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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Ethical Egoism
Posted: August 25, 2017 at 3:55 am
For journalist and author Don Lattin, the truth used to be simple, or at least it appeared to be. With capital T Truth as his professions first pursuit, Lattins spent a career diligently reporting his stories with a commitment to get at all sides of an issue. Until recently, he always wrote in the third person in hopes of providing expository and unbiased reports.
As a journalist, I am really kind of old school, Latin says. For most of my career, I was a dirty word because its not about me, its about the story.
But whether he likes it or not, Lattin acknowledges that the world of journalism is changing, and fast. Hes ber aware of the rise of the blog-o-shepre, click-bait content and opinion pieces, and he worries that, in general, journalism is becoming too egocentric.
I feel [first person reporting] is often self-indulgent, he says. At its heart, the job is to go out and do actual reporting, which is hard and expensive, but really important. So yeah, you could say I am actually concerned about the direction journalism is going.
It isnt just the macro-level changes that concern him, but specifically how the rise of pseudo-journalism might discredit the more controversial subjects of religion and psychedelics he researches. When dealing with the scientific legitimization of things like God and altered states of mind, it seems to him ever more important to maintain a line of objectivity.
Lattins latest book is a long-form investigation into the ongoing wave of scientific research and an epic attempt to offer in-depth coverage of the ongoing renaissance in psychedelic science. Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy is in essence an unbiased look at the recent history and credible prospects for using MDMA, psilocybin and ayahuasca to treat mood disorders and promote spiritual well-being.
But what started out as a straightforward journalistic pursuit got complicated when he found the scientific community was wrestling with its own questions of objectivity.
In writing the book, I found that there is a debate going on in psychedelic scientific and journalistic circles about how open people should be in talking about their own experiences, especially if you are breaking the law, Lattin says.
As a writer, what I struggled with in this book was when to get in, and when to get out, in terms of my story because it can begin to feel too self-indulgent. You want to be in it, to help the reader connect, but if youre in it too much it becomes self-indulgent.
Ultimately I thought it was important for me to experience the drugs and sacred plant medicines and to include that as a part of the narrative, although in limited measure. In the book, I am asking people to tell me very intimate details about their lives about their addictions, diseases and psychological intimacies. I felt I had to sort of do the same.
Coincidentally or not, considerations of egoism are not just prevalent in the ethical considerations of researchers, but in the nature of psychedelic experiences themselves. In treating certain psychological diseases like, psilocybin-assisted therapy for addiction is that the drugs allow people to transcend their ego.
Scientists think the mystical state achieved by consumers while on psilocybin is, essentially, ego dissolution. That is to say that, by way of the drugs, you are suddenly connected to this bigger thing through which you obtain unitive experiences, a sense of oneness and feelings of gratitude and selflessness.
To be sure, it can go the other way too, as a portion of users report feelings of grandiosity reporting feeling like everything in the world is revolving around them. According to Lattin, to which side the cookie crumbles depends on and speaks to the larger question of the whole human search for spirit thing.
Its like that Beatles song, Revolution, Lattin says. You say you want a revolution? You know, that you want to change the constitution? He pauses to laugh. Well, you know, youd better free your mind instead.
Back in my day, when I first started thinking and experiencing psychedelic culture, that was the idea, anyway before you get involved in politics you need to become more enlightened yourself. Thats all fine and good, but you risk becoming a navel gazer who is too self-indulgent.
It will be interesting to see how the psychedelic community will evolve in that way whether our conversations about evolutions in consciousness will be big enough to consider how it might change our world for the better and not just our own minds.
Clarification and correction: In last weeks column, Star power, the author said the species had no genetic precursors and that there were no near-genetic relatives of the plant. Cannabis sativa has an inconclusive taxonomic organization and evolutionary history and no definitive claims can be made to that end.
Also, Cannabis sativa is not the only plant in existence to display its gender physically as written in the column.
Posted: August 9, 2017 at 5:00 am
You may think you already know egoism; but youre probably thinking of egotismself-importance, or self-centeredness. In contrast, egoism is the philosophical view that human beings do, or should, always act for their own benefit. Both words are derived from the Latin word for I ego.
Egoism and egotism are quite different. For example, egotists often talk about themselves a lot, not listening to otherswhich makes people dislike them. In contrast, egoists might act very humbly, and pay attention to othersbecause its in their best interests to make people like them and want to treat them well. Egotism is a character trait; egoism is a philosophy.
Even so, you might think that egoists must secretly be egotistsand a lot of philosophers would agree with you. But the point is that egoism does not necessarily violate our usual notions of what is right and wrong. We will return to this questionof whether egoism implies immoralityin other sections.
In fact, some of our highest ideals in the Western worldindividual rights, freedom, and democracydepend on ideas similar to egoism. All of these philosophies depend on the idea that humans normally do or should pursue their own welfare and happiness. The problem, of course, is when your welfare conflicts with someone elsesanother point well discuss below.
But whether you think egoism is right or wrong depends a lot on what kind of egoism youre talking about. The two main kinds of egoism are quite different; descriptive egoism just claims that human being do always act for their own benefit; while normative egoism claims that we should always act for our own benefit.
The most popular variety of descriptive egoism is psychological egoism, which simply claims that whatever a human being does, the ultimate aim is self-benefit. If psychological egoism is correct, it means that even when people appear to act for others benefit, with no concern for themselveswhich is called altruismtheyre actually doing it for their own sake. It doesnt mean that anyone is necessarily trying to be deceptive, or pretending, to help others (although thats a possibility of course). Psychological egoists would say that people may act altruistically because it will be good for them in the long run, or because it makes them feel good when they do it.
There are at least two main categories of psychological egoismdesire-based and objective. The first says that humans are always doing what they desire. For example, even if you say you dont want to do your homework, you do choose to do it; you have the option to not do it, and suffer the consequences. So, you do desire to do your homeworkjust not for its own sake.
But, this kind of psychological egoism seems to be trivially true; it doesnt say why we make what choices we do.
Other kinds of psychological egoism are called objective because they claim that we are always pursuing certain objectives. Some say we always act for pleasure. Others argue that we always pursue whatever we think will bring us the most benefit.
But most philosophers have rejected psychological egoism. For one thing it is probably unprovable because it is a theory about our deepest motivationswhich are private. How could anyone prove whether you help an old lady across the street only for her sake, or because it makes you feel good about yourself? You may not be sure yourself which it is!
But that kind of example is another reason most philosophers reject psychological egoismbecause human beings really do sometimes act for the benefit of others without expecting to any reward for themselves. Altruism; well come back to this debate in section III.
Normative egoism is not about what humans do, but about what they should do. Two kinds of normative egoism are well known:
Ethical egoists may argue that you cannot know what is best for anyone but yourselfand so it is immoral to try. If you try to act in reference to other peoples interests, rather than your own, you can easily do things those people wouldnt want, mess up other peoples lives, or just violate their right to decide what happens to them, which would be immoral. Ethical egoists also might argue that human beings are dependent on one another for survival, so therefore, it is your moral obligation to take care of yourself first, so that others dont have toand so that you have the ability to take care of them. In other words, whats in your best interests is ultimately in everybodys best interests.
Which brings us to rational egoism, which assumes that we should act rationally, which is egoistically. The most famous rational egoist, the writer Ayn Rand, argued strongly against sacrificing ones own interests for others. She argued that not taking full advantage of ones own freedom is immoral because it opposes the natural fulfilment of human potential, which is the best thing for everyone in a society. For example, if I dont work as hard as possible for my own personal success, then I might fail to accomplish many things that would be good for the world.
Nevertheless, many philosophers feel that rational egoism cannot provide a basis for ethical behaviorthat it is, rather, a justification for amorality (no morality), which could be very dangerous.
In the big picture, its worth noting that egoism has been a characteristically Western philosophy since at least Aristotle. Although there were a few ancient Chinese thinkers who had egoistic ideas, in general, egoism is much harder to justify in Eastern thought, where the ego (the personal self) is an illusion that one should try to get over!
In the west, Aristotle is cited for his early contribution to egoism, in the Nicomachean Ethics, where he points out that one must act for ones own benefit in order to be a good friend, or a good citizenbecause you cant do any good for other people if youre not in good condition yourself. However, Aristotle was not really an egoist, because he believed that it was the primary value of helping others that justified helping oneself.
The main ideas of psychological egoism started popping up in Europe during the Reformation (17th century) such as in the writings of philosopher, Thomas Hobbes (see next section for a quote). Hobbes (and others) argued that all voluntary actions are, by definition, egoisticbecause they are voluntary. So, humans are always acting for their own sakes, whether they think so or not.
Many philosophers shared this view during the 18th century, supported by the rationalism of the time. But David Hume, in his Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (Appendix IIOf Self Love), set forth some well-known arguments against it. Hume said that psychological egoism denied the reality of such important human feelings as friendship, love, compassion, and gratitude. He also argued that there was no reason to try to reduce the diversity of human motivations to one simple thing. And he pointed out, as many have, that both humans and animals have been observed to act, instinctively for others sakes.
Early normative egoism is often associated with the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche whose ideas about freedom, the will, and the superman, certainly seem to support egoism, and have been used that way, but Nietzsche himself rejected egoism because, he said, being an egoist would have the opposite of the desired effect; it would set other people against you, which is bad for your own success.
The first philosophers to consider themselves egoists were Max Stirner and Henry Sidgwick in the 19th Century. But probably the most popular and controversial spokesperson for egoism was Ayn Rand, who set forth her arguments in The Virtue of Selfishness, and in novels such as Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Adapting some of Nietzsches rhetoric, Rand focused on rational egoism as a rejection of the sacrificial ethics of Christianity; she argued that it is wrong to sacrifice ones own interests for others because it is irrational: the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action and that man must act for his own rational self-interest. Thus, to her, ethical and rational egoism go together. Her perspective owes a lot to Nietzsches rejection of traditional morality and glorification of the individual will.
Over the past 30 years or so, egoism has faced stronger opposition than before because of scientific research showing that (a) humans and animals do have altruistic instincts, (b) selfish decisions are often not in your best interests, and (c) that altruistic behavior is consistent with evolution. When we were evolving, living in small tribes, most people lived around their many relatives, so doing things for others benefitaltruismcould actually spread ones own genes!
Egoism has always been a controversial theory, and we have sketched some of its debates in the previous sectionssuch as whether it can be moral or not, and whether it needs to be.
Another challenge to egoism is whether its even logically possible. Several philosophers have pointed out that it leads to self-contradictions and irresolvable conflicts. For example, Joseph Butler writes that it may be necessary to act un-selfishly in order to receive benefits, which makes egoism self-contradictory. However, we can get around this paradox by just saying that egoism is acting for long-term benefit.
