Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Section 10 Group 3
Thanks to Billy, this is Dustin Chitwood posting my final report through his link.
Intro to Philosophy Section 10 Group 3
30 November 2014
Philosophy Final Exam Paper
Morals, what even are morals? Morals are a person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do. They can also be defined as a lesson, especially one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience. So you could say that morals are what we base and have based our lives on. We must have them to live by and to judge our every action.
With our morals, for most we are raised with them and that is generally how view certain things the rest of our life. I am by no means saying that our morals can’t change but for the most part they remain unchanged. Morals are a very interesting because although for most people it is morally wrong to kill a person, for serial killers and others, it is perfectly normally and they don’t see a problem with it. A serial killer by the name Eric Harris said “It is just as easy to bring a loaded handgun to school as it is to bring a calculator”. Many people would be offended by that somebody would say this because of all of the school shootings that have happened recently, but to him and others that think like him, they see nothing wrong with him saying this. Morals even for “normal” people change quite a bit too, and one of the big topics is about abortion. The way I see it is there are three points of view on it. One side believes it is flat out wrong, one side believes it is okay in certain situations, and the other side believes it is fine no matter the situation. With all of the different views on people’s own morals, how do you know if any one person’s morals are right? You really can’t determine whether anyone’s are correct, except in the case of the ones that break the law, in that case the government says they are wrong, but for abortion and other topics like that, the best way to approach it is let everyone have their own views and to not disrespect others views. We are all born into morals that our parents raise us all on from birth. As we grow and develop we understand right from wrong a lot more, and although we do learn right from wrong from our parents, some people, not everybody but some, take on a different views on various topics. With people changing their views, it does not mean their old way of thinking is wrong or the new way is wrong, but it simply means that the person who changed their moral views has experienced different things in life than their parents.
Moral views do give people a reason to live, at least it gives me a reason to live. I am the type of person who believes without an established set of governing rules everything would be complete and utter chaos. Try and imagine a world without morals and moral views. Personally I find it quite hard to do because they have always been with humans so think of something like murder and not have an opinion on it is quite hard to imagine. With my personality type also, I love to debate ideas and listen to other people’s ideas and theories and moral views. I wouldn’t say that my life soli depends on that one aspect but it does in a way spice up my life and make it more meaningful, because I gain new knowledge from the views of others and I also can become a better person by respecting others when necessary. By respecting others points of view you also shouldn’t just cast yours aside, if you are trying to avoid a confrontation just politely explain your views but don’t debate them. With he cases of people who believe murder is wrong are subsequently told theirs views are wrong by the governing system. So although we are free to have our own moral views there are some that are forced upon us as citizens of this country. With moral views basically being forced upon us, this can conflict with other peoples morals, because there are people out there who resent being forced to do anything or forcing anybody to do anything. Really any way you go about morals in the sense of governing ideals that affect our moral views there will be conflict, so the best way to go about these views are to try and not offend anyone, by listening to everyone and keeping an open mind.
Morals through the years have been discussed and debated by numerous people, but I believe the group of people that have discussed and debated this the most are philosophers. One of the more famous philosophers that focused a lot on morals was Immanuel Kant.
“Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative” (CI). Immorality thus involves a violation of the CI and is thereby irrational. Other philosophers, such as Locke and Hobbes, had also argued that moral requirements are based on standards of rationality. However, these standards were either desire-based instrumental principles of rationality or based on sui generis rational intuitions. Kant agreed with many of his predecessors that an analysis of practical reason will reveal only the requirement that rational agents must conform to instrumental principles. Yet he argued that conformity to the CI (a non-instrumental principle) and hence to moral requirements themselves, can nevertheless be shown to be essential to rational agency. This argument was based on his striking doctrine that a rational will must be regarded as autonomous, or free in the sense of being the author of the law that binds it. The fundamental principle of morality — the CI — is none other than the law of an autonomous will. Thus, at the heart of Kant's moral philosophy is a conception of reason whose reach in practical affairs goes well beyond that of a Humean ‘slave’ to the passions. Moreover, it is the presence of this self-governing reason in each person that Kant thought offered decisive grounds for viewing each as possessed of equal worth and deserving of equal respect.”
Kant has in my opinion the most experience in the field of moral philosophy. He has written numerous books on the subject and I believe he knows what he is talking about. His views are not far off from how I view things. It is also interesting to see others who share the same views as Kant did but are more recognized than him. Another philosopher that was big with moral philosophy was Jeremy Bentham. He along with the help of John Stuart Mill developed a moral theory called Utilitarianism, which aimed to give a method of moral judgment based on experience rather than a set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.
“Bentham thought that an action was good if it increased pleasure, bad if it increased pain. An action or law would by good if it produced "The greatest happiness for the greatest number". He developed a "happiness calculus" in order to calculate for any action or law what the consequences in terms of pleasure or pain would be. Using these principals he designed a prison called the panopticon where punishment would be measured out according to the amount of pain caused by the offender.”
With these two ideas of morals ideas discussed and debated this is where I believe that we get our moral ideas from now. Of course there other considerations such as growing up with them but how they explained it, we can change and grow with our morals.
As we all grow up, we all experience different things that can change our moral views. There are also things that I believe are not meant to intentionally change our moral views but can, such as video games. Video games for most are a way to escape from the real world but sometimes that escape affects you as a person. Violent video games teach that killing and stealing and doing drugs are morally right because the group of people you are around in the game all do it, as well as your own character. Games such as Halo, Call of Duty, and Battlefield are all war-based games that appear to be morally just due to the fact you are a soldier but are definitely misconstrued because there are different game types which makes it all about the killing, and exposing children and even adults can actually change someone’s moral views on violence and even murder. Other games such as Grand Theft Auto and Far Cry are all about murder, drugs, and theft. These games are really not morally justified at all but the makers of the game have no problem with putting it out for teenagers to play. I personally do not know if playing these games has led teens to drugs but it has been tested that video games do make people more violent. So with that proven it shows video games do affect people’s morals and the subsequent choices they make because of their morals.
Morals are a very interesting topic that is hard for me personally to just tie up all together, but morals change and is something that some people hold to be absolutely true with out question and that others love to debate and keep an open mind on. We all were born into a certain set of morals that our parents believe and 99% of the time force on us, but as we grow and experience new things, we begin to think for ourselves and develop our own set of morals. Through various ways we can also have our morals changed without even knowing, like with the video games, those people didn’t just all of a sudden decide to be violent or change their views on violence, they simply were living their lives and it just happened. In conclusion I have found that morals are an individual thing, not everybody has the same set of morals and not everybody agrees with each others moral views. Even with all of the differences people need morals in their lives, it doesn’t have to be the same as the person beside you but you need morals to get you through life and to just have your say in this immense world. I believe that morals are important and personally give meaning to this everyday life.
· Johnson, Robert, "Kant's Moral Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2014/entries/kant-moral/>.
· Jones, Rodger, “Moral Philosophy” , philosopher.org, United Kingdom URL = http://www.philosopher.org.uk/index.htm