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Final Examination Pt V

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Questions 7b through 15

7.b Nietzsche references in section 6 of The Genealogy of Morals that the two basic respects in which man is superior to beasts are depth and evil.

Bloodletting seemed to repel Nietzsche (his reference to the blond Germanic beast and the massacre of Jews. I would envision his opinion to be the same regarding the letting of animal blood for the pleasure of man's taste buds.

On the pro side, Nietzsche refers to how tasty lamb is when he discusses birds of prey eating little lambs.

In his second essay, Nietzsche tries to lay guilt and bad conscience in man and he uses animal breeding to do so, "To breed an animal with the right to make promises." Nietzsche may be discussing the need of man to breed the animal with the promise of life, only to later kill the animal. He may be asking if we are morally right in taking the life of the animal we bred. He questions the conscience of man, as he discusses pain, blood, torture and sacrifices.

8. Good reasons are "facts that can play a part in effecting a decision." Good reasons are not categorized as the same kind or on the same level. To be considered a good reason, two conditions need to be met: 1) everyone must be subject to the same rules; and 2) it must be for the good of everyone. Good reasons were thought to be moral reasons based on self-interest, but that philosophy faced some strong arguments.

Morality and self-interest are often in opposition. Occasionally, we must refrain from what self-interest tells us we want because it is forbidden. Selfish reasons, however, are superior to reasons based on pleasure, with moral reasons outweighing both the selfish and pleasure reasons. Having a good moral code of values is important in determining good reasons. There were several prima facie maxims that were used as examples. Some of those rules included "Honesty is the best policy," and "Give to charity rather than to the Department of Internal Revenue." Baier agrees with Hobbs in that we need to be moral because being moral serves the interests of others, as opposed to serving self-interests. The only way we can determine good reasons is to use a moral point of view, which is arrived at by weighing and surveying the facts. When we use a moral point of view to determine good reasons, we use a point of view that suits everyone, and that is the only fair way of making a correct determination. We need to do the best thing because the reasons that support that action are the best of reasons for everyone. If your actions give someone pleasure, that is a good reason for acting.

If we look at the principles involved in our decisions, we will make good moral decisions for the right reasons. We should not make decisions based on self-interests, as our basis might be shortsighted and therefore not the best reason. In the example Baier used, when A and B had a disagreement, A and B each stated their reasons for their behavior. In this way, they can muddle through their self-serving interests and make a decision based on what was best for all concerned.

Baier speaks of prima facie reasons. As an example, if I am deciding what to cook for dinner, I can prepare something that I really enjoy, but not everyone else enjoys, or I can forgo my desires and prepare a dish that I know everyone enjoys. My decision to prepare a meal that my family enjoys, over the meal that only I enjoy, constitutes a good reason based on the fact that others would derive pleasure. I take a certain pleasure when I see my entire family enjoying the meal. When answering the question, "Why should we be moral?" Baier says we ought "to overrule self-interest whenever it is in the interest of everyone alike that everyone should set aside his interest." I set aside my desire in the meal I prepared for the sake of everyone in my family whose desires I put above my own.

According to Baier, we need to break down our reasons for doing things. One way we might do this is to ask ourselves, "Shall I do this?" "Should I do this?" or "Ought I do this?" By asking ourselves these questions, we can get at the root of our reasons. Using my cooking dilemma as an example, I might ask myself, "Shall I make this casserole?" Yes, certainly, I could make that casserole, but if I did, I know one or two of my family would not be overly happy. If I asked myself, should I make this casserole? My only reason would have been that I should make it because I enjoy eating it. And lastly, if I asked myself ought I make this casserole, I would have most likely come to the conclusion that I ought to make it on a day that only my husband and I were eating, because the children don't particularly like it.

This example does not involve an ethical decision, rather it is a simplistic way to breakdown what Baier is trying to say. Baier offered selfless, sound, and orderly reasons as his basis for determining good reasons in ethics. One of my sources was http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/b/bestreas.htm

9. St. Augustine was challenged to explain Epicurus' formulation of evil in the presence of God. In the defense of an all-powerful and all-knowing God who would allow evil St. Augustine said that God knew evil would happen, but that He did not create evil. St. Augustine believed in a God and he believed in the free will of man. St. Augustine also believed that man was predestined to salvation or damnation.

