don’t there is or ever will be the perfect formula.

In terms of the essays we have studied in class, I agree most strongly with John Rawls’ Theory of Justice because I feel it is closest to my personal morals. When the Veil of Ignorance comes into play it forces people to have compassion for all areas of humanity and develop rules for a society where all are given basic liberties and equal rights. I also appreciate the idea that some inequalities must exist so long as they are beneficial to everyone, especially the disadvantaged. I believe that slight inequalities, so long as they are not excessively harmful, help move society forward and motivate people to work to improve themselves and increase their own success and happiness. Additionally, the happiness gained from helping empower those who are less fortunate is a higher level happiness than can ever be purchased.

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In theory Utilitarianism seems like a good idea, especially when carried out by self-aware thinkers full of integrity, however these conditions aren’t common in the real-world. Pursuing one’s own pleasure and avoiding pain are the perfect conditions for creating a crude, narcissistic and stagnant society. I believe it is far too easy for utilitarianism to be abused and used to justify unethical actions. From genocides to nuclear bombs, some of the most horrible things in history have been done for “the greater good”. While “majority rules” may be good for deciding what type of pizza to order, it is too simple to make decisions pertaining to human lives.

I align with Kant’s ideas regarding Good Will and that the right things must be done for the right reasons. If you have good and noble intentions it is easy to live with your decisions regardless of the outcomes they may create. I also agree that people, or more specifically rational beings, should not be used as a means to an end and that everyone has value. However, this point becomes murky when it comes to the topic of my ethical inquiry: deceased organ donation.

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Deceased organ donors are people who have either been in accidents that render them brain dead or who have suffered a cardiac death. Deceased organ donors can be any age and a single donor can save up to 8 lives and benefit up to 75 people. At first deceased organ donation in Canada may not seem like a very serious ethical dilemma, people are free to consult their personal morals and register to become an organ donor if they so choose. However, this system is not working and many people believe it needs to be changed. While organ donors save many lives every year, the majority of people waiting for an organ transplant don’t receive one because they die first. This is due to the fact that hundreds of healthy, useable, and in demand organs are buried and cremated every day. Deceased organ donation also raises many tough questions like “what does it mean to be dead?” or “what does it mean to be alive?” and “is there an afterlife?”

A large misconception about deceased organ donation is that it is condemned by most religions but this is not the case. Major world religions including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism all support organ donation or encourage their followers to act on their own conscience. In many cases these religions refer to organ donation as an honourable act of charity and love.

When it comes down to it there is really only one big problem: no one wants to think about dying. According to the Canadian Transport Society, 90% of Canadians say they support organ donation but less than 20% have made plans to donate. People tend to avoid conversations regarding organ donation with their loved ones and put off making plans until it is too late. This issue is only exaggerated by Canada’s current Opt-In System for organ donation.

There are currently two types of models in place for organ donation globally: Opt-In, where citizens are required to sign up on registry to express their wishes to become a donor and the more controversial Opt-Out system. In an Opt-In or Presumed Consent system all citizens are assumed to be organ donors unless they sign up on a registry to express their wishes to not donate their organs. While presumed consent may seem extreme, it has successfully increased the organ donation pool in countries including Spain, Greece, Finland, and most recently France. On January 1st, 2017 the presumed consent law came into effect in France and since then Canadian politicians have begun to express their interest in implementing similar laws. This idea is especially popular in Saskatchewan where less than 1% of eligible people are registered organ donors.

Taking organ donation systems a step further, some people believe that consent is not necessary for organ donation and that people should have a duty to donate organs for the good of the society. Some ethicists even go as far to say that it is immoral for a person to decline consent for donation of their organs. These ideas support the Conscription Model, simply put the state owns your body and anyone who can donate must.

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Utilitarianism

In a utilitarian society I believe the most likely system for organ donation would be an opt-out system. The happiness resulting from people gaining extra years of life would likely override any unhappiness regarding presumed consent. Additionally, the ability to register to abstain from donation would at least appease those against organ donation and provide them with a personal sense of happiness. However, in a utilitarian society I believe there is a serious risk for abuse happiness for the majority that could lead to inhumane methods for obtaining organs more extreme than organ conscription. For example, supporting the needs of “the greater good” could lead to the justification of the sacrifice of a living person in order to save the lives of 8 sick people. When laws only exist to uphold the happiness of society the rights of individuals are not protected.