A bigger problem for psychological egoism is that some behavior just doesnt seem egoistic in any sense. Say a soldier throws himself on a grenade to prevent others from being killed. Its hard to say how that could be in the soldiers selfish interests! Hes not going to benefit from it in the long run, or even be able to enjoy the feeling of being a good person. Egoists might argue that the soldier is deceiving himself if he thinks he acted selflessly; perhaps he was sub-consciously motivated to avoid feeling guilty if he didnt sacrifice himself. But then again, feeling that kind of guilt depends on having non-egoistic motivations, doesnt it? An egoist could also argue that since the soldier made a free decision to jump on the grenade, he was, by definition, following his own desires. However, that argument seems like a cop-out; it avoids resolving the question of why the soldier did it.
The major controversy about normative (ethical or rational) egoism is, of course, whether it can be truly ethical at all, since almost all people agree that an ethical system must encourage us to act for the benefit of other human beings. The main points of debate are whether it is desirable or possible to act selflessly, and whether rational selfishness is or is not really the best thing for others. The answers to these questions depend on answers to many other questions: how interdependent are human beings? Is individual freedom more important than social stability? Is individuality an illusion? So, this debate will doubtless not soon be settled!
Ethics has to recognize the truth, recognized in unethical thought, that egoism comes before altruism. The acts required for continued self-preservation, including the enjoyments of benefits achieved by such arts, are the first requisites to universal welfare. Unless each duly cares for himself, his care for all others is ended in death, and if each thus dies there remain no others to be cared for. Herbert Spencer
In this argument for ethical egoism, Herbert Spencer, a 19th century British philosopher, seems to echo Aristotles original justification for some degree of egoismthat a person needs to take care of their own needs and happiness before they can take care of others. Often accused of inconsistency, Spencer was an egoist who also believed that human beings have a natural sense of empathy and should care for each other, although at the same time, he believed that altruism was a relatively recent development in humans.
What interest can a fond mother have in view, who loses her health by assiduous attendance on her sick child, and afterwards languishes and dies of grief, when freed, by its death [the childs], from the slavery of that attendance? David Hume
Hume, a famous opponent of psychological realism, here gives an example that demonstrates several of his arguments against egoism. Hume pointed out that human beings have certain innate non-egoist instincts, such as the compulsion of a mother to sacrifice herself for her children. And even if she does so, selfishly, in order to feel good herself, that doesnt explain why she dies of grief after her child dies.
Altruism is the opposite of egoism the motivation or practice of doing things to benefit others, without expecting any benefit for oneself. However, most of the debates about egoism and altruism are not about whether its good to benefit others or not, which almost everyone agrees on, but whether egoism or altruism are actually beneficial, or even possible.
Just as psychological egoism could be rejected on the basis that its impossible to prove peoples motivations, many philosophers have questioned whether it is possible to prove altruistic motivations either. As descriptions of human nature, egoism and altruism seem to compete on equal grounds; you can pretty much always argue that any action was really motivated by egoism or really altruism, but you cant prove it.
As normative philosophies, about what people should do, most philosophers agree that ethical behavior is behavior which is good for people in generalso you might assume that altruism should win automatically. But there are some pretty good arguments that altruistic action depends on egoist motivations; you might not help that old lady cross the street if you didnt care about feeling good about yourself. And egoists may argue that its immoral to decide whats in other peoples best interests. On the side of altruism is the universal belief that morality means being good to others and the evidence that empathy, compassion, and altruism are natural instincts.
Many popular films feature egoist villainssociopaths who pursue their own gain without regard for others. But Heath Ledgers Joker in Christopher Nolans Dark Knight goes further. Late in the movie he actually sets up a version of The Prisoners Dilemmaa scenario from game theory which philosophers have used to explore the egoism versus altruism debate. The Joker intends to prove to all that his view of human naturepsychological egoismis true. He believes that one or both boats will try to blow up the other one in order to save their own lives, according to the Jokers rulesbut they refuse to cooperate, seemingly proving that humans are not entirely egoistic. Throughout the film, the Joker represents the egoist view as he repeatedly exploits his enemies egoism. But in the end, Batman supposedly demonstrates that altruism is real by taking the fall for a politician he doesnt even likefor the good of the people of Gotham.
Both of the Star Trek films featuring Khan, Captain Kirks worst enemy, explore the consequences of egoist versus altruist views. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, we learn that Khans murderous anger towards humanity is partly a result of Captain Kirks earlier action of marooning Khan and his people on a then hospitable planetwhich later suffered an environmental disaster killing most of Khans people. This is a clear illustration of the ethical egoists claim that trying to act in others interests may be immoral. Furthermore, Kirks failure to check up on Khan on the planet suggests that Kirk was not really acting altruistically, but rather egoistically, supporting the views of psychological egoism. Meanwhile, Khan believes that he has a natural right to dominate, based on his superior intellect and strength, a view commonly associated with rational egoism and Ayn Rand. Of course in the end, Mr. Spock demonstrates altruism by sacrificing himself to save the rest of the Enterprise crew, repeating an idea clearly meant to prove that altruism is more rational than egoismthe needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
Posted: July 28, 2017 at 7:03 pm
One of the smartest people that ever lived, Albert Einstein, wasnt just a scientific genius; he was also one of the 20th centurys strongest peace advocates.
Einstein believed that, if there had been a stronger alliance of countries against fascism in the 1930s, the World War of the 1940s would have been prevented. Because of this, Einstein was a strong advocate of the abolition of war through the creation of a world government composed of nations that shared their military forces in order to prevent nationalist nations from starting wars. What follows are excerpts from some of his writings about peace
Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. You cannot subjugate a nation forcibly unless you wipe out every man, woman, and child. Unless you wish to use such drastic measures, you must find a way of settling your disputes without resort to arms.
If unrestricted egoism leads to dire consequences in our economic life, it is still worse as a guide in international relations. Only the absolute repudiation of war can be of any use here. Without disarmament there can be no lasting peace.
The opposition to this unquestionably necessary advance lies in the unhappy traditions of the people which are passed on like an inherited disease from generation to generation because of our faulty educational machines. Of course the main supports of this tradition are military training and the larger industries.
This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. How despicable and ignoble war is. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder. Is it not terrible to be forced by the community to deeds which every individual feels to be most despicable crimes? Only a few have had the moral greatness to resist; they are in the true heroes.
A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. In the light of new knowledge, a world authority and an eventual world state are not just desirable in the name of brotherhood, they are necessary for survival. Today we must abandon competition and secure cooperation. Past thinking and methods did not prevent world wars. Future thinking must prevent wars.
Taken on the whole, I would believe that Gandhis views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit… not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in what we believe is evil.
The way to joyful and happy existence is everywhere through renunciation and self-limitation. Where can the strength of such a process come from? Only from those who have had the chance in their early years to fortify their minds and broaden their outlook through study. Only if the statesmen have, to urge them forward, the will to peace of a decisive majority in their respective countries, can they arrive at their important goal. It is not the task of the individual who lives in this critical time merely to await results and to criticize. He must serve this great cause as well as he can.
We have emerged from a world war in which we had to accept the degradingly low ethical standards of the enemy. But instead of feeling liberated from his standards, and set free to restore the sanctity of human life and the safety of noncombatants, we are in effect making the low standards of the enemy in the last war our own. Unless Americans come to recognize that they are not stronger in the world because they have the bomb, but weaker because of their vulnerability to atomic attack, they are not likely to conduct their policy in a spirit that furthers the arrival at an understanding.
Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace was established in 1972. For more information on the organization, go to http://www.gvcp.org. The preceding essay is the result of a collaboration among several GVCP members.
Posted: July 27, 2017 at 10:11 am
Over thirty million copies of English-language editions of Ayn Rands books have been sold since the 1940s, with many more in dozens of other languages, and sales have not slowed down . This articles sub-title captures the heart of why her workespecially her fictionhas enduring appeal, despite academia and the popular press being generally…
Over thirty million copies of English-language editions of Ayn Rands books have been sold since the 1940s, with many more in dozens of other languages, and sales have not slowed down . This articles sub-title captures the heart of why her workespecially her fictionhas enduring appeal, despite academia and the popular press being generally hostile even to the mention of her name. The quotation appears in the last part of The Fountainhead, Rands 1943 novel that put her on the cultural map. A young man recently graduated from college rides his bicycle through the hills of Pennsylvania, wondering whether life is worth living and whether he should pursue his dream of being a composer. He longs to see others achievements as tangible products of their quest for happiness, if only to see that its possible. Suddenly, he is confronted with a newly finished summer home community that seems to spring organically from the sides of the hills. He notices a man perched on a boulder who serenely gazes over the beautiful homes in the valley below. After finding out that the manHoward Roarkis the architect responsible for the scene before them, he thanks Roark and confidently rides off into his future armed with the courage to face a lifetime.
Many readers have been inspired by these words, amazed at the story unfolding before their eyes. Its unusual to encounter literature that embodies such benevolent, life-affirming values. This is an extraordinary kind of Heros Journey. Filled not only with heroes meeting challenges with the assistance of friends against ones foes, it also contains the message that philosophy mattersfor everyone. How well or poorly your life goes depends on whether you hold the right ideas or not. The Fountainheadas well as Rands 1957 magnum opus, Atlas Shruggedpaints a world where happiness and joy are attainable through using ones mind to pursue ones passion with integrity and to face and overcome obstacles with reality-oriented determination. Its a universe where achievement is possible; self-esteem is earned through productive work; and voluntary interactions foster intensely rewarding personal, social, and professional relationships. And its a reality that any person can choose to help create every day of ones life.
“Rand’s work contains the message that philosophy mattersfor everyone. How well or poorly your life goes depends on whether you hold the right ideas or not.” ___
Journeying through the rest of Rands corpusher fiction as well as her non-fiction philosophy, which she named Objectivismis challenging and rewarding. The essentials of Objectivism are: reality exists, we can know reality objectively through our senses and the use of reason, ones own happiness is ones highest moral purpose (egoism), limited government is justified only for the protection of individual rights, people should be free to trade the fruits of their work (capitalism), and the purpose of art is to project and experience in concrete form ones vision of life. Many people have been engaged and inspired by these ideas, ideally using them as springboards for further thought about whats true and how best to live. There are also many who reject Rands ideas, though few of those have bothered to read her work carefully (or at all) before passing judgment on it.
A small sample of vitriol hurled at Rands work in popular media includes: complete lack of charity; execrable claptrap and a personality as compelling as a sledge hammer; crackpot . . . an historical anachronism and a wretched novelist; an absurd philosophy and a total crock.  Both supporters and detractors of her work have also noted the derision that many philosophers have for it, dismissing her work contemptuously on the basis of hearsay or laugh[ing] out of the room anyone bringing up her name . Add to the vitriol some of the oft-repeated myths about Rands views:
(1) She is Conservative and high priestess of the acute Right on the American political spectrum. 
(2) She takes Nietzschean individualism to an extreme. 
(3) In upholding selfishness, individuals should never care about anyone else, even regarding them as totally expendable tools to be manipulated. At best, charity or benevolence is a minor virtue. 
(4) She was an unabashed apologist for dog-eat-dog capitalism, allowing the rich to cozy up to government in plutocratic fashion. 