Hobbes believed in mathematics, materialism and physics. Hobbes applied science to human behavior. He also held to the self-interest, fear, and self-protection as being the motivation behind man's actions. Hobbes believed our human nature developed around three controversies: 1) Competition; 2) Diffidence; and 3) Glory. Those are the motivational forces that drive man.

St. Augustine believed that evil is the absence of good, but he believed man is responsible for whatever misfortunes come his way. Man is free to choose evil. If one has an evil will, then St. Augustine believed it to be defective. A will cannot become evil, it is a choice made by man.

Hobbes believed that good is desire and bad is aversion. Pleasure and man's desire is what Hobbes believed motivated man. Rules and laws are what keep a man from becoming evil. Sovereignty is what keeps the rules and laws in place to which man adheres. Hobbes made some very good points, namely that every man is equal and it's only by laws that inequality comes about. Hobbes refers to "Laws of Nature." Right is what man should do, law is what makes a man do or not do something. Hobbes uses nature in his explanations as well, which tied in science to human nature. One of Hobbes laws of nature is don't do to another than you would not want done to yourself. He calls on man to use his conscience.

St. Augustine said man should not live for the flesh. While flesh in and of itself is not evil, giving in to desires of the flesh is evil. St. Augustine uses examples such as the City of God and the City of Man. Choosing the City of God will give man eternal salvation. Hobbes opted for self-gratification as being good for man. St. Augustine speaks said something similar, "Love God and love your neighbor as yourself." If God is truth and truth is good and if you love God you will do good.

10. Lincoln, like Mother Theresa, never wavered in his efforts to help the downtrodden. He believed in the dignity of life and in freedom. To that end, he led the country into battle to free the slaves of the South and thus begin a movement to ensure that all men be free.

He was not a highly educated man, but he had the ability to read. He was an avid reader and hence became a renowned orator. Lincoln and Mother Teresa led a very public life. His was a prolific rhetoric that drew ever-increasing crowds to hear him speak. It was this very public life that most likely resulted in the assassination of both Lincoln and Gandhi.

Lincoln and Gandhi both fought for the rights of people. Gandhi used peaceful means, whereas Lincoln went to war. All three took up their campaigns to fight for the rights of the lowly, but each did it in different ways. Mother Teresa by her acts of charity and kindness, Lincoln by going to war, and Gandhi by uniting the people, or by sacrificing himself.

Gandhi struggled with himself until he finally fully affirmed his beliefs, for instance, promiscuity and his struggle with vegetarianism. His vegetarianism habits would fluctuate depending on who influenced him. In the end, it was his mother who permanently influenced him upon her death.

11. How morals evolved over time according to Nietzsche. "One should compare in particular what I say in Human, All-Too-Human, section 45, on the twofold prehistory of good and evil (namely, in the sphere of the noble and in that of the slaves); likewise, section 136, on the value and origin of the morality of asceticism." Nietzsche wanted to decipher the moral past of mankind. Nietzsche struggled to find beginning for his argument on morals, but he "discovered and ventured divers [sic] answers" that comprised age, people, and rank. From these, he "departmentalized" the problem until he had formed a solid foundation upon which to develop his argument. Nietzsche thanked the English psychologists, who were the only people to attempt to discover the history of the origins of morality. Nietzsche later criticizes English historians. (Buckle)

Nietzsche first determined his hypotheses, followed by values that could be applied to morals. He sought the "history of morality." The first step was determining good and evil and good and bad. The concept of "good" was determined as, "... where the task is to investigate the origin of the concept and judgment 'good'". Followed, perhaps by deductions the concept of "bad." Nietzsche goes on to discuss God and/or a higher spirit in his argument on the evolution of morals. He says, "... concept denoting political superiority always resolves itself into a concept denoting superiority of soul...". He considered "good" a man who could forgive his enemies. He talked about Gabriel Riqueti who could never remember what his enemies said. Nietzsche considered him noble.