Categorical Imperative

A main point of Kant’s Categorical Imperative is “Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end…” This may seem to be in conflict with organ donation as it can be interpreted as literally using someone as a tool to survive. However, under an opt-in system and even an opt-out system where people can easily abstain, I believe Kant would support organ donation. Organ donation is done with a good will, it is meant to save the lives of others and therefore it is good. Furthermore, once an individual is in a braindead or has suffered a cardiac death they are no longer able to really Be or exist as a rational being.

 

A Theory of Justice

I believe that behind the veil of ignorance everyone would recognize the demand for organs and agree to put policies in place to increase donation, knowing full well that they may be the person in need or the person donating. I believe that the most likely system put into place would be the opt-out system because it would provide a larger donor pool and increase the chances of sick people receiving an organ in a timely fashion. I also believe that there would be a focus on government regulation of organ donation in order to ensure the distribution of organs is as fair as possible. In a Rawlsian society illegal organ harvesting and trade wouldn’t occur since it is the powerful preying on the vulnerable.

I believe that every theory of ethics or moral system would support organ donation in one way or another. Can’t it be assumed that for an otherwise terminally ill person a new lease on life would be the ultimate happiness for not only them but their loved ones as well? For this reason I support organ donation and the implementation of a Presumed Consent Law. I also encourage you to look into becoming an organ donor and have the uncomfortable but necessary conversations with your loved ones.

 

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The Aesthetic Experience™ is when you can sing every single part to Rose Gold by Pentatonix at once -Benedict Mendes

 

Aesthetics. It’s a word that, before the philosophy unit in this class, I didn’t have a lot of experience with. It was, for me, associated with heavily filtered images of snow on Tumblr blogs and “oddly satisfying” videos of bath bombs, but after learning more about this topic in the philosophical sense it became infinitely more interesting.

So, the question here is, what is my personal aesthetic. Well, as it turns out that’s a pretty good (and complicated) question. As you might have seen in Katie Crompton’s post (shout out) I was a part of her aesthetics photo shoot, and in that we were asked to choose the first word that came into our head when we heard the term “beauty”. My word was “Flow”, and here’s the picture:

Photo creds to Katie Crompton (Ignore the fact that I look like I have just unashamedly killed someone)

Now, it was pretty difficult to find a single word that encompassed what I found to be aesthetically pleasing, but I feel like this does it some justice. The reason I picked “Flow” is that I find any kind of art most pleasing when each part of the art piece meaningfully and effectively leads to the next. It keeps you enticed into continuing to immerse yourself into the art piece, whatever it may be. Pieces of art that are disconcerting and jarring take you away from the actual art and back into the real world, which for me devalues the experiment. It’s almost like the way we view the world is completely different from the way we view art, and that they can be separated from each other which leads to authentic aesthetic experiences. Which leads me to a more clear definition of what is aesthetic to me, an experience that evokes emotion and keeps you immersed and attentive which can be appreciated separately from the “real” world around you. As for the purpose of art, it can be whatever the artist intends it to be, but it can also be whatever the observer wants it to be. These two things are not mutually exclusive, as it can satisfy both the purposes that the observer and the artist have for it at the same time. This means art is extremely diverse, and also that art cannot be objectively judged because everyone will experience different emotions when exposed to it.

 

This can be boiled down to “art must make you feel something, must keep your attention, and must be considered separately from everything else”. This view is similar to Kant’s view that art is autonomous and should not be judged in comparison to anything else, which I agree with. Comparing pieces of art to anything else is not doing the piece itself justice, because they were not created (usually) to be compared to anything. In terms of art being valued by how it captures your attention, this is supported by the paper “The Aesthetic Experience” that we read by Colin Leath, in which he states that “Concentration is the only universal defining characteristic of aesthetic experience”. I perhaps would not fully agree with it being the only universal characteristic, but I would agree with it being an extremely significant part of one’s experience with art.

