Ethics Questions





Ethics Questions

Question 1

Lee Geum-ja’s story is a woman wrongfully imprisoned for murdering a child. After serving her term, she gets out with a plan to exact revenge on all the people involved in the making her life miserable. In Aristotle’s words, Lee Geum-ja can be called a “tragic hero”. In his definition of the tragic hero, Aristotle defines such as a person as one who commits a judgment blunder that inescapably contributes towards their demise (Aristotle, and McKeon 45). The famous scholar would definitely think that this woman’s decisions were heavily influence by her temporary emotional condition. This is because while she is focused on exacting revenge, Aristotle sees this effort as part of Lee Geum-ja’s need to restore social justice and ensure that the perpetrator would not repeat the crime. In this way, Lee Geum-ja’s action reinforces Aristotle’s argument that “revenge is analogous to punishment (Aristotle, and McKeon 32).”

Saint Augustine’s perspective of revenge is that it is based on the intention of the actor (Aristotle, and McKeon 65). Therefore, he neither discourages nor encourage the behavior. Rather, Saint Augustine argues that an individual could become a soldier and carry out various forms of acts only if his intention is to defend their rights or avenge a wrongdoing (Augustine, Walsh, and Monahan 28). In both Aristotle’s and Augustine’s arguments, there is a common aspect of justice (Aristotle, and McKeon 12). Based on their elucidation, one can easily conclude that revenge is considered moral. At a personal level, I feel that Lee-Gum JA was justified in seeking revenge for the injustice. She was living a moral life until a corrupt individual forced her to suffer unnecessarily (Augustine et al. 49). Therefore, in this case, I think that her revenge was right.

Question 2

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was carried out in 1932 to determine the effects of untreated syphilis among human beings. The study raised considerable uproar particularly over the use of rural African-American men from Alabama as the test subject. These unfortunate individuals were deceived into assuming that they were beneficiaries of free health care from the American government. The academic discussions on ethics and utilitarianism has been tackled by scholars such Emmanuel Kant and Stuart Mill (Timmons, and Baiasu 33). On his part, Mill claimed that morals and regulations were simply tools that were used to appease other people in society. He argued that looking at the situation from a long-term perspective and considering the society as well, it would be clear that attempting to generate the greatest happiness and alleviating any form of suffering would involve breaking and amending all the rules in a haphazard manner. Therefore, Mill believed that people should strive to be ethical instead of being moral.

Concerning the Tuskegee study, Mill and other utilitarian thinkers would argue that such experiments on humans have greater negative consequences that positive ones. This is because the study attempted to develop a culture that reduces the value of human life. Mill’s issue with the Tuskegee study revolves around his popular question: how much pleasure must one sacrifice for the higher good. This is because the experiment might have been meant for discovering a cure for syphilis that would benefit the global community. However, the means cannot be used to justify the end since human lives were lost. Furthermore, it violated the sovereignty and trust of the test participants. The issue of human testing is high controversial. However, in the absence of human testing, science-based medicine is unable to know if the developed cures created through painstaking science are effective in dealing with the targeted disease. Lastly, Jeremy Bentham argued that pleasure and pain were the two main motivators for man. Consequently, man will naturally seek out personal interests that maximize pleasure while reducing pain. In the Tuskegee situation, Bentham would argue that the scientists sought participants that would facilitate the highest level of happiness for the most number of people.

Question 3

According to Kant, a fundamental principle of moral duties among human beings is a categorical imperative. This implies that human beings are free to exercise their wills in making decisions. Sigmund Freud emerged to challenge Kant’s categorical imperative by providing a detailed dissection of the human mind into three parts: the conscious, sub conscious, and the unconscious. Consequently, his argument was that Kant’s moral argument was largely based on the cultural context of an individual (Timmons, and Baiasu 15). For instance, in one culture, it was acceptable and moral to be polygamous while in another, it was forbidden. The decision to marry a second wife may be reasonable but this is highly dependent on the culture. Freud also had an issue with the inflexible nature of the categorical imperative. In certain cases, duties can clash and therefore, confuse the individual. An excellent is that of a man who is typically responsible for providing for his family. Occasionally, he is requested to serve in the war and this may demand that he injure or even kill the enemy to protect national security. Therefore, Frued’s argument aggress with Kant’s up to the level that reason is a vital aspect as it ensures social order and survival (Timmons and Baiasu 36). However, he disagreed on the idea that it is independent.

Question 4

In his essay, “Is there a duty to die? And Other Essays in Bio-Ethics”, John Hardwig proposed a move from the patient-centered bioethics. Hardwig argued that it was necessary to concentrate on the family as the central stakeholder in the discussion ion the ethics of induced death among patients. In this way, Hardwig introduced a new perspective on bioethics that caters to the needs of everyone involved in the situation. Kant’s stand on the issue of suicide or medically induced death is fundamentally similar to Hardwig’s (Hardwig, and Hentoff 19). Therefore, Kant would definitely support Hardwig’s proposal to look at the demands of the remaining family members when making the decision to end the life of a terminally ill patient (Timmons, and Baiasu 62). In his discussion, Kant proposes that people with mental complications should end their lives before losing eth ability to reason. In other words, they should “die with dignity”. Confucius was divided on the discussion concerning assisted suicide. On one hand, he valued life while on the other, he also valued the capacity of man to reason and the need to die with dignity in instances that he was unable to function logically.

Works Cited

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Aristotle, and Richard, McKeon. The Basic Works of Aristotle. New York: Random House, 1941. Print.

Augustine, Gerald G. Walsh, and Grace Monahan. The City of God: Books Viii-Xvi. Washington, D.C: Catholic University of America Press, 2008. Print.

Hardwig, John, and Nat Hentoff. Is There a Duty to Die? And Other Essays in Bio-Ethics. New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.

Timmons, Mark, and Sorin Baiasu. Kant on Practical Justification: Interpretive Essays. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print. Bottom of Bottom of Fo Bottom of Form

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