The ad hominem attacks above are best brushed aside into the dustbin of history. Mischaracterizations can be dispelled by examining Rands work for what it says. First, Rands views dont fit neatly into either the political Right or Left. She was a radical for individual rights who rejected the false dichotomy between personal and economic freedom, and rejected being labeled Conservative or Libertarian. A portion of the Rightnamely, some Libertarians and Tea Party membershave supported parts of Rands theory. However, a staunch anti-religion naturalist, she angers many on the Right by defending rights to abortion, free speech, and drugs regardless of her own stance on the moral worth of those activities. She angers the Left even more by opposing welfare-state redistribution and defending rights to private property and keeping ones income. 
“Rands defense of capitalism is grounded in her view of egoism. We each need to create the material and spiritual values needed to live as humans. We gain immeasurably through exchanging values voluntarily with others.” ___
Regarding the second myth, Rand read some of Friedrich Nietzsches works when she was in college. She undeniably shares with him a polemical writing style and acknowledges that she admires his sense of mans potential for greatness. This is stated at the same time, though, as Rand expresses her profound disagreement with what she sees as Nietzsches mysticism, irrationalism, subordination of reason to the will-to-power, and malevolent view of the world.  Her greatest intellectual debt is owed instead to Aristotlemetaphysical and epistemological realist and defender of reason and virtue ethicswho she regarded as the greatest of all philosophers. 
The third myth vanishes when we examine Rands version of egoism. An egoist is one who regards oneself as the ultimatenot the onlybeneficiary of ones actions. Heroes in all of Rands novels risk their lives for the sake of valuesincluding other peoplethey hold dear. She defends ones choice to assist strangers in emergency and everyday contexts out of good will toward other living beings, so long as doing so is not a sacrificial duty that jeopardizes ones well-being. Rand even dubs as psychopaths those who are totally indifferent to anything living.  How does this square with egoism? It begins with a proper conception of the self. We are human beingsnot animalswith a reasoning mind to be integrated with ones emotions. Goals worth pursuing for ones long-term survival can be achieved only in certain ways, namely, by exercising virtues such as rationality, productiveness, pride, independence, integrity, honesty, and justice. These virtues demand the best of our selves, precluding the initiation of force against other persons or attempts to gain benefits from them through deceit or fraud. 
The fourth myth has been the most persistent, for defending capitalism on moral grounds requires fighting against millennia of prejudice against money-making. Think, for example, of the Biblical proverb of how its easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to gain entrance to Heaven or how Shylock is scorned for making money on loans in Shakespeares The Merchant of Venice. Rands defense of capitalism is grounded in her view of egoism. We each need to create the material and spiritual values needed to live as humans. We gain immeasurably through exchanging values voluntarily with others. Rand calls this the trader principle. Those who seek to gain resources through coercive meansthe ones Rand depicts as villains in her novelsare either private criminals or political cronies who violate individual rights. Genuine businessmen dont seek political favors or otherwise subvert the rule of law. When free to trade voluntarily, they innovate, produce job opportunities, and increase living standards. In short, they create wealth by applying their minds to the task of living, leading to win-win outcomes. 
“President Donald Trump is an alleged Ayn Rand acolyte”, but being a fan of Rands work is not the same as understanding her views, applying them properly, or living up to them consistently in ones own life.” ___
It should be apparent by now why so many people find Rands work appealing. Her views, thoughlike any otherscan and should be scrutinized, critiqued, and developed where needed. Philosophers who have taken her work seriously disagree about how to understand some of Rands key ideas. For example, there are rival interpretations of what she means by the claim that our ultimate aim is life, or survival as man qua man, and whether this is equivalent to eudaimonism, the view that flourishing (which centrally involves virtue) is our ultimate aim.  Some eudaimonists argue that virtue, not life, is the ultimate value and that it might conflict with egoism, which would create problems for Rands ethical theory. More than anything, though, Rands philosophical system is under-developed in some ways. She herself refers to her non-fiction collections as outlines, previews, and introductions to material that she had intended to write book-length treatments of (though she didnt end up doing so). 
Having addressed some of the most significant misunderstandings of Objectivism, we can ask: What accounts for the persistent hostility and misrepresentation? The reasons are several. Some people might assume that such depictions accurately represent Rands views, and then they repeat those falsehoods. Such individuals can instead withhold comment until dispelling their ignorance of the source rather than rely on someone elses judgments about it.
Others read Rands work and disagree partially or entirely with her views. This is unsurprising, given that she challenges many sacred cows, including religion, altruism, determinism, collectivism, and subjectivism. While a relative few in this category engage in fair and honest discussion about her ideas , many either misunderstand Rand and end up mischaracterizing her views or willfully misrepresent them to dissuade others from taking her seriously. Its unfortunately easier to demonize ones opponents than to argue with them.
For others, their rejection of Rand is based less on the content of her views than on her sense of life. Its fashionable, especially among academics and public intellectuals, to be jaded, cynical, and ironic. Rands workwith its hallmarks of benevolence and heroismthankfully exhibits none of these. It instead offers a spirit of youthful optimism that provides resilience needed to achieve a good life and endure with grace lifes unavoidable challenges. In addition, professional philosophers are put off by Rands dearth of footnotes and bibliographical apparatus as well as her non-analytic, polemical style that attacks others views with little exposition of them.
“Whether one agrees with Rands provocative views or not, its valuable for philosophers to take them seriously and study them carefully. Her theory provides a systematic alternative to other schools of thought and challenges the academys conventional wisdom to keep us on our intellectual toes” ___
Yet others, who claim to be fans or supporters of Rands work, accidentally contribute to perpetuating falsehoods about her views. One need only look to a list of some prominent politicians and entrepreneurs to see this phenomenon. For example, President Donald Trump is an alleged Ayn Rand acolyte, accused of stack[ing] his cabinet with fellow Objectivists, such as Rex Tillerson and Michael Pompeo. In addition, Travis Kalanicks ignominious fall from the heights of Uber CEO-hood has been described as the latest Icarus-like plunge of a prominent Rand follower, and Andrew Pudzer, an avid Ayn Rand reader, withdrew from his nomination as Secretary of Labor due to allegations of worker mistreatment at his fast-food chains . These individuals may have been inspired by reading Rands works to follow their lifes path. However, one is hard-pressed to call any of them Objectivists, since they either reject key tenets of Rands theory by being religious or have chosen to act in some ways antithetical to it by cutting crony deals or performing other vicious deeds. Being a fan of Rands work is not the same as understanding her views, applying them properly, or living up to them consistently in ones own life. There are plenty of good people living their lives in a principled waywhether as CEOs, teachers, or mechanicswho have been inspired by Rands ideas. Their moral decency doesnt make headline news, though.
Whether one agrees with Rands provocative views or not, its valuable for philosophers to take them seriously and study them carefully. Her theory provides a systematic alternative to other schools of thought and challenges the academys conventional wisdom to keep us on our intellectual toes. She reframes traditional philosophical questions in ways that cut through what she considers to be false dichotomies: mind/body, reason/emotion, moral/practical, duty/utility, intrinsic/subjective, nature/nurture. This leaves conceptual space to offer and defend a third way on a range of significant philosophical issues.
Rand offers Objectivism as a philosophy for living, not just contemplating, not just existing and getting by. We have minds equipped to deal with the world, a world where we can be efficacious. So long as there are individuals committed to their own happiness, voluntary cooperation, reaching for the best within themselves, and creating the social and political institutions needed for achieving these values in a free and responsible way, Rands work will continue to speak to countless numbers of people in all walks of life. But dont take myor anyone elsesword for it. Exercise the virtue of independence and read Rands work for yourself. Youll see firsthand what the enduring appeal is all about.
 Allan Gotthelf and Gregory Salmieri, eds., A Companion to Ayn Rand (Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2016), p. 15 n. 1.
 Bruce Cook, Ayn Rand: A Voice in the Wilderness, Catholic World, vol. 201 (May 1965), p. 121; John Kobler, The Curious Cult of Ayn Rand, The Saturday Evening Post (November 11, 1961), p. 99; Dora Jane Hamblin, The Cult of Angry Ayn Rand, Life (April 7, 1967), p. 92; Geoffrey James, Top 10 Reasons Ayn Rand Was Dead Wrong, CBS News Moneywatch (September 16, 2010), accessed online at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/top-10-reasons-ayn-rand-was-dead-wrong/.
 Neera Badhwar and Roderick Long, Ayn Rand, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (September 19, 2016), accessed online at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/; James Stewart, As a Guru, Ayn Rand May Have Limits. Ask Travis Kalanick, The New York Times (July 13, 2017), accessed online at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/business/ayn-rand-business-politics-uber-kalanick.html.
 Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Psyching Out Ayn Rand, Ms. (September 1978), p. 24. See also, e.g., Jonathan Chait, Wealthcare: Ayn Rand and the Invincible Cult of Selfishness on the American Right, New Republic (September 14, 2009), accessed online at: https://newrepublic.com/article/69239/wealthcare-0; Jennifer Burns, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 4.
 Stewart, As a Guru, Ayn Rand May Have Limits. See also, e.g., Gene Bell-Villada, On Nabakov, Ayn Rand, and the Libertarian Mind (Newcastle on Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013), chap. 5.
 See James, Top 10 Reasons Ayn Rand Was Dead Wrong, Skikha Dalmia, Where Ayn Rand Went Wrong, Forbes (November 4, 2009), accessed online at: https://www.forbes.com/2009/11/03/where-ayn-rand-went-wrong-opinions-columnists-shikha-dalmia.html, and Michael Huemer, Why I Am Not an Objectivist, accessed online at: http://www.owl232.net/rand.htm, for the former view, and Badhwar and Long, Ayn Rand, for the latter.
 Gerald Jonas, Reviewed This Week (four sci-fi novels), The New York Times (August 30, 1998), accessed online at: http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/08/30/reviews/980830.30scifit.html. See also, e.g., James, Top 10 Reasons Ayn Rand Was Dead Wrong and James Hohmann, The Daily 202: Ayn Rand Acolyte Donald Trump Stacks His Cabinet with Fellow Objectivists, The Washington Post (December 13, 2016), accessed online at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2016/12/13/daily-202-ayn-rand-acolyte-donald-trump-stacks-his-cabinet-with-fellow-objectivists/584f5cdfe9b69b36fcfeaf3b/?utm_term=.d56b46b8c78c.
 Rands public policy views are scattered over dozens of essays, but a general synthesis can be found in John David Lewis and Gregory Salmieri, A Philosopher on Her Times, in Gotthelf and Salmieri, A Companion to Ayn Rand, pp. 351-402.
 Ayn Rand, Introduction, in her The Fountainhead, 25th anniversary ed. (New York: New American Library, 1968), p. x.
 Ayn Rand, The Objectivist Ethics, in her The Virtue of Selfishness (New York: Signet, 1964), p. 14.
 Ayn Rand, The Ethics of Emergencies, in Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness, pp. 43-44.