 

Now, how does all this tie in with my winter break experiences? Well, not over winter break, but a tiny bit before, I went to see the annual Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Christmas Concert and it was absolutely fantastic. I was amazed by the quality of the players in the orchestra, and of course of the singers in the choir as well. The music was of course excellent, but what elevated the entire experience even more was that the transitions between pieces were smooth and kept the audience enthralled. The host was Christopher Gaze, an amazing actor and artistic director, and also apparently an exceptional host. Between each song he would read short Christmas stories, or excerpts from them and they seemed to pair together with the music so well that the experience was never truly interrupted. There was never a moment in which I was detached from the experience and more invested in the real world rather than the music, it was a truly satisfying experience. Also, as an additional note, the VSO actually played the same arrangement of “Sleigh Ride” as our school did last year, of course they absolutely obliterated us, but there’s something very satisfying (at least I think) in hearing a professional group play a piece you have played before, because it’s almost like “wow that could be me one day”.

 

But that pretty much sums up what I think about aesthetics and the way I approach it. It’s something I could talk about forever really, but there has to be a limit somewhere. I will leave you with one of my favourite songs, as per the title, Rose Gold by Pentatonix:

 

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I’m Doing This for the Wrong Reasons, and THAT’S OKAY. (Ethics) – Matthew Gosselin

 

Watch out, we’re jumping into hyperspace because I have no time to finish this but LETS GOOOOOOOOOOO

Personal Definitions:

Utilitarianism:

I like math and formulae. I like utilitarianism. Everything should end in a net positive result no matter what motives, actions or events are involved. A perfect action in a circumstance is one that would maximize the happiness of every person involved without granting any pain or displeasure to anyone. The equation would look something like this, and would be a ratio. ((Number of people who gained happiness)*(Average degree of happiness obtained))/((Number of people who received unhappiness)*(Average degree of unhappiness obtained)) A ratio like this, if put in practical use, would have to be determined as to how large the ratio must be to be considered moral. If the ratio is simply more than 1:1, then it would easily allow people to defend themselves on the case of mass murder, such as the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to stop the war, due to the fact that it “saved” more than 60,000 people. Granted, you are not able to accurately say the degree of happiness or pain that is received by each person involved. (To be in any way possible as well to avoid complete bias, there would need to be one government of the world to implement this.)

Categorical Imperative:

This one is sketchy, and even harder to implement. However, it is a feel-good perspective on morality. (WHICH COMPLETELY RUINS THE OBJECTIVE OF IT.) The Categorical Imperative is an action and motive-based code of ethics. If you have a pure heart, and your intentions are pure, the results of your actions are negligible. You are to act as though your actions determine the universal law of what actions to take in those scenarios. If you see someone on the sidewalk who has fallen down and seems injured, and you believe that helping is the right thing to do, then do it. You should act this way because you believe that if anyone falls down, people should have a natural inclination to help them back up. In some ways it restores a sense of humanity, but there are some loopholes in this picture. For starters, if everyone immediately rushed to help up people who have fallen down, there would be more car accidents on pedestrians running to help people. An infinite number of things would be changed because of every single universal law. Also laws may conflict with another simply because of a different motive when approaching the same scenario. People inherently have different ideas on what, “the right thing to do,” may be, and there is no way to properly determine what it is unless a democratic vote of the world is in place, in which it would simply favor utilitarianism in my opinion. (By benefiting the most people.) Finally, you may approach the same scenario as someone else and take the same action but be considered immoral due to having the “wrong” motive. (Not to mention the fact that having pure moral is nearly impossible, due to a natural self-satisfaction gained by believing that you’re doing the right thing. Also it’s nearly impossible to not see a shred of self-interest in every action taking place.) Not only that, the, “right thing to do,” might end in a terrible result for many people.

