KarinaPimentelAndrewFialaNovember29, 2017Philosophy20Ethics Dialogue Research Paper Whenever you hear about peoplediscussing their opinions you can always trace that back to the idea of ethics.The study of ethics is viewed as a way to support a person’s personal opinions.It is a way to provide reasons and evidence as to why you may agree or disagreewith something instead of just stating that it is the right thing or should bebanned. Ethics can also be viewed as the set of values that help shape aperson, reflect their personality and can be seen as a window into their way oflife.
This can only be achieved if you get to know the person, and that iswhere dialogue comes into play. The best way to get to know a person and theirbeliefs on various topics is to have a conversation with them and discuss eachother’s thoughts and opinions. By getting to know what someone thinks ofsomething will allow you to view things from their perspective and see why theybelieve the things they do.
During class we have discussed numeroustopics that are known to be of great debate and cause heated debates over whoseopinion is the right one. The topics of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide,sexual morality and gay marriage, and biotechnology were the ones I found themost interesting. Upon learning about the different ethical theories such asnatural law, utilitarianism, libertarianism, and deontology I find thatlibertarianism reflects most of my beliefs involving the first four topics.Libertarianism emphasizes the right to do what you want, have the freedom to doas you please, so long as you are not harming others. In other words, a personshould have the autonomy to make their own decisions and be altruistic aboutwhat others choose to do or believe.
It was much harder to choose just oneoverall ethical theory for the last four topics; but when it comes to mybeliefs I feel that the choice that allows for the least amount of pain anddestruction, both with humans and animals, is the best.It was an obvious choice of who I wasgoing to ask to interview regarding their thoughts on the topics we discussedin class. I chose to discuss the ethical topics with one of my cousins, whom Ihave looked up to most of my life. She is one of the few people in my familywho is very open minded and does not shy away from what others see as “awkwardand uncomfortable” topics.
I felt that asking her questions the day beforeThanksgiving was the easiest way to get her thoughts without having muchdistraction from others. I hoped to learn her thoughts specifically on topicssuch as abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide since she is a nurse. I feltas though it would give me insight on the perspective of someone whose job isto help others and if their personal beliefs ever interfere with their work.
The act of abortion from a libertarianpoint of view means that the mother should have the freedom to choose whethershe wants to keep the child or not. The reasoning behind the abortion isdifferent for each case, but an abortion can be therapeutic for the mother tohelp with her physical and mental health. It can also be used to preventbringing a child into this world that may have to live their life with adisability and/or in pain. I agree with Thomson who believes that even if afetus is a person, the mother has a right to choose to abort. The mother’srights can trump that of the fetus. Upon asking my partner about what theybelieve about abortion their response agreed with the idea of libertarianism.They gave the example of a woman who became pregnant in the case of rape orincest.
Should she be forced to have the child even if it can cause her mentalharm or the child having to live with pain due to an abnormality? First andforemost it is the woman’s body and it is her right to do with it as shepleases. She disagreed with Marquis who said that abortion deprives the childof a future. Her counterargument was that how can you think of their future iftheir life had not yet begun.
We both agreed that the restrictions applied toabortion were important, because it is easier and less harmful on the mother toremove the fetus during its first trimester.The topic of euthanasia and assistedsuicide is something that has been a very common discussion in my home. That’swhy I believe that if a person is terminally ill and found peace with theirlives and wishes to die on their terms then they should be allowed to do so.With euthanasia meaning “good death” I feel that it is a good way for a personto die, so they are no longer in pain. With this being a fairly talked abouttopic in my family it was not surprising that my partner brought up the factthat the type of euthanasia is important. Certain forms of assisted suicidescan be seen as by the free will of the patient, but if the decision to end thelife is non-voluntary then it is abusing the free will of the person. Althoughbeing raised Catholic, my partner and I do not agree that suicide is arejection of God’s absolute sovereignty over life and death as viewed by PopeJohn Paul II.
By both viewing this from a libertarian standpoint, our viewscontradict that of natural law theorist J. Gay-Williams. He may argue thateuthanasia is against the natural instinct to preserve life. He views”suffering as a natural part of life with values for the individual and forother that we should not overlook.
” I mentioned to her Williams’ idea thateuthanasia can lead to a slippery slope of more deaths, and she said that thatis why we have laws that are there to make sure nothing like that will happen.Sexual morality is something we neverreally discuss but have always had an understanding of each other’s beliefs.Still following the libertarian point of view, people should be left alone toenjoy sex in whatever way they choose. Unlike the opinion of Finnis who from anatural law point of view believes that the purpose of marriage is to procreateand non-marital sex is wrong.
My family seems to be more open-minded and agreewith me that sex before marriage should not be viewed as a serious sin or thatif a person wished to marry their partner (same-sex marriage) then why shouldothers care. In no way are their decisions affecting the other person’s life. Mypartner also believed that if a person enjoys watching pornography then theyshould be allowed to.
Our views coincide to those of John Corvino who said sexualmorality should be about consent and pleasure, not what is thought to be’natural.’ The topic of prostitution was where my partner and I did happen todisagree on. I felt that if a woman or man chooses to go into prostitution thenthere is nothing wrong with it; as long as it is done from their own free willand not by force. My partner believes that prostitutions exploits women anddegrades them were similar to the argument of J.S. Mill, who was opposed toprostitution. My views agreed to those of Bentham who thought that illegal prostitutionproduces bad outcomes while legal prostitution would help regulate and controlprostitution.