 Rand, The Objectivist Ethics, pp. 22-32.
 See Rand, The Objectivist Ethics, pp. 32-34, and Ayn Rand, What Is Capitalism? and Americas Persecuted Minority: Big Business, in her Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (New York: Signet, 1966), pp. 11-34 and 44-62.
 See, e.g., Allan Gotthelf, The Morality of Life, in Gotthelf and Salmieri, A Companion to Ayn Rand, pp. 73-104; Gregory Salmieri, Egoism and Altruism, in Gotthelf and Salmieri, A Companion to Ayn Rand, pp. 130-56; Neera Badhwar, Well-Being: Happiness in a Worthwhile Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014); Lester Hunt, Flourishing Egoism, Social Philosophy and Policy, vol. 16, no. 1 (1999), pp. 72-95; and Roderick Long, Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Ayn Rand (Poughkeepsie, NY: Objectivist Center, 2000).
 The task of developing Objectivist-inspired work that interprets and fleshes out lacunae in Rands system falls to others. See, e.g., Tara Smith, Ayn Rands Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Tara Smith, Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015); and Allan Gotthelf and James Lennox, eds., Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge: Reflections on Objectivist Epistemology (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). All of these works engage with the wider philosophical literature in ways that Rand did not.
 One such exception is an excellent piece by John Piper; see his The Ethics of Ayn Rand: Appreciation and Critique, Desiring God (June 1, 1979; revised October 9, 2007), accessed online at: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-ethics-of-ayn-rand. A Christian who thinks that Rand is mistaken about rejecting theism, Piper nonetheless offers a careful, nuanced articulation of her ethical egoism. Would that all critics were to take such care with the views of their interlocutors.
 Hohmann, The Daily 202: Ayn Rand Acolyte Donald Trump Stacks His Cabinet with Fellow Objectivists; Stewart, As A Guru, Ayn Rand May Have Limits.
The rest is here:
Posted: July 17, 2017 at 4:01 am
Choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed. Deuteronomy 30:19 (The Israel Bible)
IDF medics operate a field hospital of injured Syrians near Israels northern border. (IDF Blog)
For the first time in Israels history, top surgeons throughout Israel and the Israel Defense Force (IDF) gathered to learn a new medical technique which stops bleeding in cases of trauma without an incision. Trauma specialists from South Africa, the US and Sweden came to the Holy Land to teach and demonstrate the groundbreaking procedure. The workshop took place on Kibbutz Lahav in Israels southern region, with eighty medical personnel in attendance.
LIBI USA is honored to have sponsored this trailblazing three-day workshop which will, no doubt, save lives in Israel and worldwide, shared Dr. John A.I. Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, the official welfare fund of the IDF, with Breaking Israel News. It was also a unique opportunity for medical professionals to unite in Israel, as saving lives is a Jewish and Israeli priority.
Dr. Grossman referred to the Biblical commandment of pikuach nefesh, the preservation of human life. This commandment, derived from the Book of Leviticus, is so basic to Judaism is that it takes precedence over all others.
So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them. Leviticus 18:5
The Talmud emphasizes that one should live by the commandments, not die by them. One who is zealous in saving a life is praised and one who hesitates to save a life is considered as one who has shed the persons blood themselves, which the sages describe as piety of madness. In fact, to save and preserve a life, one must desecrate the Sabbath and even eat on the fast day of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.
This is a new technique which requires specialized training in a controlled setting to master, explained Colonel (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin, Director of the Trauma Unit and Preparedness of Mass Casualty Events at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and Commander of the IDF Field Hospital and General Staffs Surgical Hospital Unit, to Breaking Israel News. We are truly grateful to Dr. Grossman and LIBI USA for funding these life-saving workshops as simulated trauma scenarios with the use of REBOA are crucial to master this new technique.
Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta, or REBOA, is used when a person is rapidly bleeding to death. It involves the placement of a flexible catheter balloon into the aorta to control haemorrhaging in traumatic injuries and then inflating the balloon, which stops the bleeding.
The head of the Trauma and Combat Medicine Branch for the IDF, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Avraham Yitzhak, was part of the team of experts learning and assessing the effectiveness and practicality of using REBOA on Israeli soldier trauma victims. This important workshop united civilian and army surgeons to train in the cutting edge REBOA technology. Because of this workshop, the IDF might have an additional way to save lives, Dr. Yitzhak told Breaking Israel News. We are grateful to LIBI USA for sponsoring these days.
Dr. Yitzhak also discussed the IDFs commitment to pikuach nefesh. IDF physicians have three levels of oaths they take concerning the saving of lives, he said. We have the Hippocratic Oath, which every doctor in the world is obligated to uphold. In addition, we have the Oath of Maimonides and the oath of the Israeli Medical Corp, My Brothers Keeper.
The essence of the Oath of Maimonides, named for its originator, a 12th century scholar of Jewish law and philosophy, is to watch over the life and health of Gods creatures without egoism.
The essence of the Israeli Medics Oath is that medics will give everything, including their own lives, for the State of Israel and its people and will treat friend or foe alike, in all conditions, and never leave anyone in the field.
In Israel, we tend to be busy with trying to live fulfilling lives or dieing at the hands of our enemies, shared Dr. Yitzhak. IDF medics risk their lives to give correct care to everyone, including wounded Syrians across our border, humanitarian aid to people all over the world and even medical care to our enemies.
Unfortunately, we havent taken the time and arent good at explaining to the world how ethical, moral and valuing of life we are. This workshop helps to build that knowledge worldwide and gain life-saving skills in addition.
To donate to LIBI USA and support the IDF, please visit here.
Posted: June 30, 2017 at 5:04 pm
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Posted: June 25, 2017 at 2:01 pm
In a city of glass, where people who are just Numbers living in glass-brick houses, and everyones daily routine is determined by the Tables of the Hours set down by the Well-Doer, one particular Number, D-503, is developing a dangerous affliction. He is nurturing a soul. This could put his life and that of his loved ones in mortal danger, because in this future One State, where logic rules, sex is rationed and love banned, a budding soul is an indication of developing individuality and separateness. But the state believes: nobody is one, but one of. We are so alike…
We, Yevgeny Zamyatins chilling account of a future world state ruled by Reason is arguably one of the granddads of dystopia. Initially available as secret samizdat editions (1921) in the erstwhile Soviet Union, the book was smuggled out of USSR and first appeared in English in 1924 published by EP Dutton, New York. The novel was an immediate hit in western intellectual circles though its author, under attack from Soviet authorities, had to seek exile in France where he died in poverty. Here perhaps for the first time, fiction had engaged head on with the imagined workings of a totalitarian dictatorship in a manner never attempted before.
But did dystopian fiction really hit the road with Zamyatins We? Leaving aside the academic argument that any fictional work about a utopia has the elements of a dystopia embedded in it and that such writing about a utopia takes us back all the way to Platos Republic and Thomas Mores Utopia, let us look at this snippet from a short story written in 1891 by the well-known humorist author Jerome Klapka Jerome. A man has woken up from 1000-year-long sleep, and finds himself in London where he needs a bath:
No; we are not allowed to wash ourselves. You must wait until half-past four, and then you will be washed for tea. Be washed! I cried. Who by?
The State. He said that they had found they could not maintain their equality when people were allowed to wash themselves. Some people washed three or four times a day, while others never touched soap and water from one years end to the other, and in consequence there got to be two distinct classes, the Clean and the Dirty.
This story about London, 1,000 years after a socialist revolution, is a snapshot introduction to dystopia, where the best laid plans for a state of equality have resulted in completely undesirable consequences. Jeromes story seems to have influenced and inspired the anti-utopian fiction that followed.
A running theme and essentially what lies at the heart of all dystopian writing is the conflict of freedom and happiness. In Zamyatins book, the government of the One State (United State in Zilboorgs translation) has curtailed all freedoms. A poet talking about paradise tells the character D-503 how Adam and Eve were offered a choice between happiness without freedom, and freedom without happiness, and how they stupidly chose the latter. The government of the One State claims to have restored this lost happiness to its subjects.
Its a pity that this mighty little book is hardly ever discussed in this country. Our introduction to dystopian fiction has been through the works of two British authors Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. Some would of course mention here Jack Londons The Iron Heel, popular in the last century and of which a Bengali translation also exists. But for most others, it is the prophetic vision of Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four which between them, introduced us to the dystopian tradition a kind of writing, increasingly popular in our present times, when we always seem to be a step away from the scary possibilities of an anti-utopia.
Huxleys novel, published in 1932, which ended up in some of the top reading lists of our times, presents us with a nightmarish vision of a distant future where genetic modification, hypnopaedia and Pavlovian conditioning have created a caste-system based on intelligence and aptitude. The uncanny clairvoyance of this work and its literary brilliance have ensured its place in the pantheon of dystopia before which all practitioners of this form pay obeisance or offer a hat tip.
Numerous works come to mind and it could be a literary detectives favourite pastime to spot traces of Brave New World in the works of Margaret Atwood, to hear its echo in a scene from David Mitchell or perhaps to remember, while reading Doris Lessings Mara and Dann, how those bands of men in post ice age Ifrik (Africa) who all looked the same, resemble Huxleys Bokanovsky groups of individuals created from single embryos.
True to the dystopian school, the question of freedom versus happiness is also central to Huxleys plot. There we find a primitive world of freedom and instincts existing within the ordered dystopia of the World State, in an electric-fenced New Mexican reservation from which we get John or The Savage, one of the principal characters of the book. Again, in one of many poignant scenes of this novel, the sleep-learning specialist, Bernard Marx and the foetus technician, Lenina Crowne, hover over the dark frothing waves of the English channel in their helicopter, and Lenina says:
I dont know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybodys happy nowadays.
Yes, Everybodys happy nowadays. We begin giving the children that at five. But wouldnt you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody elses way.
Quite obviously the similarities between We and Brave New World are not hard to find and in fact, while reviewing Zamyatins book, George Orwell went so far as to say Huxleys novel might have been partly derived from We, which Huxley later denied.
In fact this equally applies to Nineteen Eighty-Four, which seems to have drawn quite a bit of inspiration from the Russian novelist. Charringtons antique shop and the shabby little room upstairs which has preserved an old world charm seems to echo the Antique House in Zamyatins We, just as the character OBrien, who pretends to be a member of the secret Brotherhood working against Big Brother in Nineteen Eighty-Four reminds us of the character S-4711, one of the Guardians in We. But the DNA of dystopian fiction has many common sources and certain foundational themes, so it is nothing out of the ordinary to discover traits of one work in the storyline or characters of another.
Orwells Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949, a book stamped for ever in the psyche of all freedom-loving individuals, was set in the dehumanised totalitarian state of Oceania ruled by Big Brother. Here the protagonist Winston Smith works at the Ministry of Truth, which is responsible for propaganda. Similarly the Ministry of Peace is responsible for War while the Ministry of Love conducts torture and maintains law and order.