What Do I Use:

In all honesty, I act upon a morality separate from both of these, because I am human and am naturally inclined towards self-interest over others’ interests. If two strangers and I were strapped to separate train tracks with no means of escape, and a train was on its way, and the only way for me to live was to use a mic strapped to me to tell the conductor to change course onto the other train tracks and kill the other people, I would do it. Nearly every single person would. I’m sorry that I value my life above others. (Besides, there’s always the idea of solipsism.) To what degree, I’m not sure. I don’t know how many people it would take on those other train tracks for me to change my decision to suicide, and for what moral reason. Would it be simply to preserve life (Utilitarianism), or because it’s the right thing to do (Categorical Imperative), or because I’d like to be remembered as a hero? (“Poor” moral reasoning) However, I am able to say that I would like to incorporate Utilitarianism more into my everyday life. Not simply by means of results, but the process involved before I take action. I would like to talk to and understand people more before I take actions that could cause negative results on others, and specifically how it would impact them to know if my actions are moral. I would also like to be able to make a decision that would benefit the whole instead of just my little slice.

One Current Issue:

An issue I believe needs solving is that of massive corporations, such as Walmart and McDonald’s. Although they provide services to which many people enjoy, the cut that the CEO’s are taking is massive. The Walmart family is worth roughly $130 billion dollars, but they pay over 90% of their employees minimum wage. I believe there should always be incentive and ability for people to become wealthy, but not at the expense of others to this degree. A perspective that includes both Utilitarianism and the Categorical Imperative ideas would be beneficial. First of all, within the Categorical Imperative, there lies the simple value that states it is morally wrong to deprive your workers from basic needs in life. A utilitarian point of view would state that the mediocre degree of happiness cherished by the ridiculously rich Walton family is heavily outweighed by the sadness experienced by the thousands of workers employed by Walmart. In a world enforced by Utilitarianism, they would be forced to bite the bullet and improve the pay and quality of life of their workers. Finally, self-interest can even be incorporated with this example. If this action was to take place, Walmart would gain a better reputation as a respected company that pays workers fairly and treats them with care. This, in exchange, would elevate the number of customers walking in the door and number of applicants.

Matthew Gosselin

Empirical Philosopher

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美学: A Journey Into VAPORWAVE

 

 

I had a hard time defining what an aesthetic was on it’s own, so I looked to the internet and other people I knew for help. Webster dictionary defined aesthetic as “concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.”, but I wanted to look at what people found beautiful and what forms of art were considered beautiful. I turned to Google image search, to no doubt show me the aesthetic artistic works of great artists like Bernini and Picasso. I expected Velazquez’s “Las Meninas”, but instead was shown a sculpture of “Venus of Milo”, shown with a random floating pole and some extremely serene but saturated waves. I came across the same feeling of wonder and amazement that those who have only achieved true enlightenment can feel, along with the overwhelming sense of confusion. If this was the highest form of aesthetic art that google could show me, I was afraid and confused. The vibrant, neon photos with palm trees and Japanese kanji that I can’t translate drew me in, and I set about pursuing this higher aesthetic in my search for beauty.

The Most Aesthetic Photo Ever

Turns out, it’s vaporwave. The video below was one of the first things that showed up when I searched for similar images. You don’t have to listen to all of it, but I’d recommend playing it quietly in the background for a while.

But what’s so special about Diana Ross’ 80’s hit “It’s Your Move” slowed down 70%? リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー by MACINTOSH PLUS seems boring and uninspired at first glance, and I suddenly felt like I knew exactly what Plato meant when he called art “a cheap imitation of reality”. I decided to start my descent into vaporwave culture.

Vaporwave apparently began as a subgenre of plunderphonics, a type of music made by taking existing audio and sound samples and altering them to fit into a new “song”. For those of you who ever had a keyboard as a kid – remember when you’d set the sound setting to the random drum beats and whistles and you’d press all the keys at once? That’s exactly what plunderphonics sounds like. Vaporwave is mostly characterised by slow, drawn out synth sounds paired with samples from the 80s and 90s – mostly things from commercials or iconic things like the AOL Dial-Up screech. I put on a couple playlists while reading articles on vaporwave, and it eventually grew on me. The music at first seemed bland and a cheap way to remix a song, but I realized that that’s almost the point.

