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 Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday

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jimenez



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PostSubject: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:07 pm

Identify some scenes in the film 'Saving Private Ryan' OR 'Tears of The Sun'(i.e., important elements in the story) that may best be understood from a Utilitarian OR Deontological Perspective. Is/Are that/those act(s) or decision(s) presented justifiable? What would have been wrong about doing otherwise?
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cañamo_ijikhanran



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PostSubject: Reaction to the movie "Tears of the Sun"   Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:36 am

The movie Tears of the Sun is spectacular. Bruce Willis and the other actors and actresses acted so well that the viewers feel the tensions and other emotions as if they are in the set of the film. The scenes get more intense as the story crawls up to its end. Some scenes are actually gory and inhumane. The killings are too realistic. There has been a sudden rush of excitement and seconds of contemplation that follows. The concept of the story is not far from reality. The war in Africa can be proven in history.
I just like to comment on the plot itself. The story is too biased on the United States of America. The world domination of US capitalism is known. Capitalism induces the rise of poverty and other degenerative phenomena. The greed for money leads to a greater greed which is the greed for power. In the story, the United States saved Africans. The people who are supposed to be the bringers of terror have become the saviors. The story creates a “new image” of the US especially the US soldiers.
The particular scene which I have considered utilitarian is the scene where Lieutenant A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) have decided to go back where they have left the Africans to save them even if it is not included in his orders. Deciding on his own regarding the safety of the Africans is out of his duties and responsibilities. But the sympathy within him prevailed. The decision of saving the Africans is supported by his fellow soldiers even though they have not expected it. His personal decision over the safety of the indigenous group of people is good because it entails the best thing for the people; to live and to survive. If I was in his place, I would have done the same. Even though the order is to only take the doctor, the nuns and the priest, other external factors may really change things. The scene where the US soldiers witnessed how the Fulani rebels abuse and torture the ethnic people, especially the women, is what I considered the turning point regarding the US soldiers’ dilemma in saving the Africans. Many soldiers have died in the quest but they died satisfied in their lives for they know that what they have done is right and the best thing for Africa.
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De Ramos



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PostSubject: Tears of the Sun   Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:05 am

Some of the scenes that can be best understood from a deontological perspective are as follows: first, Lieutenant Waters and his team of navy SEALs were instructed to HALO jump over Cameroon and into the jungle outside of a small Catholic mission where they will find Dr. Lena Fiore Kendricks, who is an American citizen by marriage. Their secondary mission is to extract the priest and two nuns who run the mission if they are willing to go with them. This simply means that their only target is to save the said individuals not including the people of Ibo tribe who were taken cared by Dr. Kendricks and company. Because it is their duty to do such, Lieutenant Waters managed to deceive Dr. Kendricks by merely agreeing by what the said doctor wanted to happen, and that is to include in the escape or in the extraction the Ibo tribe, however when the choppers land, Waters' initial plan became clear as the SEALs suddenly turned on the refugees and held them at gun point. Then, Waters forced Dr. Kendricks onto the helicopter and the SEAL team collapsed back for a swift extraction, which means that the refugees were left stranded in the middle of the jungle without any protection against rebel forces. It can therefore be generalized that upon the extraction of Dr. Kendricks (the priest and the nuns were not included since they administered to stay in the village to assist the wounded Ibo individuals despite the threat that the rebel forces were coming), the mission of Waters and his troupe has intrinsic value (somehow successful) for it is merely their duty. This also accounts for another scene (the second one as I consider it) to have a deontological foundation, the priests and the two nuns didn’t leave the wounded and dying for they firmly believe that it is their duty, to be there in Africa, particularly on that specific tribe and assist and give help no matter what. Personally, duty-based ethics can also be utilize to explain why the rebel forces kill people, especially those who were members of the Ibo tribe, for the purpose of ethnic cleansing even if its “life” that they are taking from the innocent people. But it can also be explained from the utilitarian perspective because these wrong actions done by the rebels are said to be executed for the good of Africa, the mere sense of ethnic cleansing, even though the means (violence) is not really good at all.

