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Philo 171
 
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 PENETRANTE Questions for the Third Exam

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jimenez



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PostSubject: PENETRANTE Questions for the Third Exam   Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:50 pm

Penetrante
Penetrante
1. What ethical position about gambling will a conscientious understanding and application of the Utilitarian perspective yield? Concerning the moral issue on gambling, specifically the dilemma on whether gambling and earnings from these activities should be used at all (i.e., whether the church should accept donations/funds procured through gambling activities), how may we use the Utilitarian perspective to resolve this dilemma?

2. After careful considerations of the various ethical theories/views we discussed, what “personal moral system or code” can you come up with and which you can adopt? Be sure to talk about the values, precepts/ideas, and other elements that should comprise this “personal moral system or code”. Include your conception of freedom and accountability in this given moral system and your view of what it means to be a moral individual.
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Penetrante



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PostSubject: First question   Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:06 pm

Gambling has long been a moral issue. In order to address this problem by coming up with an ethical position regarding it, it is necessary to adopt a definition of gambling for this purpose. Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods. Typically, the outcome of the wager is evident within a short period. Certain religions generally disapprove of gambling to some extent, even some governments through legislation, because it can have adverse social consequences.

Is it morally acceptable to gamble? I will answer by making use of the Utilitarian perspective, and since it was not qualified whether I should be pertaining to legal (state-run) or illegal gambling, I shall look into the very act of wagering itself.

I believe it is a common mistake for people to think that Mill’s moral principle will consider gambling as something good. The reasoning should of course be grounded on the tenets of Utilitarianism, such as the concepts of (1) consequentialism, which says that an act is good even if the action may not be good in itself as long as it leads to something good; and (2) Hedonism, that an act is good if it promotes pleasure and lessens pain. But this position, that gambling is good, is not in accordance to the concept of “cultivation” and is pleasure-seeking. True, we may set aside the act of risking money or anything valuable with the hope of winning more, which I deem problematic. We can look, for instance, at the pleasure experienced by the individual gambler during the game or at his/her earnings when s/he donates these to church or other positive causes (nobody knows how the funds have been procured anyway). Gambling may be justified at this level but it is perverted understanding of Utilitarianism.

An enlightened utilitarian looks at the long-term effects of his/her actions and it is in this view that gambling is seen to be bad. First, the act wagering with lack of certainty of winning is, I believe, unreasonable. It is irrational to risk anything in this manner if it is only for monetary or unimportant purposes. Sure, we can always say that earnings from gambling can be used for beneficial (even economic) reasons and we can hide the real source of the money from others. But this becomes self-defeating as seen in my second and third points: It affects the individual and can even lead to ludomania or compulsive gambling, and quoting Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines President Bishop Orlando Quevedo, “gambling, illegal or not, form a deadly virus that eats into the innards of a moral society, gradually wearing out its conscience and its ability to distinguish right from wrong.” A truly other-regarding position for gambling considers not only the short-term impacts but those in the long-run, as well.
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PostSubject: Second question   Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:47 pm

After careful considerations of the various ethical theories/views discussed in class, I choose to adopt the existentialist view as a “personal moral system or code” in the sense that I accept the principle of “existence precedes essence,” or that my actual life is what constitutes what could be called my “essence” instead of there being a predetermined essence that defines what it is to be a human person. I cannot say that humans are (or that I am) by nature good or bad. I am a practicing (although selective) Catholic but I do not see my religion to be saying that I am innately good. Yes, my God wants me to strive for perfection just as He is. But He has given me free will in such a way that despite His having a divine plan or a complex design for my life and for everything else He created, I am still free to choose between being a good or a bad person and as to how I would like to live my life. That is why salvation, the concept that God saves humanity from death by providing them eternal life, is considered a free gift by Catholics. Salvation is something someone has to deliberately choose rather than being imposed on us. Just as I have the option to believe or not to, so do I have the freedom with how I would live my life. As much as possible, I live as a good Christian, a good citizen who abides by the law, and as someone who tries to conform to social norms in the best way possible just for the sake of living an orderly life. Suppose my actions, by any chance, are considered immoral according to social or religious standards. If I think they are good and beneficial, I would still do it. In the first place, I am responsible for whatever course of action I take. I simply rest in the thought that I will never choose by conscious effort to cause harm over another person, and in the confidence that my God has given me and continues to provide experiences and means of contact with Him enough to tell me what is right and wrong at a given time. I do not care being tagged immoral. For in the end, it is only what is between me and my God that matters, so to Him I submit my life for judgment.
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