Vaporwave invokes the feel of synth-pop and consumerist culture of the 80s, and what us in the modern age expect the 80’s to be. Traditional 80’s aesthetics and sounds are turned around completely, with each music artist putting their own personal philosophy of vaporwave into the tracks that they make. The synth-pop sound has been smudged and drawn out, paired with a slow reverb and choppy beats, like if elevator music had a cool cousin. The music videos of the 80s focusing on capitalism and the decadence of consumerist life are turned on their heads in vaporwave renditions as an ironic critique of modern culture and overspending. The globalization and modern manufactured dollar-store nostalgia seems to be one of the things that makes vaporwave what it is – a counterculture to the obsession over 80’s and 90’s kids and a mockery of consumerism. Vaporwave turns the visuals and sound of capitalism – the dings and beeps of dial-up devices, the flashy neon lights used in advertising, and the tacky songs used in commercials into samples to give a hypnotic and and nostalgic tone. There’s no set limits of what the genre can cover, which is part of the magic – boxing it in, making vaporwave a cookie-cutter sound package would ruin the commentary and identity behind it. Vaporwave is the beautiful aesthetic music smoothie of synth-pop, techno, smooth jazz, and J-Pop. The genre of vaporwave plays upon everything that was promised by consumerism – like that $9 Fiji water was going to solve everything that was going wrong in the world.

Vaporwave reminded me of modern art and the arguments against it – that anyone can create “modern art” – that it’s tasteless and art has now just been reduced to a blank white painting selling for $1000 cowering under the shadow of The Greats™. I never found what was beautiful to other people, but I found the beauty and art in something I didn’t expect. Beauty doesn’t have to be in the pained expression of a painting, or the ways that a marble sculpture can seem almost too real. Vaporwave isn’t obviously considered traditional art, but the beauty is that out of the mess that of consumerism, a counterculture was born out of 80’s samples and upbeat chill synth music. Like a shooting star in our capitalist sky, vaporwave rose to internet fame in the form of memes, and died out just as quickly.

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Philosophy is dissociating and making your physical and mental selves fight to the death.

 
At the beginning of the semester I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew next to nothing about philosophy. I only signed up for the course because people told it was fun and “basically TALONS 12″. While they weren’t wrong, this statement didn’t prepare me for the reality of trying to distill the “truth” of the universe. Especially with people that I’d never talked to. So at the beginning of the term I said that philosophy was like panning for gold in a bathtub (gonna plead the fifth on telling y’all how much time I spent on that presentation). My justification being that I thought that there was only one truth in the universe.
Suffice to say, I’ve adapted my opinions a fair bit since then. Now, I think that philosophy is more like a kaleidoscope. It provides different ways to look at the same topic, and can make familiar things seem foreign to you. The biggest difference is in the new metaphor, everything you think can be true. If it seems true to you, it very well could be. Maybe everyone has a different truth, that’s fine. Maybe you even have a different “truth” every time you look back through the kaleidoscope. That’s kind of what philosophy has become for me over the course of this term. A way to question what I thought I knew and find different ways to look at almost everything.
What happened? Why did I go from thinking that philosophy was the search for THE truth to the search for A truth? The main influence on my metaphor was becoming more educated on the topic of philosophy.
The event that started me on this train of thought was the metaphysics Phils Day Off. When I was writing my post I noticed that many people can do the same activity and react in different ways. This led me to conclude that how people perceive things is different because of who they are. Things like past experiences can make the difference between a traumatic event and a fun one. People aren’t wrong for screaming while they bungee jump, its how they react. Much the same, the opinions of Kant are no more right or wrong than the opinions of Mill. Even while reading the thoughts of others, this class came up with different ways to determine what is moral. Exactly like how two people can look at the same thing through a kaleidoscope and see completely different images.
This continued through epistemology and aesthetics, right up to now. Unlike the first “What is philosophy?” assignment I’m actually very confident in my metaphor. It’s almost a guarantee that everyone who presents will have a different metaphor for what philosophy is. I find that very cool because it shows that philosophy lets people read the same thing, get different opinions about it, and still be right.
But where does that leave me? Do I have to accept that everyone has different opinions and those are their truths of the world? Does that mean I can’t call people out when they exhibit and act upon shitty opinions? Those are their truths after all. No, I can accept that people perceive things in a variety of ways but this metaphor applies to things like philosophy, not things that affect peoples lives and rights. This class as a whole has made me more accepting of others opinions which will come in handy in future. I learned a lot about philosophy as a whole and it’s become easier to see where people get their ideas from.

