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 De Guzman.Phili171 exam.TF 11:30-1:00pm

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Join date : 2009-03-30

PostSubject: De Guzman.Phili171 exam.TF 11:30-1:00pm   Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:02 pm

1. What is the principle of 'respect for persons'? Elaborate. Propose a way that this may be understood in different context, specifically in end-of-life situations.

The principle of ‘respect for person’ as one of the central principles of Bioethics suggests that human beings are autonomous agents capable of governing themselves, being able to make decisions that are sound, justifiable, rational, free and enlightened decisions especially when they are caught in crucial situations such as in end-of-life decisions. Moreover, hey are considered autonomous beings that when face in a crucial situation, has the right to informed consent before taking any decisions crucial to his/her life. However, the principle ‘ respect for person’, according to moral/ethical theorists, is also concerned with the idea of giving ‘protection’ to those people who are not capable of determining/deliberation of personal choices/ self-governance because they have impaired autonomy for self-governance.

For instance, a person who is in a permanent vegetative state is not capable of self-governance in that; he/she cannot make any rational, sound, and enlightened judgment/decision/choice. This basically boils down to the idea that he/she does not have a choice, and therefore, he/she is considered a person deprived of autonomy. The principle, ‘respect for person’ also entail that a person be given protection when he/she is deprived of autonomy. Moreover, autonomy according to the moral philosophy refers to self-governance, rational thought, well informed choices/decisions and informed consent, and if it is a diminished autonomy, then he/she shall be entitled to protection. The question is. Why are we concerned of giving him/her protection? Others will argue, because he /she has diminished autonomy, she/he is deprived of deliberating with p[personal choices.

Moreover, a person with diminished autonomy is given the necessary protection, because basically we are concerned with ‘protecting and preserving life’ regardless if he/she is autonomous or with an impaired autonomy. And in order to preserve one’s life who is cot capable of self-governance, she/he must be protected against any harm or abuse; he/she shall be given the appropriate security.

There are also contending ethical and moral views of what do we really mean by the concept of a ‘person’. What really is a person? Why shall they be given respect, protection and autonomy in the first place? Who can be qualified as ‘persons’?

Are babies considered persons? What about the fetuses? Or what about the embryo fetuses who were just considered ‘mass of cells the size of a close fist”? Do they have the right preserve their lives? Furthermore, they are still considered unautonomous agents since they are still developing humans unable to arrive on rational, free and enlightened choices. To a greater extent, because they are not capable of giving sound judgment, therefore they are deprived of the freedom to do what they want and so they are agents subjected to the autonomy of their mothers. Some would say that fetuses are the ones who are deprived of autonomy and so they are entitled to protection (i.e. pregnant women/mothers carrying them, parents shall give them the appropriate protection to preserve their lives). But then we have already argued that the principle of ‘respect for person’ not only entails respect for autonomy but also protection for those ‘persons’ with impaired, diminished autonomy. Are fetuses which are “mass of cells the size of fist living inside a woman’s womb’ considered persons? Do they have the same rights as their mothers to protect and/or preserve their lives? If say, fetuses are the beginning of life, then we shall give them protection as to preserve their lives. Would not be this idea be conflicting with the idea of respecting the autonomy of a pregnant woman carrying the fetus? What if for example the pregnant woman chooses to commit abortion because of certain reason like she is not yet ready to have a baby? And because she is treated as an ‘autonomous agent’ she has the freedom or the personal choice to do whatever she wants to do with her own body, like for example, committing abortion. Who shall be then be treated persons? Who shall be then respected? The fetus or the pregnant woman? Where do we draw the line between right of the fetus and the right of the pregnant woman? Where do we draw the line between autonomy and protection?

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.

With the vast array if contending views and ideas concerning ethics and morality, though we can come up with a “personal moral system or code’, it is still hard to justify such personal moral code. But then again, In my personal opinion, since I am a student of Ethics, it is my responsibility to study every ethical theories for intellectual purposes but that does not necessarily mean that I will believe in such theories. I am still convicted to my personal believes and/or personal moral system or code.

Before coming up with my personal moral system or code, I shall define my concept of morality, based on the lectures and contending theories we have discussed throughput the whole semester. Morality can be the result of externalities; it can be something that is imposed on us, it is something we can qualify as based on the moral standards, beliefs, traditions we have learned from our inception. Moreover, it can be considered as objective and relative. Objective in a sense that it is something imposed on us, that we are guided by some moral principles that will really affect our personal choices and actions. It does provide us with principles in doing something good, bad, moral, or immoral.

Let us consider the idea of abortion. Suppose I got pregnant, not because of I was raped but because It is my choice to be engage in PMS. I know I am not yet ready to face the responsibility of motherhood. Some will contest that since I am an independent, rational and free individual, I do certainly have the option to commit abortion. It is my body anyway, and the fetus is apparently consuming all of the nutrients inside of me. I do have the right to do whatever I want to do since I am treated an autonomous individual. But I do have my conviction, that I am believer in the Christian faith and I contest that abortion is a sin. I will still come up with what I consider a moral decision to ‘preserve life’. To an extent, since I am a Christian, if Nietzsche argues that Christianity is the celebration of human suffering and I am considered a slave with my Christian beliefs, then is it. In my opinion, ‘essence still precedes existence’. I will be responsible for my actions because in the first place I was involve in it, to an extent I made a choice. I will not commit abortion.

As a person, I consider the idea that I may not absolutely free and rational individual capable of making personal choices. Moreover, my actions are greatly influence by the moral standards that were set. I do follow these moral standards that were set by the society surrounding me. But to some extent, I am still a rational individual capable of exercising personal freedom and coming up with an enlightened, sound and rational decisions. As a moral agent, I am responsible to every action I have done. I make sure that I am aware of the possible consequences that may result from such an act and that I shall assume responsibility and accountability. Moreover, I am rational but not absolutely free to do what ever that may please me, because I follow certain moral system or code and I have the obligation to be accountable and responsible with my actions.
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