Surveillance, the cruelty of the state and the Partys quest for absolute power are the running themes of Orwells novel, which brings it closer to Zamyatins We, while the dystopia of Brave New World, milder on the surface but with an ending equally dehumanising, is managed through genetic engineering, mental conditioning, fostering of consumerism and the use of the magic drug soma.
Like the other two books, Nineteen Eighty-four also delves into the freedom-versus-happiness question. As the protagonist Winston Smith is incarcerated and tortured in the chambers of the Ministry of Love by the large and burly OBrien, who is an Inner Party member, many thoughts pass through his mind:
He knew in advance what OBrien would say. That the Party did not seek power for its own ends, but only for the good of the majority. That it sought power because men in the mass were frail cowardly creatures who could not endure liberty or face the truth, and must be ruled over and systematically deceived by others who were stronger than themselves. That the choice for mankind lay between freedom and happiness, and that, for the great bulk of mankind, happiness was better.
Greater good and happiness have almost always been the guiding principle for utopias which have often morphed into dystopias depending on what we are looking for. In her essay about Brave New World, Margaret Atwood lucidly illustrates this point when she writes:
Brave New World is either a perfect-world utopia or its nasty opposite, a dystopia, depending on your point of view: its inhabitants are beautiful, secure and free from diseases and worries, though in a way we like to think we would find unacceptable.
In our present times when the assaults on freedom by despots, increased surveillance from the humble CCTVs to the Five Eyes Alliance, climate change and its looming dangers, new gene technologies and the frankenfood threat and above all runaway consumerism have pushed us closer to dystopian scenarios, we find Huxley and Orwell drawing hordes of readers. Let us take a little time to look back at these three foundational works of a robust literary tradition.
A few weeks ago a certain method of ante-natal care with its roots in ayurveda, championed by the Garbh Vigyan Sanskar project of Arogya Bharati, was in the news for promising the best babies in the world. This drew the criticism it deserves. Critics cited ethical issues and lack of scientific knowledge but the fact remains that genetic engineering has reached a stage where we are only a few decades away from creating so-called designer babies using methods like Easy PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis). Brave New World naturally comes to mind as does Margaret Atwoods works.
It is the year 632 AF (After Ford), Henry Ford having acquired a god-like stature, we are in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre where humans are produced in bottles, and, using various techniques right from the embryonic stage, are predesigned to be intelligent, stupid, morons, hard workers and so on.
The opening chapter sets the tone with powerful descriptions that blend scientific language with evocative use of words. The Director of the London Hatchery, Thomas, is showing some students the facilities for storing bottled embryos which are subjected to various shocks, chemical stimulations and processes that will slot them into lives of Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas or Epsilons the lowest in the caste rank:
And in effect the sultry darkness into which the students now followed him was visible and crimson, like the darkness of closed eyes on a summers afternoon. The bulging flanks of row on receding row and tier above tier of bottles glinted with innumerable rubies, and among the rubies moved the dim red spectres of men and women with purple eyes and all the symptoms of lupus. The hum and rattle of machinery faintly stirred the air.
The story is plotted at one level around the conflicts between the Alpha-plus sleep-learning specialist Bernard Marx and Thomas, the Director. Everyone feels that there is something wrong with Bernards conditioning because he is not reconciled to his destiny of a super-intelligent Alpha like the others. He doesnt enjoy wasteful games like Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy, is averse to promiscuous sex which is the norm, and is not happy with his condition, unlike other citizens of the World State. The Director has warned him a few times, threatening to send him off on exile to Iceland but things havent changed.
At this juncture Bernard and the foetus technician Lenina go on a holiday to the New Mexican reservation of Malpais where, they come across the ageing Linda and her son, the yellow haired John (the Savage), among the villagers. It turns out that John the Savage is the Director Thomas naturally born child. Thomas had abandoned Linda after he lost her in a storm while on a visit to the reservation.
The hard contours of a dystopian society do not yield easily to the literary approach but Brave New World is a master class in how it should be done. With its carefully etched characters, the scintillating wit, a brilliant mix of irony and laughter, and the well-oiled engine of a plot centred on the tensions between Thomas, Bernard and Lenina, this book easily surpasses the other two in literary qualities if not also in the diamond-edge of its satire.
Bernard sees an opportunity to teach the Director a lesson. He brings John and Linda back to London with him where, in a hilarious scene, the Savage, runs and falls on his knees before the Director and a roomful of Hatchery workers:
…John! she called. John!
He came in at once, paused for a moment just inside the door, looked round, then soft on his moccasined feet strode quickly across the room, fell on his knees in front of the Director, and said in a clear voice: My father!
The word (for father was not so much obscene as with its connotation of something at one remove from the loathsomeness and moral obliquity of child-bearing merely gross, a scatological rather than a pornographic impropriety); the comically smutty word relieved what had become a quite intolerable tension. Laughter broke out, enormous, almost hysterical, peal after peal, as though it would never stop. My father and it was the Director! My father! Oh Ford, oh Ford!
John The Savage, who has read only one book in his life The Complete Works of William Shakespeare becomes somewhat of a celebrity; an oddity in fact for his language is peppered with the quotes from the Bard, in Londons elite circles. But he finds the life of this brave new world, quoting from Shakespeares The Tempest, hard to digest, falls in love with Lenina, openly incites rebellion by throwing away soma rations, and finally meets a sad end.
In his Foreword to a new edition of the book written in 1946, Huxley wrote that if he would write the book again he would give the Savage a third option between the primitive Indian reservation of New Mexico and the utopian London. This would be in a place of decentralised economics, human-centric science, cooperation and the pursuit of mans Final End. Such a society he did attempt to portray in his last book, Island, which never climbed the heights of Brave New World.
Orwells novel, unlike Huxleys, foregrounds the harshness of totalitarian rule and the political philosophy that begets such a monster. While the Huxleian dystopia is a sort of soma-infused, predestination-soaked, pseudo-paradise, in Orwells Oceania and Airstrip One (England) deadly torture and surveillance by the Thought Police (which is always on the lookout for thoughtcrime) helps to maintain public order.
There is continuous war among the three world powers, Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, and rocket bombs fall now and then on London. Big Brother, whose picture is everywhere, rules Oceania with an iron hand where, at the Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith works at revising historical facts.
The ruling political ideology is Ingsoc (English Socialism) and power belongs to Inner Party members (with Big Brother at the top) followed by Outer Party and finally the hapless proles who dont count for much.
Winston begins to keep a diary in his room, away from the gaze of the two way telescreen, where he records the internal restless monologue running through his head, his observations and innermost thoughts. He knows that if this is discovered he will be put to death. Yet he writes on the beautiful creamy paper, DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER.
The story develops slowly and the beginning drags a bit where the way of life in Airstrip One lived through the characters, the iron hand of the Party, the worship of Hate and the workings of the various ministries are drilled into the readers mind in a mechanical fashion. Perhaps this treatment suits the subject and is meant to echo the heartlessness of the ruling powers and the emptiness of lives, giving the reader a sense of all that is lost in this Orwellian anti-utopia.
Winston falls in love with Julia who works in the Fiction Department, churning out novels and finds a refuge for both of them in a little room above Mr Charringtons antiques shop. In this little shop and the room above it, the old world of beautiful objects seems to be preserved in a time capsule.
It was a heavy lump of glass, curved on one side, flat on the other, making almost a hemisphere. There was a peculiar softness, as of rainwater, in both the colour and the texture of the glass. At the heart of it, magnified by the curved surface, there was a strange, pink, convoluted object that recalled a rose or a sea anemone.
What is it? said Winston, fascinated.
Thats coral, that is, said the old man. It must have come from the Indian Ocean. They used to kind of embed it in the glass. That wasnt made less than a hundred years ago. More, by the look of it.
Its a beautiful thing, said Winston.
It is a beautiful thing, said the other appreciatively. But theres not many thatd say so nowadays.
But soon Winston and Julia are snared by OBrien, an Inner Party member who pretends to belong to the secret Brotherhood conspiring the downfall of the Party. OBrien arranges to send him a forbidden book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, which he reads in the apparent safety of the room above Charringtons shop. But soon enough they are arrested.
Torture follows, Winston confesses to real and imaginary crimes and the final defeat comes next when he and Julia betray each other. With this defeat of love it seems there is nothing left to defend anymore. And surely enough, we find a changed Winston in the final pages.
The enduring quality of Orwells novel flows from the lengths he goes to in describing the propaganda machinery, the degree of surveillance, the means of torture, and the dehumanising effects of totalitarianism which includes among other things, children spying on and reporting against their parents and the development of a precise official language called Newspeak, much of which, in various degrees, are to be found in the world today. And once again, all these powers lording over these dystopias concur on one singular aspect they are enemies of freedom. Freedom is Slavery is one of the party slogans of Big Brothers Oceania.
Zamyatins We, like Nineteen Eighty-Four begins with a somewhat flat narration and almost one-dimensional characters which we soon realise is a way to portray how human beings have been reduced to cogs in a wheel and. in this case, just numbers. But here we do have a slightly curious plot to draw our attention.
The narrator, D-503, is the builder of the spaceship Integral, which will carry the message of happiness from the One State to other worlds with the hope of subjugating their inhabitants to the rule of Reason. The book is a collection of records kept by the narrator and is marked by mannerisms and a curious mathematical vocabulary which is an echo of the rule of logic and mathematics that guides the life of the numbers inhabiting the earth and which also establishes the fact that D-503 is a mathematician. This is from a report in the State newspaper and as we have seen in the other works it begins with an attack on freedom and an emphasis on the desirability of happiness:
One thousand years ago, your heroic ancestors subjected the whole earth to the power of the One State. A still more glorious task is before you: the integration of the indefinite equation of the Cosmos by the use of glass, electric, fire-breathing Integral. Your mission is to subjugate to the grateful yoke of reason the unknown beings who live on other planets and who are perhaps still in the primitive state of freedom. If they will not understand that we are bringing them a mathematically-faultless happiness, our duty will be to force them to be happy. But before we take up arms, we shall try the power of words.
In this future state, Guardians, who are the secret police, keep tabs on everyone and crime is punished with torture and execution by The Machine. Sex is rationed with a system of pink slips and, as the story progresses, a female number, O-90 with lovely blue eyes is assigned to D-503. People are allowed to lower the curtains of their transparent apartments only for these assigned hours of physical intimacy.
But soon enough our narrator meets another woman, I-330, whip-like with dazzling white teeth, and gets strongly attracted to her. They have a tryst in his flat where, breaking the rules, they smoke and imbibe a greenish alcoholic drink, probably absinthe.
I-330 invites him to the Ancient House which is at the edge of the Green Wall that surrounds the city of glass. Meanwhile the whip-like woman, who is a secret revolutionary belonging to the MEPHI, impresses upon him to take command of the trial launch of the Integral and land it outside the Green Wall. The plan succeeds but the Guardians have infiltrated their ranks and so they have to return.