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fish prezi revamped

 

http://prezi.com/r3guw5jtifk6/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions …….My ethical view :)

 

I sit here on the computer wondering why I haven’t taken the time to do this post last week because this week is finals week, and I have absolutely no time or energy to do anything. But I think this is the right thing to do, out of respect to Mr. Jackson and myself. My personal ethics definition is hard for me even to process and to put into words. Since ethics is so “casual” as you may say, the definition of the word comes form the person; no definition is entirely the same. In the dictionary “Ethics” means : moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior. But to me it is simply what is right and what is wrong. How I determine what is right and what is wrong is based upon my own experiences and morals I have acquired over the years, which may be different for many people.

 

I incorporate both parts of ethics in many ways. A Utilitarian part of ethics is used in my everyday life because it describes the way we may view things differently. If you think of the quote I used in my last blog post “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, this quote represents the utilitarian part of ethics. Think about your favorite food, think about the delicious taste, think about how you feel after you eat it, this feeling is unique to you. Some people would view this food that you say is the best food ever, as disgusting or distasteful and that’s there opinion, unique to them. Utilitarian as a part of ethics mean that you have certain opinions and how you view objects an certain things is how you approach them; your view on certain things is not the same as other, you control what you see.

Act always on that maxim which you can, at the same time, will should be universal law.”

  • Emmanuel Kant

Categorical imperative is another key part of ethics. Kant defines an categorical imperative as any proposition declaring a certain action (or inaction) to be necessary. I also incorporate Kant’s view in my everyday life when having to do with moral decisions I may have to make. Lets say that I am stopped at a red light late at night and no one is around me, do I stay and wait for the light to turn green or do I go through. Kant’s view on this subject would be do to the right, moral thing to do and stay. If I were to drive through the red light Kant would view this as breaking universal law which would allow for other people too, causing a ripple effect among others.

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In my own life experience I have acquired many problems I have faced with moral philosophy and ethical views on certain things. One example I would share with you would be an experience I had when I was 10 years old. Once upon a time when Mackenzy sparks-guest was 10 years old she was playing in a usual Sunday soccer game at town center. Now this soccer game was not another game, it was the league final which was the most important game of the year. Young Mackenzy was so excited to play but her mean old coach did not play her due to her ” not being as good” as the other girls on the team. Mackenzy sat on the bench with minute left till the end of the game when a player on her team had been tripped and injured. This injury resulted in her having to come off the field and a new player being entered in, this player so happened to be Mackenzy. Nervous when she entered the field she knew and believed in her skills and with 2 minutes left in the game had scored off a corner kick. The whistle had blew to determine the end of the game and Mackenzy had won the final game for the team. Her smiled filled her face and everyone was proud of her, she proved her coach wrong and ended with an immense amount of happiness in her body and a gold medal around her neck. This is a personal issue that deals with the utilitarian part of ethics because that experience I had went through and the feelings and emotion I had acquired had been so unique to me. If another girl on the team had scored, yes she would be happy, but not the same feelings I had because I had something to prove which I did, along with feelings of doubt, and uncertainty; I was not confident. One simply views every aspect of life, and how you chose to view certain things is up to you; choose wisely.