On the other hand, the utilitarian perspective can further be justified by the scene wherein there was a change in the course of mission of Waters and his troupe because during the trip back to the Truman, the helicopter crew and SEALS passed over the mission and discovered that the mission has been raided and destroyed just as Kendricks had predicted. Feeling a deep conviction, Waters ordered the helicopter to turn around and regroup with the refugees. The SEALs decided on the spot to escort the refugees to the Cameroon border. The very old ones and the young ones were transported to Cameroon via the helicopter. The action done by the troupe is utilitarian in nature because they look at the consequences of saving more lives rather than doing their duty as is. It by hook or by crook showed the irrationality of the troupe of Waters. It was also shown when the SEALs unanimously continue to escort the refugees no matter what the cost is.
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Abala



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PostSubject: Saving Private Ryan   Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:27 am

Saving Private Ryan tells the story of men who are ordered to find one soldier – Private James Francis Ryan and to send him home to America.

The story is set in France during World War II.

In the United States, top military officials found out that a mother would be receiving three telegrams that would inform her that three of her sons died in battle. The military officials also learn that there is a fourth son, who they believe is still alive. These officials want to bring this fourth Ryan home to his mother. Thus, Captain Miller is tasked with gathering a number of rangers in order to search for this man.

Along their journey, these men had to make decisions that had grave repercussions. They questioned their orders and went on to act according to their consciences. The film is presented with a number of utilitarian and deontological actions. Simply put, utilitarian is defined as presenting the greater good for a greater number of people. Utilitarianism aims to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Deontology, on the other hand, is duty-based ethics wherein people act because of duty.

The most important, essential, deontological example is that being soldiers, it is their duty to defend their country and fight the war. As soldiers, it is their job to go to enemy lines and try to win a war. The movie opens with a scene in a beach where the American soldiers are being shot at by Germans. The Americans seem to lose their men quickly. Orders are given to those alive to find cover and leave the beach. However, there are soldiers and medics who would rather stay on the field and fight. They claim that it’s their job to do so. Despite the risk of death, the soldiers take up arms and fight because it is their job, their duty to do so. I think this is justifiable. In war, there really are casualties. In war, soldiers really are supposed to hold grenades and guns. I think this, too, serves a utilitarian purpose. Soldiers are to defend their countrymen. And so, going out to war to protect their country serves the greater population of that country.

Another example is when one of Captain Miller’s men, Private Caparzo decided to take a civilian child with him and bring her to a town that’s safe. On the utilitarian perspective, Caparzo shouldn’t have carried the child with him. This is because taking the child, who he says reminds him of his niece, endangers the lives of his fellow soldiers. It doesn’t produce a consequence that would serve the greater good. On the other hand, from a deontological perspective, Caparzo’s act is justified. As soldiers, they are not meant to hurt civilians. They are tasked too to bring them to safety. Other than that, I think, being human beings, our conscience would dictate us that it is our duty to help others – especially children. Thus, Caparzo was acting out of duty.

Finally, the movie revolves around the whole idea of saving Private Ryan. As one of the soldiers asked: is it worth it to put the lives of eight men on the line for one? One of the soldiers mention that they are going to bring Ryan home to his mother, since her other sons died. But another soldier reasons out that, they too have got mothers to go home too. Utilitarianism would dictate that this action is not good. It is not right to put lives of more people just to save one. The sacrifice these eight soldiers put in to save Ryan is not considered worthy by utilitarian rules for sacrifice and virtues have no place in utilitarianism. Deontology would claim otherwise. Duty dictates these soldiers to carry out the orders given to them. They are supposed to follow it. Therefore, it does not matter if they understand their orders or not, they have to carry them out.
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Alegre,CB



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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:36 am

The movie “Tears of the Sun” is full of action and challenges (dilemma) that one will get to choose between his duty or humanity. Navy SEAL Lieutenant A.K. Waters and his team encountered this dilemma when they had to decide whether they would stick to their mission (which is to rescue Dr. Lena Kendricks, an American citizen by marriage; two nuns and a priest) or they would break the orders given to them by Captain Rhodes (commanding officer) and put their lives at risk by saving Nigerian refugees.

The following scenes may be best understood from a deontological perspective: a) when Lieutenant Waters promised (or agreed with) Dr. Kendricks that they will rescue the Nigerian refugees from the rebels but did not stay true to his words (at first) because he forced Dr. Kendricks onto the helicopter and left the refugees without any protection from the Fulani rebels. Lt. Waters managed to deceive Dr. Kendricks because it was part of his duty; b) knowing that her life is at stake, Dr. Kendricks did not want to be rescued unless “her people” will also be rescued by the US troops. It was her duty as a medical person to give medical aid to those wounded refugees and she did not think what will be the consequences of her decision as long as she did her duty and perform her medical profession.

