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After taking this class, i’m going to declare philosophy my minor. I took the class originally because i had a slight interest in the subject and for the distribution credit. However, after a semester, i feel it wold be a great subject to take again as practice for law school. Law and philosophy require pretty much the same kind of reasoning and arguing. A lawyer and philosopher both have to think critically and know what kind of questions to ask. Text must be carefully analyzed, and cases must be made against the opposing side. Both also require superior communication skills, as there is no room for vagueness and everything must be carefully articulated. thanks Boone!


Aristotle does not see the moral worth of an action, only the individual committing the action. He does feel that murder itself is wrong and a vice, but it only detracts from a person’s character. A person who has always been virtuous but one time slips and commits murder would still be considered moral by Aristotle. In that case, murder is a vice outweighed by many many more virtues. Aristotle would be quick to forgive a person like this, arguing they are still moral, only guilty of a mistake.

The essay i chose to read was A Defense of Abortion by Judith Jarvis Thompson. Obviously, it is about abortion. Thompson’s thesis is that even if the fetus is considered a person, abortion is still morally permissible even when the mother’s life is not threatened. She argues this by first defining what the “right to life means”. She uses a very interesting analogy to make her point. She ask the reader to imagine a situation, in which a violinist is attached to an unwilling host as life support. The host is kidnapped, and is there against her will. The violinist certainly has the right to live, however, he does not necessarily have a right to the host’s body. The point is that, a right to life doesn’t necessarily guarantee the right to resources that would keep someone alive. In turn, the right to life can be more strictly defined as a right to not be killed, rather than to not be allowed to die. From here, she starts using the Good Samaritan as a reference point. It is not expected of someone to go very far out of his way for someone else, or to be a good Samaritan. It is only expected for someone to be a minimally decent Samaritan. Therefore, a pregnant woman, who owns her own body, which the fetus depends on, has the right to her own decision regarding a pregnancy. The author then asks the reader to imagine a world where pregnancy is not very inconvenient. It only last an hour, and has no effect on the mother. In this situation, the mother ought to keep the pregnancy, but going back to the good Samaritan argument, the mother is not morally required. This is where Thompson makes the very persuasive point that what ought to be done isn’t necessarily what is morally right. It may be considered selfish to terminate a pregnancy in this case, but, that doesn’t make it unjustifiable. Thompson stresses that abortion opponents make black and white out of gray issues by labeling something that is morally neutral as wrong because it isn’t the perfect thing to do. Overall, her arguments make abortion justifiable, however, they still leave room for opposition from abortion opponents. At the end, she says that the moral permissibility of an abortion rests on the circumstances. Someone who did not plan the pregnancy and/or can not provide for the child certainly is not acting immorally if seeking an abortion. However, someone who terminates the pregnancy late for travel purposes is acting in an immoral way. This allows interpretation which will only keep abortion questionable. Although it does not negate her previous arguments, it does leave room for someone to call an abortion immoral for whatever reason they can argue. Thompson talks a little about birth control and planned pregnancies, but not enough to close the door to bickering over the responsibility a woman has for the consequences of sex. Thompson also brings up partial-birth abortions and how it the responsibility of the parents to take care of a child that survives an abortion attempt. This does sound completely reasonable, however, it is not good for the sake of the argument. It almost makes abortion seem like a game, and if you lose and the abortion does not work, you are stuck with a child.

everyone. Let me rephrase that. The social contract applies to anyone above the age of criminal responsibility and is of a mentally sound state. The sovereign has the right to govern in a way according to productivity, but we still expect them to follow the law. Just because a sovereign may have the power to discipline doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want. Look at Charles I. He got pwned. It actually is a very simple contract based on a p2p contract. When it comes to other people, don’t kill them or take their shit. If you break that contract, then the Gov’t is contractually obliged to kill you and take your shit. or something like that.

Since without a governing body there would only be immoral people taking advantage of the righteous (supposedly), we need a social contract with a government in which we give them power and certain liberties in exchange for security and moral order. Hobbes is basically saying we need a strong King who can stop crime and immoral acts. Although the King should be expected to act morally himself. In any Government, autocratic or democratic, there is a leader who is governing and making laws based on a common good. That is their job. As long as he or she is doing this, he or she is being moral in respect to duty. What they do as a private citizen is also subject to the same morals as everyone else.

Hobbes has a very dim look on human existence. He thinks that without order, it will just be like Lord of the Flies and that we’ll just be stealing each other glasses and lighting shit on fire. Because of this, we need a strong government that maintains social order. In nature, the bad would screw over the good for their self-interest, and no one can do anything about this. He is probably right to some degree, but i don’t think anarchy can only lead to chaos and war. we would probably just break up into small communal societies which basic sets of laws. and if someone was pushing, i’m sure an angry mob would chase him with torches and set him straight.

Although many people seem to have a problem with Kant, i prefer his ideas to Mill’s. The basic idea behind both theories is that morality either comes from good will or results. While Utilitarianism isn’t exactly hedonism, i think it does have the wrong priorities. Utilitarianism is unforgiving in many ways, where as Kant has a more easy going attitude which i feel is more righteous. As for the the murderer at the door for gramgram, i really think this is an awful example for the categorical imperative. im sure if you mentioned this to Kant he would be insulted that you think he’s telling you to give your grandmother up. How is this situation practical at all? Is a killer really going to ask? stop if you say no? believe you in either case? going to have an axe in his hands, alerting you to his intentions? what if she really is in Florida?

What makes us human is that we have rationality and can make decisions that are based on more than just primal instinct. (Most of the time) we act of self-interest because we wish to better our lives. No matter what we aspire for, we can choose to act in a way that will get us closer to it. Acting out of self-love/interest is logicalĀ  because what person would not want to benefit themselves. This very general idea is easily turned into a universal law. If one wants to make their life better, one should act in a way that corresponds with this. Simple. Kant’s belief of self-love is that we act in a way to further our survival/life. Next time I’m at a crossroads, hopefully I’ll have been rational enough to bring my ‘nocs.

What would happen if an entire class cheated on a test? Well, if they were attempting to copy each other, no one would get very far and everyone would fail. If everyone had a cheat sheet, then everyone would do well and the professor would become suspicious of cheating or give a harder test. Because the action can’t be performed by everyone at once for successful results, categorical imperative deems cheating on a test morally wrong. No one is entitled to cheat on a test, and certainly cheating would get no results if an entire class was guilty.

The objection my group was assigned states that there is not enough time previous action to calculate its effect on overall happiness. Mill defends Utilitarianism against this by saying that we draw from past experiences and don’t have to make calculations at all. We may never have repeat situations, but we make generalizations about what will happen to overall happiness based on events in our lives. There are fundamental rules and subordinate rules. When faced with a decision, we can discover the subordinate rule by tracing it back to the fundamental rules. Mill argues that this is enough and that making tedious calculations before any action is unnecessary. I think his rebuttal it logical and sufficient in dismissing the original objection.