 

 

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Utilitarian vs Categorical Imperative

 

John Stuart Mill, English philosopher, political economist and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to many different . Dubbed “the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century” also brought up often in high-schoolers blog posts on Utilitarianism, which does make sense considering he is the forefather of Utilitarianism. Kant a German philosopher who is considered a central figure in modern philosophy and also funnily enough appears often in high-schoolers blog posts on categorical imperative, and now they’re both appearing on mine, seeing as i’m comparing and contrasting the two for Mr Jackson’s Philosophy 12 class. Utilitarianism and Categorical Imperative, are almost polar opposites, in what they each individually preach, Utilitarianism, is more focused on the end goal, consequential, it’s sometimes referred to as, some would even go as far as to say that, it’s so heavily based on ones own personal happiness it’s almost borderline hedonistic, and egocentric. Categorical Imperative, is basically a fancy way of saying the same old rule you’ve been hearing all your life, from a poster on your childhood bedroom, to a mural painted across your school, to treat others as an ends in themselves rather than a means, treating someone justly and fairly, doing unto others as you’d have them do unto you, all that good stuff. basically just being a not terrible person. Skimming the surface aside, lets discuss and really delve deeper into each individual theory, or philosophical standpoint.

Utilitarianism, the philosophical baby of one John Stuart Mill, is defined by Merriam Webster as: a doctrine that the useful is the good and that the determining consideration of right conduct should be the usefulness of its consequences; specifically :  a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number, in simpler terms, a  theory that is mostly thinking more so about the end game, and how happy you are at the end of the day. Mill has a theory that i feel most liberal teenagers nowadays would be at a subconscious level subscribing to, if there’s something you dont like, it’s not worth doing, and it’s you shouldn’t do it because it doesn’t make you happy, I however dont agree with that, and here’s why, I believe that there will be times in your life where you will be faced with an obstacle, and to overcome that obstacle, is gain, you’d benefit greatly from overcoming that obstacle, yet because you wholeheartedly subscribe to Mills way of being, you wont attempt to overcome said obstacle, why? Because it doesn’t make you happy, therefore it’s not worth doing. The world is an imperfect place, with lactic acid build up when we work out, with our phones going off on a regular basis when we try to do home work, youtube videos are more interesting than studying for your English provincial, and there are easier, fun, ways out of things that we need to do, however the harsh reality is that, if we all live trying to have fun, and be happy, then nothing would ever get done, even if the end goal does provide joy, the getting there part, wont be enjoyable.

Categorical Imperative, the philosophical baby of German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, is defined by Merriam-Webster as: a moral obligation or command that is unconditionally and universally binding, a much more straight to the point explanation compared to Utilitarianism, but for those who need reiteration, such as myself, in laymans term’s treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Really? That’s it? You may be asking yourself, essentially yeah, that’s pretty much it. Delving deeper than what you’d see in a preschool classroom however, Kant’s theory actually goes something like this: None should be treated as a means rather then an end in themselves, see that sounds alot better, atleast in my opinion. This would be more of an rights activist point of view, Kant was using this theory as  a means to protect peoples rights, so that their autonomy would be respected, because everyone is entitled to being treated like a respectable human being. I personally subscribe to this more so than Mills theory, mostly because I feel that, Kant’s theory in it’s bare bones form, is the way that everyone should be living, just because something someone does, doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t mean that you have any right to treat them with any less respect because of the fact, being a decent human being, i personally consider the Categorical Imperative way of being makes more sense. mostly because that’s just, the right thing to do, worrying about other people over yourself, it’s something you’re taught from a very young age, share your toys because the other kids might not, and then one day they’ll share with you too, cause that’s being a nice person, I feel like, if more people followed this idea, then the world would honestly just be so much better, everyone would be nice, donald trump wouldn’t be a cheetoh full of rage, and we could all live a cheetoh free lifestyle, what a world that’d be.

I was planning on making a whole paragraph on what i personally think of the two, but i kindof already did that within the second and third paragraphs. so i guess we’ll just wrap it up here then. I just feel as if though, we need more people thinking in the Categorical Imperative mind set, treating people how they should be treated, and obviously in a perfect world we’d all be nice to eachother and life would be great, and i realise that we’re not perfect, and to err is human, so obviously that’s no ones fault other than our own, but nevertheless i feel that’s the way that we should be moving as a society.  Just be a not mean person, open the door for little old ladies, tip your waiters/waitresses, and dont be rude, and we’ll all be able to sleep easy at the end of the day.

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