From the perspective of utilitarianism, Lt. Waters' decision was justified when he broke the order of his commanding officer and took the risk of protecting the refugees from the rebel forces and helped them escape from the mission site. Rescuing the refugees was out of his duty, yet, the principle of greatest good prevailed. He decided to do this when they were about to leave the jungle and then saw the mission site with the Fulani rebels. Protecting and rescuing the refugees brought an unexplainable happiness to the Nigerian people because they were freed from the evil hands of the Fulani rebels. Also, regardless of their duty to follow the order of Captain Rhodes and no matter what the cost is, the decision made by the US soldiers was for the greatest good of the Nigerian people and their state in general because one of the refugees was a sole survivor of the presidential family. Otherwise, if Lt. Waters did not break his commander's order, the Nigerian people will be left under the cruel leadership of the Fulani rebels.

The movie in general is a best picture of a real situation in other countries with rebels/dictators. It lets us weigh the value of our duty (being true to our mission) and the value of other people's lives.
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barron



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PostSubject: Saving Private Ryan   Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:53 pm

In the film Saving Private Ryan, a group of soldiers, led by a Captain Miller and several others, was given orders to save a Private Ryan and ensure his passage home. As this group of soldiers search, several died for the sake of one man and their duty.

I do not think that there can be an application of the utilitarian perspective in this film. Saving one life but placing the life of several others on the line is a twisted sense of utilitarianism. I mean, producing more unhappiness for the sake of one family being compensated for the loss is a different perspective. On the other hand, the motives in this film can be adequately explained by the deontological perspective.

The duty of these men, which is to save the life of one in risk for theirs, really follows the deontological view. As ordered by their superiors, they have to save Ryan’s life in accordance with the rule of sole survivor policy and the task they have on their shoulders. The group really followed their sense of duty despite the loss of their comrades. I think that this act is justifiable as it follows from a sense of duty that must be carried out.

In addition to the duty of these men to save Ryan, their duty as a soldier is also perceived. Private Ryan, upon the group of Captain Miller finding him, refuses to go home in conformity to his duty as a soldier. He claims that he is not worthy to go home. In addition, he establishes the need for defending their base. In my perspective, Ryan’s line of reasoning is pretty much acceptable. That is, as a soldier he needs to defend his country. But then, it conflicts with the order given to Captain Miller and that order, which is for him to go home, superimpose his duty as a soldier. So if you look at Miller’s perspective, Ryan’s decision to stay is not justifiable. But then, if you look at Ryan’s perspective, this whole thing about saving him is also not justifiable.

In conclusion, there are times when the duty of one conflicts with the other. This conflict may prevent the manifestation of one’s duty thus making one immoral in Kant’s point of view. Sometimes, it takes a lot of effort for one to carry out his or her duty but then some considerations must be taken.
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SAGNIP



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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:01 pm

In Saving Private Ryan, after winning the long battle at Omaha beach on D-Day, Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) is directed on a rescue mission. Having known that the three brothers of paratrooper Private James Ryan were killed in the battle, the Army (Gen. George Marshall) wants Ryan be sent back to his family. Captain Miller, with his squad had a risky and arduous time finding Private Ryan. In their task, there were some instances wherein some soldiers reached losing hope and even quitting in the mission. Some soldiers argue that quitting or abolishing the mission of saving Ryan’s life in expense of a quad is justifiable or moral. Further, abolishing the mission will bring or give more pleasure and lesser pain for the quad (which is apparently greater than Privet Ryan). In this case, these soldiers are being utilitarians. This means that Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, claims that an action is right or good if it produces greatest amount of pleasure for greatest number of people inspite of whatever means. However, if the mission is abolished, there is a possibility that the fourth Private Ryan could have been killed. In my opinion, the soldiers should perform and accomplish their duty for the reason that Ryan is the only living son. In this way, looking for and saving Ryan is an act which has inner moral worth. Despite of some soldiers’ arguments, Captain Miller is determined to finish his mission as a soldier’s duty. This instance features a Kantian ethics which states that a good will is one which acts for the sake of duty. This means that human actions have inner moral worth only if they are performed from duty. After finding Private Ryan, even if Private Ryan refuses to leave his unit and come with Miller’s quad, Captain Miller chose to stay and merged with Ryan’s unit combating German’s attack. Supplementary, Captain Miller who chose to stay not until Private Ryan join them, acted for the sake of his duty. On the other hand, if Captain Miller (and his quad) leave or move out the bridge due to Ryan’s refusal, Ryan with his co-unit soldiers could have been killed. In addition, the refusal of Ryan to leave his unit highlights a Kantian ethics. The decision of staying with his (Ryan) comrades and guarding the bridge against the Germans is a good will because this acts for the sake of (his original) duty. In my opinion, I agree with Ryan’s decision in staying with his unit. Despite the sacrifices of Miller’s quad on the mission, as a soldier one of its main duty is to accomplish its mission, in this case, Ryan’s unit is guarding the bridge against the Germans. On the other hand, if Private Ryan derparted from his unit and followed Miller, Miller’s quad could have been save against the Germans attack at the bridge.