Nietzsche also looked at deities and did not give any credence to them being responsible for any part of the history of the origin of morals. Nietzsche referenced the Buddhists and priests (his description of Jewish).

The slave revolt is another argument that Nietzsche brings up in his quest to uncover the evolution of morals. Nietzsche called this movement a fundamental reaction to a hostile external world. Something else had to exist in order for the slave revolt to develop.

Nietzsche seems to have disdain for man. He talks about the bad air and the fact that man considers himself to be superior and just, yet we lust for revenge. Yet despite Nietzsche's aloofness to Christianity, he references St. Thomas Aquinas' description of paradise, "The blessed in the kingdom of heaven will see the punishments of the damned in order that their bliss be more delightful for them."

Guilt and bad conscience is another part of the history of the origin of morals. Nietzsche questions how these two things came into our world.

12. The neuro-ethical argument for vegetarianism is that of a moral consequence ? the issue of suffering and pain is at the forefront. It causes an animal pain and suffering to be eaten. If what we eat has a central nervous system that should tell us not to eat it. Anything that has a capacity to feel pain should be morally respected. The true vegetarian does not look at refraining from eating meat as a religious belief, but rather a moral or physical belief. (Like John Dewey, perhaps.)

Some of the examples provided, such as sucking a living cow?s tongue, or eating your pet dog because it barked too much are simply silly examples. Likewise silly is the statement, ?don?t eat things which run away from you.? Certain animals were bred for subsistence and are unlikely ever to be regarded as a pet. As a young girl my mother was given a turkey to be raised and fed for Thanksgiving dinner. However, when the time came to butcher the turkey, neither my mother nor her sister could allow the turkey to be killed, let alone eaten! The turkey ultimately died of old age, many years later. He, in fact, remained a ?pet turkey.?

Herding would probably cease and those folks who made a living breeding beef cows or dairy cows would most likely find themselves in unemployment lines. The overall effect to our economy would suffer immeasurably! I had read somewhere that folks who want to have face lifts are not good candidates if they are vegetarians. The plastic surgeon advised them to come back after a regimen of six months of meat consumption. Apparently it had something to do with protein that meat eaters had, compared to none in the vegetarians. There was also a considerably longer recovery period in vegetarians than meat-eaters.

The friend who invited me to a vegetarian restaurant, used to run and swim to maintain body weight and a good physique. However, a blown kneecap prevented that kind of exercise for the immediate future. Consequently, he gained an inordinate amount of weight. Following his switch to vegetarianism, he lost all the gained weight and probably 20 pounds more. Sadly, however, he looks quite unhealthy. His color is pale, and his facial features seem sunken. He is gaunt-like.

The strength of vegetarianism is the overall affect on one?s health. The amount of fat retained in the body is nil. Hearts would beat a lot healthier, and certainly our arteries would be quite clear of cholesterol. Vegetarianism would allow our pocket books to remain fatter, as the cost to buy vegetables, nuts and fruits is extraordinarily less than buying beef, chicken, and seafood.

In support of the strength of a vegetarianism?s diet, what could be better said and by whom than, "Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." ? Albert Einstein

13. Do animals have moral rights? In order to answer this question, a definition of "moral" is necessary. It depends on who's view of "moral" one interprets, but for now I will use the killing of animals for subsistence as opposed to killing for sport. All living creatures have the right to live if for no other reason that to preserve the ecosystem. Animals do not have souls and therefore are separated from humans. The only reference I saw to the soul in Peter Singer's argument was his reference to Darwin's theory of evolution and the decline in the credibility of not being "made in the image of God with an immortal soul."

Animals have no moral standards. They survive as best they can survive. Given that they do not moralize and humans do, should be what drives a thinking person to treat animals with dignity and respect. An animal does not justify its actions by any moral standard. In the wild it will kill a weaker or slower animal to survive. It was stated that Benjamin Franklin thought it was ok to eat a fish, because upon cutting open the fish, he saw another whole fish inside. He thought that if the fish could eat a fish, then he too could eat his fish. The argument against the fact that it's ok for us to eat animals, since animals eat other animals is that animals eat other animals to exist. We do not need to eat animals to continue to exist. It is true that humans don't need to eat animals in order to exist. I wonder, however, what would happen to our economy if we stopped consuming animals. The second argument against humans eating animals because animal eat other animals is that eating animals is not part of our evolutionary process.