The Wall, border, fence, etcetera constitute a standard trope of dystopia, separating the realm of civilisation and happiness from the areas inhabited by primitives, where reason still doesnt have a foothold. Where, often, independence, driven out from dystopia, has found a somewhat comfortable refuge.
Family is another structure that those in power in these anti-utopias hate because it represents what Bertrand Russell in The Scientific Outlook a book which some say might have had an influence on Huxley describes as a loyalty which competes with loyalty to the State. Sure enough, family bonds are tenuous in Nineteen Eighty-Four, where it has become an extension of the Thought Police while in Brave New World and We, the family unit no longer exists.
The rule of logic and mathematics in every sphere of life in Zamyatins novel is echoed in D-503s descriptions I noticed her brows that rose to the temples in an acute angle like the sharp corners of an X, while the growing irrationality within himself is thus recorded, Now I no longer live in our clear, rational world; I live in the ancient nightmare world, the world of square roots of minus one. The square root of minus one as all students of high school maths know is the imaginary number i which in this context would stand for individuality and separateness to be contrasted with the faceless collective We of Zamyatins world.
On the Great day of Unanimity each year, when a farcical election is held to return power to the Well-Doer (Benefactor in future translations), it is suddenly found that many have risen in dissent, refusing to vote for the leader. The MEPHI has spread its roots and a ruthless counter-offensive begins. Large sections of the population, including D-503, are subject to The Operation to remove the centre of fancy from their brains which will turn them into human tractors. In the end, the narrators fate is somewhat similar to Winstons in Nineteen Eighty-Four, while I-330 and others are tortured and sentenced to death.
Zamyatins We is a book that grows upon you as you read it for the first, second or third time. With its mathematical similes, the cold antiseptic settings through which faceless numbers, robbed of imagination and independence, go about fulfilling their duties to the state, always under the shadow of the Well-Doer and his murderous Machine, the book reminds us about all that is precious in our lives, all that is worth fighting for till the last of our breath.
There have been many debates as to who was right about the future Orwell or Huxley? It has been pointed out that with the fall of the Soviet Union the Orwellian world of a totalitarian dictatorship collapsed for ever. But still in corners of the world like North Korea, we find situations that seem to be taken straight out of Nineteen Eighty-Four, just as in Trump-era United States, we find echoes of censorship and control over facts imagined by Orwell.
However, in predicting the course science might take, and in imagining the possibility that humanity would squander away freedom at the altar of desire and consumerism, Huxleys Brave New World stands out as a book more conscious of the pulse of rulers and ruled alike.
In his 1958 book Brave New World Revisited which among other things predicts how thw population explosion will become a strain on the worlds resources, Huxley, comparing his dystopia to Orwells, wrote:
The society described in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a society controlled almost exclusively by punishment and the fear of punishment. In the imaginary world of my own fable, punishment is infrequent and generally mild. The nearly perfect control exercised by the government is achieved by systematic reinforcement of desirable behaviour, by many kinds of nearly non-violent manipulation, both physical and psychological, and by genetic standardisation.
Huxleys insights that non-violent manipulation works far better than terror and that the trivial pleasures of a consumer culture will steal freedom from us are an apt characterisation of our times. Neil Postman beautifully summarises the work of these two authors, when he writes:
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.
Reading these three books and reflecting on the above words, it wouldnt be a thoughtcrime to believe that we are already swimming breathlessly in the choppy waters of a dystopian present.
Rajat Chaudhuri is a Charles Wallace Trust, Korean Arts Council-InKo and Hawthornden Castle fellow. He has advocated on climate change issues at the United Nations and has recently finished writing his fourth work of fiction about environmental disaster.
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Posted: June 23, 2017 at 6:03 am
Richard Hirschi’s June 14 letter quoted Ayn Rand as if her words were holy writ. Rand disciples should see on Google “Problems with Ayn Rand’s philosophy.” They’ll find several logical fallacies in her position of ethical egoism.
Also, they should consider the current occupant of the White House, a perfect example of egoism run amok. Everything is about him, either for him or against him. He is centered on praise and attention at all times. These are also the characteristics of spoiled kids. Everything is about what they want, and what they hate. If they don’t grow up and accept society’s norms, they’ll be Mr. Trump or Ayn Rand (who was a lot like Trump in her private life).
We who have grown up are not thieves, as Rand claimed, nor are we collectivists, as Hirschi wrote. We own property, stock, businesses, etc. We just want to avoid what happened to Kansas under Gov. Brownback. The state cut taxes for the rich and businesses, forcing steep cuts in funding for public schools, highways, and other needed services (check it online). It didn’t improve the economy as promised. It just left the state broke, with a lousy credit rating.
Originally posted here:
Posted: June 6, 2017 at 6:03 am
Green Party chairman Arnold Cassola says he has no regrets at ADs decision not to take an easy ride on PN votes
Alternattiva Demokratika chairperson Arnold Cassola with deputy chair Carmel Cacopardo
Alternattiva Demokratika, which has been contesting elections since 1992, ended up with just over 0.8% of the popular vote similar to its 2008 outing reaching once again a nadir in popularity.
As expected, the result was a bad one, said Prof. Arnold Cassola, whose party refused to take the cue of former Labour MPs Marlene Farrugia Democratic Party to contest on the PN ticket. Farrugia could now be in line for a seat in parliament after amassing over 3,000 votes on the tenth district, a PN stronghold.
Expected, because we decided to stand up for our principles and values before our personal egoism, that is, the easy way of riding on the PNs votes and trying to get into parliament with their number ones and inherited votes.
Cassola said that his partys principles had come at the cost of a social media barrage of name-calling and insults, saying he had been punished by being called barri (bull), muqran (cuckold), Judas and traitor.
But worse than that, for being principled we were demonised by the PN party machine that encouraged its supporters to close ranks and to avoid casting any preference votes for our candidates, Cassola added.
At one point, The Malta Independents own editor Stephen Calleja wrote that voting for AD, which has only ever commanded a maximum of over 5,000 votes in its history, would be a vote for Labour.
With hindsight, am I sorry that AD did not join the supposed coalition and that at the moment I am not in the running for a seat in parliament, on a par with craftier politicians than us? The answer is absolutely not.
On the contrary I am even more convinced that we did the right thing by not pandering to hunters, to the Armier shantytown owners, to the Gozo tunnel aficionados in order to get votes, but stood strong sticking to our values.
Cassola said AD had lost 3,000 votes from the last election, when the party was chaired by Michael Briguglio, who in this election took a stand in favour of the Forza Nazzjonali coalition between the PN and PD, and publicly lent his face to the effort.
Being the Chair of AD, the major responsibility for this loss is obviously mine. In the following weeks AD will have to take stock of the situation and chart the way forward for the future. But your precious 2,500 and over number one votes cast for AD make us proud. We know that out there, there are Maltese people who appreciate politicians standing up for ones principles and looking at politics not just as an opportunistic way of getting a seat in parliament, Cassola said.
The academic did not suggest he would resign, although he had already resigned after the 2008 election before taking up the position again after the resignation of fellow academic Michael Briguglio in 2013.
Indeed, Cassola might have attempted a slight dig at his predecessor, even if not mentioned by name. We are of course wounded but certainly not dead, as someone in the Maltese intelligentsia might have wished.
Your precious support gives me the strength to continue looking Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in the eye and to remind him that if he does not kick out Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri and Brian Tonna out of Castille, if he does not immediately convene a Constitutional convention to reform our comatose institutions, then he is leading our country into a sure future of moral and ethical decline With your help, AD can continue to be a leading beacon of honesty, consistency and credibility in Maltese politics.
Posted: June 1, 2017 at 10:27 pm
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The Williams Group for Ethics and Management developed an exercise, called the Ethics Awareness Inventory, which analyzes responses to a set of questions, and categorizes the results under four ethical perspectives: Character (or Virtue Ethics), Obligation (or Deontological Ethics), Results (or Utilitarianism), and Equity (or Relativism)…. [tags: Ethics Morals] 1285 words (3.7 pages) Good Essays [preview] The Ethical Goodness or Badness about an Action – The Ethical Goodness or Badness about an Action To make a statement on the ethical goodness or badness about some action can be neither true nor false due to the fact that this statement is merely an opinion of mine and not actually based on facts. This opinion is an extension of my expression that this action performed is wrong. I can express my opinion in many different ways such as body language or speech but none of these will make the opinion I have, or in this case the statement I make, true or false…. 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[tags: ethics vs production of knowledge] :: 13 Works Cited 2508 words (7.2 pages) Research Papers [preview] Compare and Contrast 7 of the Main Ethical Principles – Despite the implementation of a certain code of conduct and belief system into most individual’s everyday lives, the concept of ethics or moral philosophy remains a hazy area, left to be tackled by philosophers and exceptional theorists. The assessment of major ethical systems over the course of the semester has forced me to reevaluate the fundamentals of my own moral philosophy and reconsider the role of ethics as a more average field of thought than I had once considered. Included in the major ethical systems examined throughout the course were: Cultural Relativism, Religious Ethics, Ethical Egoism, Utilitarianism, Kant’s Moral Absolutism, Social Contract, and Ethics of Virtue…. [tags: Ethics] :: 2 Works Cited 4242 words (12.1 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Ethical and Philosophical Questions about Value and Obligation – Ethical and Philosophical Questions about Value and Obligation I Recall the distinction between metaethics and normative ethics. Normative ethics deals with substantial ethical issues, such as, What is intrinsically good. What are our moral obligations. Metaethics deals with philosophical issues about ethics: What is value or moral obligation. Are there ethical facts. What sort of objectivity is possible in ethics. How can we have ethical knowledge. Recall, also, the fundamental dilemma of metaethics…. [tags: Metaethics Normative Ethics] 971 words (2.8 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Human Being Existence – Since long before Plato philosophers have attempted to accurately describe the ways human being exist in relation to the world around them. Many different systems and meta-narratives were created by numerous philosophers as they used reason to determine what it meant to exist and how knowledge was possible. Most philosophers were acutely aware their philosophical arguments that provided either metaphysical or epistemological descriptive claims would necessarily lay the foundation for normative ethical positions…. [tags: existence, ethical system, Plato, Nietzsche, ] 1293 words (3.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Personal Ethical System – … In return, they formulate moral guidelines that are later termed as absolute truths in strong opposition of the Western Worlds ideologies. This has seen the emergence of radical religious affiliations, which is justified by subjective application and interpretation of moral theories (Barnosell, 2012; Iqbal, Bhatti, & Zaheer, 2013). The number of suicide bombers and radical Muslims engaging in terrorist activities has increased in recent years (Zarakol, 2011). My personal code of ethics negates subjective application of these theories and the disjoint implications emerging from fallacious ideologies propelled by a section of religious leaders…. [tags: utilitarianism, phylosophy, moral principles] :: 11 Works Cited 1286 words (3.