In Tears of the Sun, the Fulani rebels ousted and replaced the Presidential family into a dictatorship under general Yakubu. With some news reports or footages, Lieutenant Waters along with his team of Navy SEALs is sent to a mission finding and extracting primarily Dr. Lena Fiore and a priest and two nuns. Waters found Dr. Kendricks who refuses to leave without the refugees. To perform and accomplish Waters’ mission or duty, the team brings together the refugees as the condition of the said doctor. I find this as a Kantian ethics. The team complied with the doctor’s condition in order to extract (the doctor) and accomplish the mission or the duty. But on the other hand, with conscience and gulit, Waters commands to return and also save the refugees. The whole movie deals with how Waters and his team won against the rebels who are coming after them. In this case, Waters and his team became utilitarians in pursuing and protecting the African refugees. The team fought with the rebels even if it is outside their mission for a greater pleasure for a greatest number of people. In my opinion, this utilitarian view, in this case, evidently shows a good act, thus ending the movie with safe place fro the refugees.

In my opinion, this clearly entails that using utilitarian or Kantian’s ethics depends
upon the instances and situations.
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MANGALUS



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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:37 pm

For Our Sins

You know you’re watching a bad movie when you see Bruce Willis crying while he is being treated for a bleeding gash on his arm.

Antoine Fuqua’s Tears of the Sun is one of the many films Hollywood churns out each year, to satisfy the primeval need of many people to see blood spraying and body parts flying all over the silver screen. The characters are archetypal, almost made out of cardboard such that when we see Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci) carrying an African baby crying, we know she is the generic foreigner who flies down on some godforsaken territory to help the poor, the sick and the bleeding. The characterization is shallow, little back story is given such that the audience is left with more questions than answers. The screenplay may well be written by a nine-year old; what we need to know about the story (which can’t be told by the grunts, cuss words and hushed/hurried commands) can be told by the relatively few quiet moments where some characters actually have real conversations.

Tears of the Sun, no matter how formulaic, is not without merits. After every six or seven explosions, the characters are plunged into moral quandaries. These dilemmas make for a very interesting study in ethics.

Utilitarianism does not only dictate the need for the greatest good (pleasure) for the greatest number. More importantly, utilitarianism is finding the favorable balance between the pleasures of the greatest number over the pain of the least number. When Dr. Kendricks refuses to leave the mission because her people need her, we know she is justified – yes, all of them will most probably die, but the doctor knows that by making that final stand, the Ibos will find solace in the face of adversary. When Lt. Waters (Bruce Willis) forces the people, to leave the little that is left of their worldly possessions, we know he is justified – by bringing nothing, the villagers will be more nimble, giving them a better chance at surviving even if they have nothing but the clothes on their back. When Dr. Kendricks lies about the presence of Arthur Yakubu, the heir of the late president, when know she is justified – for how can she trust eight American soldiers with the lifeline of a dying nation when she has just met them, the night before?

The high point of the movie is when the music swells (and tells the audience, “hey, this is the good part!”) and the lieutenant delivers an albeit inarticulate but honest speech. He tells them that he has “broken his own rule and started to give a fuck,” and he asks his men what they think. All of them give him straight answers – they all know that they will die but they also know that it is the “decent thing” to do. By doing a supererogatory act, this is where they find their salvation and their redemption. There are eight soldiers and over 70 villagers. This is the right balance between the greatest good for the greatest number over the least pain for the least number.

Tears of the Sun is an inept and poorly made movie, but it is precisely its honesty and humanity that makes it a good story. Hooyah. Hooyah.
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Torrecampo



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PostSubject: Question #4   Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:52 pm

The movie “Tears of the Sun” would primarily help us generate different questions from different ethical grounds. Assuming that I am a supporter of Utilitarianism, then my question would be, “What is the right thing to do, that would benefit the greatest number or that would produce the greatest good for the greatest number?”. On the other hand, in the Deontological perspective, one would ask “How would I be able to do my duty?”