Peter Singer's view on animals suggests that if animals feel pain they have a right to equal consideration. Quantity of suffering should cause our moral attitude to change thus effecting a great reduction in suffering. We know that animals feel pain just as we know when children feel pain. I know when one of my parrots has experienced pain because the cry they let out is quite different from a normal parrot call, or from one of their wild jungle screams. I can tell when a parrot is not in pain but is in distress. When I hear such a call, I usually run to the parrot as I know that pain is imminent. Such a distress call would be heard when a smaller parrot lands on a larger parrot's cage. The larger parrot releases a warning call that tells the smaller parrot (and me) something along the lines of, "If you don't get off my cage, I'm going to eat you!"

I also know that my parrots have a greater degree of intelligence than my dogs. If my parrots see a syringe (used to give them medication orally), they will refuse to come out of their cage often trying to chase me away with open beaks and hissing noises. In order to give my parrots medications, I need to conceal the syringe until the very last moment. While I recognize the intelligence of my parrots, I know that they do not possess morals. I know that they cannot reason the way I reason, and I know that given the chance, they could and most likely would kill each other.

I would extend rights to my parrots. Each one of them has a right to life, and I would defend that right with all my ability. Because they are in my care, custody, and control I have a moral obligation to feed, nurture and teach them. I would have to say that humans have an intrinsic right to do the same for every animal, yet I am simply not convinced that we should not consume animals. I could no sooner eat my parrots and my dogs, but I don't see the difficulty in eating fried chicken. However, after reading and writing about animal morals, the thought of eating fried chicken actually seems rather repugnant at the moment. In support of Peter Singer's argument about not inflicting pain on animals, the thought of how we prepare lobster comes to mind, and I find the thought chilling and horrible. I find it inhumane.

14. Peter suggests that we give the fetus no more value than that of a nonhuman (animal). He does not believe that a fetus has the same claim to life as a person. He bases his views on the ability of the fetus to feel pain and/or experience pleasure. If, in his opinion, the fetus does not feel pain, it cannot experience pleasure, and therefore it's ok to kill the fetus. He feels that the fetus has no intrinsic value at all. He methodically discredits every opposing view to his. He sees the killing of the fetus no differently than killing an animal to eat its flesh.
However, in a different chapter, Singer states that animals feel pain and therefore we are morally obligated to treat animals with greater concern.

What I find difficult to understand is Peter Singer's desire "to elevate the status of animals rather than to lower the status of any humans" yet he advocates that killing a fetus is alright because the fetus, according to Singer, does not feel pain.

Joseph Fletcher said that humanhood includes self -awareness, self-control, a sense of the future, a sense of the past and curiosity, yet there exists humans who do not possesses any of these abilities. Should they, like the fetus be ok to kill? An argument can be made that regardless of how one chooses to describe a human being, it is a fact that a fetus will result in a human life.

15. John Dewey believes that the best techniques regarding moral values stems from our investigating our physical world. One of man?s problems is the discrepancy between our human nature and our physical nature. Dewey warns that we will lose control in changes of value unless we follow scientific methods re morals.

Dewey places emphasis in science because science has absolute truths with which we can measure a theory. Natural science and conduct go hand-in-hand in how we arrive at moral conduct. The consequences of our judgment depend on scientific conclusions.

Man should look at objectivity in forming conclusions, Why base our moral behavior on laws and rules we should be living by the laws of physics. Dewey's example of using scientific means to an end was like loving art but showing contempt for brush and canvass, or loving music, but not the instruments used to crate the music.

Looking at Dewey's philosophy today, we might be able to improve our lot. We are bombing Afghanistan and Israel is bombing Palestine. Such actions could lead to escalation including the use of nuclear weapons. If we used science to apply our moral standards, we would all see the devastating implications and impact our actions could have on the world we live in.



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