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Examining Moral Philosophies Functions in Business – The Moral Philosophies Functions in Business Usually the conversation about philosophy in society is centered on the universal structure of values as part of their lives. Conversely moral philosophy relates to certain ideologies or statutes which are used by societies in determining right or wrong. It is imperative to comprehend there is a difference between moral philosophies and business ethics. The moral philosophies pertain to individuals values, whereas business ethics is centered on groups decisions or relate to meeting a business objective…. [tags: values, ethics, belief, utilitarianism, relativist] :: 5 Works Cited 1251 words (3.6 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Idea of Relativist and Absolutist – A person, no matter where they live or what kind of history they have, always has and always will come across someone who does not believe the same way that they do. This is plainly seen in Phil Washburns Philosophical Dilemmas and as a result the main source of information will stem from this text concerning morals. Philosophers are most known for their work of arguing about morals and what is wrong or right however, what laymen do not understand is that they do not focus on the question of moral but rather whether or not the judgment of the morals of others is right or wrong…. [tags: sophists, moral relativism, philosophical dilemma] :: 2 Works Cited 1946 words (5.6 pages) Term Papers [preview] Utilitarianism – The United States flag stands to the world as a signal of freedom and most importantly choice. The constitution gives our citizens that right to choose how to live life, how to use our liberty, and how to pursue our own happiness. But what happens when a citizen decides to opt for no life. Is that not a choice. This is the argument for one of the most controversial questions of the past decade, should assisted suicide be deemed legal in the United States. The root of the controversy is the involvement of medical community in such a choice…. [tags: Ethical Issues, Physician Assisted Suicide] 3159 words (9 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Ethical Standards in Research – Concern for risks involved in the research and the participants involved in the study is a duty of the researcher (Lindorff, 2010). Topics that an ethical researcher should consider are justice, beneficence and respect for persons (Lindorff, 2010, p. 53). Justice refers to fairness in selection of participants and the time required by participants. Justice relates to protecting participants but also benefiting the public, not just certain entities. There are concerns regarding non-medical research and the benefactors from the results obtained…. [tags: Ethical Research] :: 11 Works Cited 2831 words (8.1 pages) Research Papers [preview] Ethical Judgement and the Production of Knowledge – Ethical judgment is not a definite restriction for the method and production of knowledge in art field, but it does relatively limit the production of knowledge in the natural science fields. Since the ethical judgment is an authority in a majority of peoples notion and mind, people tend to follow ethical standards and harder to develop the further knowledge. In addition, reason is one of the ways of knowing and moral principle is a crucial factor that shapes the pursuit of knowledge. The extreme cases in the natural science and in distinctive areas of knowledge violate the reason that undermines the moral obligation…. [tags: Essays on Ethical Judgement] :: 5 Works Cited 994 words (2.8 pages) Better Essays [preview] The Ethical Egoist in Plato’s Republic – The ethical egoist is one who believes that it is morally right to act strictly in one’s own self-interest. Understandably, this belief poses a threat to social cooperation and, therefore, clearly introduces a significant political problem. I believe that the best example of ethical egoism is displayed in Book I of Plato’s The Republic. In this Book, Plato introduces the idea of ethical egoism, explains the political problem posed by it, and addresses the problem through the words of Socrates. I will use this paper to explain and clarify the arguments for and against the concept of ethical egoism, with specific focus on the political problem it poses and the proper approach to addressing th… [tags: politics, ethical egoism, socrates] :: 1 Works Cited 984 words (2.8 pages) Better Essays [preview] The Importance of Ethical Integrity – What is ethical integrity and why is it important. This paper will address the viewpoint of ethical integrity and its outcome. Ethical Integrity is a favorably sensible method for doing what is right when it comes to people dealing with people. In todays society, ethical integrity has become a modern lifestyle. When a person has a strong moral character, they are said to be a person of integrity and to live a honest life is said to be the most important virtue a person can have. Consistency is a concept of ethical integrity and people should act according to their moral principles…. [tags: Ethical Integrity Essays] :: 4 Works Cited 1606 words (4.6 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Hypothetical Treatment of Ethical Dilemma – This paper is an analysis of a hypothetical vignette in which a counselor-in-training named Callie, a fairly experienced and nearly-licensed counselor supervisee, approaches her counselor supervisor for advice and direction regarding an ethical dilemma. The purpose of this paper is to identify the ethical and legal implications of the dilemma along with an optimal solution to ethically resolve the issue. Using the Forrester-Miller and Davis Decision Making Model Ethical dilemmas are situations that are difficult to navigate and include making a difficult choice…. [tags: Doctoral Student Ethical Scenario] :: 6 Works Cited 1698 words (4.9 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Business Ethics and Ethical Leadership – 1. Seminar 4 required us to debate on the following title This Business School believes that ethical leadership is impossible in a shareholder focused economy through the view of four characters. Mike, a non-consequentialist deontologist in the 5th stage of Kohlbergs (SoCMD) (Figure 1.) argued that ethical behaviour of corporations should be set in a top-bottom structure and that ethical leadership should be reflected in this manner through respecting the governance code and corporate ethics…. [tags: business ethics, ethical leadership, ethics] :: 18 Works Cited 1407 words (4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Ethical Consumerism: A Balance of Knowledge and Action – Shelves in many shopping malls are lined with a vast, colorful variety of merchandise. Rows of curious items catch ones attention upon entering a sterile-smelling shop, each piece specifically crafted to be sold and taken home. Compared to this consumer-happy paradise, the world in which the worker lives, who fashions these objects, is usually little more than torture. Take, for example, child labor in India. These child laborers work for little pay and in harsh conditions, to generate products for American consumers to buy…. [tags: Ethical Consumer Habits, Shopping] 1188 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Ethical and Moral Philosophies: Application to Business – Define and Discuss Philosophies Application to Business Business philosophy refers to application of theoretic framework to determine the manner in which a business entity deals with various forms of operation. It refers to formation and operation of a corporate entity in areas that include management, accounting, public relations, business operations, marketing, and training (Dahlsrud, 2008). Moral philosophy, on the other hand, refers to values that determine the rightness or wrongness of an action (Bartels, 2008)…. [tags: Ethical and Moral Philosophies] :: 4 Works Cited 1226 words (3.5 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Ethical Integrity While Writing a Dissertation – Executing the actual research of a dissertation is a process that can pose many ethical violations such as fabricating data, falsifying data, or plagiarizing (Committee, 2009). In addition, Committee (2009) stated that in order to execute research the research must know how to handle data. For my research, I will be discreet about handling data and open in communication with my participants, by issuing informed consent forms to all of my participants and requiring signatures to continue before any research is conducted…. [tags: Ethical Integrity in Research] :: 9 Works Cited 1470 words (4.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Patriotism: Changin Moral and Ethical Values – Patriotism is not blindly following ones country as some politicians think. Patriotism is working to ensure our country lives up to our collective moral and ethical values both at home and abroad, as well as being critical of our country when it does not live up to those standards. Patriotism as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is The quality of being patriotic; love of or devotion to one’s country (Patriotism). That is it. It does not say you have to take any specific action like flying the flag, serve in any function such as the armed forces, or support any particular party for election…. [tags: ethical values, espionage act] :: 1 Works Cited 889 words (2.5 pages) Better Essays [preview] Profilling Ethical Leadership – Leaders are considered as people who generally implement ethical programs in order to influence an organizations climate (Yukl, 2010). To any organizations, leadership plays an important role to empower another people to follow them. Therefore, ethical leadership can be defined as the process of impacting people through rules, principles, beliefs and values. I recognized that every leaders tend to have a highly ethical in their business practices. Ethical leadership will help leaders to lead their employees as legitimate…. [tags: Implement Ethical Programs, Oganizations] :: 3 Works Cited 1182 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Legal and Ethical Issues in School Counseling – The topic of this paper focuses on the battles school counselors face as the law and ethical standards collide. School counselors face a number of legal and ethical issues and recognizing a clear decision isnt always easy. School counselors have to work with a large number of students, parents, and administrators while conforming to ethical codes, state laws, and school board guidelines. This topic is of great relevance to me as I will be going into the school counseling profession. It is also a meaningful topic to me because life-changing decisions are made every day in reference to legal and ethical issues…. [tags: School Counselor, Lae, Ethical Standards] :: 6 Works Cited 1387 words (4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Development Of Epistemic Relativism Versus Social Relativism – What if everything all of us, the world, the universe was not real. What if everything we are, know, and do was really just someone’s computer simulation. Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration. Epistemic relativism is when the facts used to establish the truth or falsehood of any statement are understood to be relative to the perspective of those proving or falsifying the proposition…. [tags: the matrix, dream world, computers] :: 6 Works Cited 1293 words (3.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] School Counseling: A Case Study in Ethical Decision Making – Whilst working in a remote area I observed a year nine indigenous student (Lorena Bannard) and a teacher (Bill James), alone together after school hours. I considered this could be an unprofessional situation. I spoke to Bill later regarding the situation and he replied, Im helping her with some family problems, and Im concerned about the effect its having on her school work. I suggested he refer Lorena to the Guidance Officer. During the initial interview with Lorena, I explained what was talked about in the interview was confidential, unless an unlawful act or event occurred, or if someone could be harmed…. [tags: School Counselors, Ethical Decisions] :: 39 Works Cited 2456 words (7 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Moral Relativism Throughout History – Morality, it seems, can only be obtained through subjective reasoning. Ones ability to perceive morality is derived from either a tacit, oral, or written agreement that is developed by ones community or ethnos for members of that community or ethnos to abide by. The values of an ethnos may change over a period of time, but the fundamental aspect of the idea being specific to those of the ethnos and not being ubiquitous remains. These sentences express what are the basic tenants of moral relativism…. [tags: Racial Inequality, Nazis, Apartheid, America] :: 7 Works Cited 2305 words (6.6 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Lehman Brother Holding Inc. Ethical Research – Building standards of ethical behavior is essential for public company. Otherwise, it causes accounting scandals and bankrupts. Over the last decade, there were a lot of enormous bankrupts that because of unethical behavior of investors and auditors. Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. is an example of accounting scandals. In this research paper, I am going to analyze this firm. Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. was a financial services firm and fourth-largest investment bank in the Unite Sates. It provided investment service for the clients and it founded in 1850.It mainly operated on trading sales, private banking, investment bank and investment management…. [tags: investment management, bankrupts, ethical behavior] :: 12 Works Cited 925 words (2.6 pages) Better Essays [preview] Ethical Dilemmas Faced by Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals – The role of ethics in organizational behavior is the underlying factor to the success and longevity of any organization. A set of rules and guidelines focusing on promoting safety, trust, and responsible practice within the workplace must be established internally. Organizations develop code of ethics that center upon the promotion of good. Ethics are vital in developing trusting relationships between employees and administration within. A code of ethics highlights the responsibility and accountability standards of each and every employee within the organization…. [tags: Nursing Ethics, ethical principle, code of ethics] :: 15 Works Cited 2770 words (7.9 pages) Research Papers [preview] The Ethical Treatment of Animals – I believe in the ethical treatment for all animals is an ethical obligation by all humans. We have come to an era that we believe that all humans should be treated equally and fairly. Well, what about our other living, breathing counterparts. They deserve to live their life as they choose in quality and in the pursuit of happiness. Just as Europeans came and took over Northern America’s land and resources on the Indians. We have also taken over the land and resources from all of the animals. The moral point of view in the killing of animals for food as an indulgence which is not a necessity for our diet is killing another living being…. [tags: Ethical Issues Analysis] :: 2 Works Cited 542 words (1.5 pages) Good Essays [preview] Moral Relativism – Moral relativism, as Harman describes, denies that there are universal basic moral demands, and says different people are subject to different basic moral demands depending on the social customs, practices, conventions, and principles that they accept (Harman, p. 85). Many suppose that moral feelings derive from sympathy and concern for others, but Harman rather believes that morality derives from agreement among people of varying powers and resources provides a more plausible explanation (Harman, p…. [tags: Philosophy ] :: 4 Works Cited 1958 words (5.6 pages) Term Papers [preview] Cultural Relativism – If we look at the world today, there are millions of cultures centered everywhere. With this much cultures in the world, everyone is bound to believe that theyre all different. Even though they are different in some aspects, all of them are similar to each other in some way. So if this is the case, do we as human beings have the right to judge these cultures as ethically wrong or just a cultural difference. Cultural Relativism is the belief that we cannot judge the cultural practices of other societies and that we should let them do as they please…. [tags: Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart] 1527 words (4.4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Methods of Experimentation and Research in the Natural Sciences that are Limited due to Ethical Considerations – The production of knowledge, the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject (New Oxford), has constantly been accomplished throughout the history of man as a result of the characteristics of creativity and curiosity. These attributes, besides ethics, have set humans apart from the other species allowing for constant and rapid development. According to (Rest), an ethical judgment is the process by which an individual determines that one alternative is morally right and another alternative is morally wrong…. [tags: eugenics, animal testing, ethical judgement] :: 8 Works Cited 1459 words (4.2 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Moral Relativism and Problems Associated With this Philosophy – Moral relativists believe that no one has the right to judge another individuals choice, decisions, or lifestyle because however they choose to live is right for them. In addition everyone has the right to their own moral beliefs and to impose those beliefs on another individual is wrong. At first glance moral relativism may appear ideal in allowing for individual freedom. After all why shouldnt each individual be entitled to their own idea of moral values and why should others force their beliefs on anyone else…. [tags: philosophy] 824 words (2.4 pages) Better Essays [preview] Normative Ethics: Society Determines What Moral and Ethical Act or Action is Correct and Acceptable – Normative ethics are those ethical principles and values that are considered morally correct and express principles of good character, actions that are viewed as right rather than wrong and are commonly accepted and reasonable. The prompt in this assignment refers to the requirement of the existence of normative requiring the practice of normative ethics in how individuals and society determine what moral and ethical act or action is correct and acceptable. Normative ethics embraces the philosophical theory of a normal sense of morals and principles that would be proper and acknowledged as positive and good…. [tags: ethical principles. morality, morals] 1453 words (4.2 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Is it Ethical? – From a young age, individuals learn about what is right and what is wrong. According to Sandra Crosser, Ph.D., many young children do not have a clear understanding of right and wrong. As children grow, their views on the world develop. Many will argue that children gain their morals from their parents; others say that children get their morals from the people that they interact with. The development of morals is a topic of controversy in both the scientific and philosophical/ethical communities…. [tags: individuals, children, morals] :: 5 Works Cited 1467 words (4.2 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Physician Assisted Suicide is NOT Ethical – Is physician assisted suicide morally right. This has been a controversial subject for some time now. People are wondering whether or not it is the most humane thing to do. If dogs can be putdown, why not people. The reason is in that question. They are people. Every life is important, no matter how long it may be. Instead of finding a way to get rid of people faster, the government could put those efforts in something more positive. If other people are considering whether or not the patients life is valuable, the patient could question it as well…. [tags: ethical issues, euthanasia ] :: 8 Works Cited 1363 words (3.9 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Philosophic Underpinnings of Relativism – “The way things appear to me, in that way they exist for me; and the way things appear to you, in that way they exist for you”(Theaetetus 152a). This statement was one of the first statements of relativism made that was clear, and it was quoted by Plato. Relativism faces many people with the questioning of if reality exists independently, or if it’s individuals and societies creating their own by representing it differently. There are three types of relativism and they each have their extreme forms…. [tags: Philosophy] 818 words (2.3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Culture Relativism – Culture Relativism Culture Relativism is a contradictory theory for the explanation of the way we ought to live because the roots of the theory dont give any explanation for what is right and wrong but instead only a means for right and wrong to be judged. By no fathom of the imagination can one contend that his or her own self ideas are correct there are certain bias that come with all judgments on the correct way to live, but if culture relativism stood true than it must be able to give some sort of universal truth…. [tags: Papers] 584 words (1.7 pages) Good Essays [preview] Social Contract Theory and Cultural Relativism – Thomas Hobbess social contract theory is minimally related to that of cultural relativism. Both deal with human nature and the search for peace. But while cultural relativism is in some ways a noteworthy theory, the social contract theory is the only one of the two that could logically work in an active environment. Cultural relativism theorizes that the best way for different societies to function together at peace is for them to recognize that each culture must be allowed its own system of beliefs…. [tags: Sociology Essays 2014] :: 2 Works Cited 2200 words (6.3 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] What Determines Right & Wrong? – How do you determine what is right or what is wrong. Personally, I feel that from within ourselves, we know when we have done right and when we have done wrong. This may not stop someone from doing wrong, but, within themselves, I believe that they know they are doing wrong. I believe that someone knows when they have hurt someone else feelings or caused harm to someone. Consequently, I do not make up a culture, which has merits on determining right or wrong. Within this report, ethical relativism will be define and discussed how it relates to right and wrong as well as the corruption that I discussed in the previous assignment…. [tags: Ethics ] :: 2 Works Cited 928 words (2.7 pages) Better Essays [preview] Is Ethical Hacking Truly Ethical? – From the macro/micro perspective, the world of the electron, despite its extraordinarily minuscule size, is the foundation of society. Computers have not only brought us electronic shopping, email, and online banking, but now control our cars, how we board a plane, our MP3 players, and almost every other aspect of our lives. With any great advancement in civilization, there are always those souls who seek to capitalize on the misfortune of others by finding some way to exploit a weakness in the newest technology available; the computer industry is no exception…. [tags: Ethics ] :: 13 Works Cited 2683 words (7.7 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Cultural Relativism vs. Ethnocentism – which is more objective? – To view ones own culture as the universal by which all others are judged would be ultimately subjective, as our perceptions of cultural differences are shaped largely by our immersion in our own culture. An ethnocentric approach stems from judging an alternate culture in relation to ones own pre-conceived cultural values, held to be superior; the parallax phenomenon, the inability to escape our own biases, prevents objective analysis of different cultures. A cultural relativist maintains the post-modernist view that there is no moral or cultural high-ground with which to judge one culture in relation to another, thus each culture must be understood from its own perspective, and within its… [tags: essays research papers] 1038 words (3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Nietzsches Perspectivism and Philosophical Skepticism: A Comparison – Since the idea of truth came to being by the previous thought of ancient times, many philosophers have developed their ideas on this notion. They ask themselves questions such as: What is truth. Does a universal truth exist. Are their countless truths. Is it possible to know? This is a major debate amongst philosophers and it really separates them within their belief systems. Many names have been given to the different thoughts: Relativism, Skepticism, Dogmatism, and Perspectivism. These thoughts are just a few major classifications from some of the great thinkers on truth…. [tags: what is truth, perspectivism, relativism] :: 5 Works Cited 3406 words (9.7 pages) Research Papers [preview] Cultural Relativism as Applied to Female Genital Mutilation – Cultural Relativism as Applied to Female Genital Mutilation “I remember the blade. How it shone. There was a woman kneeling over me with the knife. I bit her; it was all I could do. Then three women came to hold me down. One of them sat on my chest. I bit her with all my might.” These words reflect Banassiri Syllas account of her experience undergoing female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), at the young age of eight in the Ivory Coast. This disturbing description of her struggle makes it hard to understand why any culture could support such a practice…. [tags: Human Rights] :: 5 Works Cited 2751 words (7.9 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Ontological Relativism and the Pragmatic Notion of Metaphysical Truth – Ontological Relativism and the Pragmatic Notion of Metaphysical Truth ABSTRACT: I. Introduction The mind body problem resembles a black hole in the universe of philosophy: It takes a lot of energy which could be spent otherwise. Therefore, it would be liberating to show that it is not a problem at all. That is exactly what I shall do in this paper. Roughly, I shall argue as follows: First, I will show that the traditional mind body problem as a logical conflict will not occur if one is more decided in dualism…. [tags: Philosophy Metaphysics Research] 2267 words (6.5 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Moral Relativism in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment – Moral Relativism in Crime and Punishment At the close of Crime and Punishment, Raskolinkov is convicted of Murder and sentenced to seven years in Siberian prison. Yet even before the character was conceived, Fyodor Dostoevsky had already convicted Raskolinkov in his mind (Frank, Dostoevsky 101). Crime and Punishment is the final chapter in Dostoevsky’s journey toward understanding the forces that drive man to sin, suffering, and grace. Using ideas developed in Notes from Underground and episodes of his life recorded in Memoirs of the House of the Dead, Dostoevsky puts forth in Crime in Punishment a stern defense of natural law and an irrefutable volume of evidence condemning Raskolnikov’… [tags: Crime and Punishment Essays] 2792 words (8 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – The policy of Dont Ask, Dont Tell enacted in 1993 created a public argument about the morality of homosexual service in the United States Armed Forces. When viewed through different ethical frameworks both the reasons for and against the policy change. Ethical Relativism: The first moral framework used to analyze the policy of Dont Ask, Dont Tell is ethical relativism. Subjective ethical relativism states that there are no moral truths which exist universally and necessarily. Truths are only true to those who hold them at the individual level…. [tags: Homosexuals, Armed Forces] 1524 words (4.4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Abortion is Not Ethicial – When one thinks about a topic with many opinions and views, abortion come to mind. Is it murder if the child is not born yet. Abortion is one of the most controversial topics in the United States. Mother Teresa said If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people to not kill each other. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. Some may think it is ethical to snatch the life away from an unborn baby…. [tags: The Right to Life, Pro-Life Essays] 738 words (2.1 pages) Better Essays [preview] Ethics: Where Do We Learn What Constitutes Right or Wrong? – Ethics: where do we learn what constitutes right or wrong. Under the three schools of ethical thought, Utilitarianism, Deontological and Virtue Ethics, you will find that there are varied and different views of how we come by our value systems and how we determine right and wrong. However, in all three of these schools of thought there is one underlying commonality: ethical relativism deems that a persons values and judgments are based upon their cultural and societal influences and their personal feelings…. [tags: Ethics ] :: 4 Works Cited 964 words (2.8 pages) Better Essays [preview]
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