If a person wishes to enhance themselvesthrough the use of biotechnology then they have to liberty and individualchoice to do so. An enhancement to one’s body through surgeries and drugs isknown trans-humanism, which is creating a new human nature. As a nurse, mydialogue partner sees a lot of people who are in need of enhancements andtherapies that either restore the normal function or provide more than that.She feels that there is nothing wrong with people doing this because after itis completed she sees that they are happier than ever. Bostrom is a bigbeliever in morphological freedom which is the freedom to change yourself inany way you want, whether it is by getting a tattoo or enhancement throughsurgery.
Biotechnology can help those who live with disabilities and want ways tomake their life easier. Cloning can also be seen as a possibility to helpmedically, this is with one day being able to grow organs for those in need. Bothmy partner and I feel that Leon Kass, who is a natural law theorist andbio-conservative, does not understand how much easier some enhancements makelife for people. He believes that other medical problems are more importantthan enhancement. I can be used as an example, because without the surgery thatenhanced my elbow I would not have been able to use my arm anymore.
This is oneof the main reasons why I have taken the libertarian side to the topic ofbiotechnology.When it comes to prison and the form ofpunishment I tend to lean more towards restorative justice and rehabilitation.Those who are sent to jail for minor crimes should not have to be labeled asconvicts their whole lives for a mistake they made years ago. I believe theutilitarian point of view can be used to back up my beliefs. By helping thosein prison find skills that they can use once released can create greaterhappiness for a greater amount of people.
With skills that are learned,released prisoners can find jobs helping others. This fits to the thoughts ofAngela Davis who believed in alternatives to imprisonment which was referred byher as decarceration. My partner believes that the punishment should fit thecrime, so if a person murders someone she believes that they should be giventhe death penalty.
I did inform her that keeping prisoners on death row isexpensive, so to this she responded that the death penalty should only be usedfor those who have committed major crimes. I found that her opinion was similarto that of Lloyd Steffen who believed in the model of “Just War Theory” andthat the death penalty should not be used for minor crimes. My partner also agreedwith the natural law tradition that if someone is attacking you, you have theright to self-defense.The thought of war is never a positivething to think about. Especially now, since there is talk of potential war withNorth Korea with the involvement of nuclear weapons. I agree more with theideas of Martin Luther King Jr. who believed in pacifism and nonviolence. I donot think there is a need to use war as the only way to get what you want, itis better to try and talk it out first.
It can also be referred to as theGhandi-King tradition that Andrew Fitsz Gibbon believes in. Since war doesexist and our country is at war, I do believe that “jus ad bellum” (justicetowards war) and “jus in bello” (considerations within war) is important. “Jusad bellum” refers to proportionality, last resort, and right intention. It alsoincludes humanitarian intervention and the idea of R2P which is responsibilityto protect the innocent from genocide during war. “Jus in bello” deals morewith discrimination, differentiating between combatants and noncombatants, andwith prohibition on intrinsically evil means. When talking to my dialoguepartner she believed more in just war which means war is justified but thereare moral limits. With having a brother in the military she has heard hisstories about how he was able to protect innocent people in other countriesfrom the groups of terrorists that were causing high rates of deaths. Herthoughts on war would fall under what Michael Walzer, the leading theorist ofjust war, believed which was that fighting justly is a good strategy but onlyin a war that was possible to fight.
I have always been someone who has lovednature and what it has to offer. While looking over what we learned in class Ibelieve that my values fall more under the idea of deep ecology. This idearegards human life as being part and just one piece of equal components on theearth. We must not regard ourselves as the most important living thing. Werequire both animals and plants to survive, and if we do not take care of themwe can cause harm.
My partner agrees with the views that I have described, shebelieves that we need to preserve the land and all it offers us in order tocontinue to live. These thoughts agree with Leopold’s “land ethic” which statesthat the environmental system supports life. This view disagrees with theopinion of William Baxter who focuses more on anthropocentric values whichmeans that the resources found around us are for human use. He also stated thatthere is no reason for humans to limit their behavior based on the well-beingof non-human species. When I told my partner that Baxter stated that “ifpenguins go extinct so what?” she found it to be very cruel. She said that allanimals should be viewed as important and just because they do not offer us muchthey do help keep the environment in tow. In some ways it follows Arne Naess’sidea of needing to change values to not exploit humans and the environment;where every living thing is connected intimately.Both my partner and I are big animallovers, so the topic of animal ethics brought up the most excitement for us.
Upon defining anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric my partner feels that allanimals have intrinsic value and should be treated as if they had rights. Weboth believe that animals have sentience, which is the ability to feel pain andsuffering. Just like Peter Singer stated, if it suffers it is an object ofmoral concern and we should have equal consideration of them.
Our opinions fallunder the category of non-anthropocentric utilitarianism. This is defined astaking into account all suffering beings and having a balance between thewelfare and happiness of all beings. I also believe that in some ways Kant hasa point when he states that by being cruel to animals you are being taught toalso be cruel to humans. Although, I do not agree with his opinion that animalsdo not have any value in themselves.
My dialogue partner felt as if she agreed morewith Reagan who felt as though animals are a subject of life and they haveinterests, desires, and wants just like humans do. Overall, we both find thatyou should treat and animal fairly even if you plan on eating it. An example ofthis is how some farms allow their cows to roam free in fields and grazepeacefully on grass instead of them living in confined spaces and being force fedmeals.It is always important to take into considerationthe beliefs and opinions of others instead of just your own. Dialogue is a bigpart in getting to know others as well as their ethical values on various topics.
I find that you will never agree with the ideas of someone and while there maybe an argument about whose opinion is right, you should learn to respect them.Yes, you can offer your point of views, but you must be ready to defend yourstance with key pieces of information. I found many of the topics discussed inclass to be interesting and while my stance on most remained the same, therewere some where I had to go back and think about. This goes to show that bybeing presented both sides of an argument you are more capable of understandingwhy people believe what they believe.