Let us, first identity some scenes in the movie, wherein it can be justified by the Kantian ethics. First, when LT. A. K. Waters and his NAVY SEALS Team, went to Nigeria to extract a “critical personality” there, who is actually Dr. Lena Kendricks and a secondary mission to also haul out a priest and the two nuns only if they are willing to go. Second, would be, when Dr. Kendricks declined going with there, because it means leaving her people behind and as a doctor she has the duty to administer medication on these people. Third, the priest and the nun refused to go, because they believed that they have the duty to look after these refugees of the war. Fourth, when Captain Bill Rhodes declined to send air support after LT. Waters deviated from his original command. In the Kantian Ethics these actions are justifiable; primarily these actions were all carried out of duty.

On the other hand, actions that are best understood from a Utilitarian point of view are: A) LT. Waters, out of his deep conviction to not only to escort Dr. Kendricks out of Nigeria, but also to save the refugees of the Ibo tribe. B) Waters’ team decided to shoulder this direct command from him even though this thing is unexpected. C) Having discovered that someone is transmitting a signal that is why they are being tracked down by a large number of rebels, Waters never hesitated to kill the person. D) Dr. Kendricks never told Waters about Arthur Azuka’s identity, this feared her that Waters would really refuse to bring with her the people. These actions are strongly supported by Mill’s Ethics. What they have done here is purely out of the desire to produce the greatest good for the greatest number.

Having a bias on the deontological perspective and being torn between these two ethical principles, I would like to comment on Waters’ action on deviating from the original command; this decision is hard although, he should have thought that this would put their lives (his lives, his team’s lives, Kendricks’ and the refugees’) into a big risk. And also, his actions actually threaten the success of the mission. I know that he have also considered this, since he MUST have thought that they would be able to escort Kendricks and the others alive at the border of Cameroon, since they have been trained for this. And lastly, I think what Kendricks did to hide the identity of Azuka, also put all of them into bigger risks. Yet, I cannot blame her for she admitted that she did not trust Waters that time. But since she said that its her duty to administer medics for these people, then she should have thought that revealing earlier that secret would protect them more from danger.

The thing is: WE, WHEN FACE ON CERTAIN UNNECESSARY CONSEQUENCES, EITHER BECOMES A UTILITARIAN OR STICK WITH THE DEONTOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES. OR SOME FIND IT EASY TO COMBINE THE PRINCIPLES OF THESE CONTRADICTING VIEWS.
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gonzales.shiela



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PostSubject: Reaction on the film "Tears of the Sun"   Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:17 pm

The film, Tears of the Sun, effectively conveyed the violence and terror of African tribal conflict. Although it has been set in a ‘fictional revolution’, the film managed to show what actually happens in Africa and how the horrors of ethnic cleansing has taken place in war-torn Nigeria, in particular. The film has its own biases considering that it was one of those pro-US military films. But at the end of the story, one would then realize that it was not merely a film of guns and explosions as the US forces saved Nigeria, rather it was a film that encompassed questions on morality, conscience, and idealism. Also, some critics of the film highlighted the policy of humanitarian intervention addressed by the movie.

Essential elements of the film can be viewed using either the deontological or utilitarian perspective, depending on the means and ends of the courses of action. The scene wherein Lt. A.K. Waters, played by Bruce Willis, went after the command of his boss, Tom Skerritt to rescue an American doctor, Dr. Kendricks, including a nun and a priest who were all working in a refugee camp about to be demolished by guerrillas, without interfering in the local politics, can be justified using the deontological perspective. Pursuing this mission was the right thing to do for Lt. Waters because it was his duty as a soldier to follow the commands of officials higher than him whatever the nature of the action. It is justifiable in the sense of doing something for the sake of duty is good in itself because it has intrinsic value. The same can be said in the scenes wherein the nun, together with the priest refused to evacuate the camp because of the thought of duty and responsibility they have, as religious workers, to assist the victims of the civil war. Also, the part when Dr. Kendricks declined to leave without her people is justifiable under the deontological view. It was considered as her duty as a doctor to administer treatment to those natives who suffered from the horrors of ethnic cleansing. Moreover, the said course of action can also fall under the principle of utility wherein there is a favorable balance of pleasure over pain. The scene when Lt. A.K. Waters decided to defy the command of his boss and rather put the lives of his Navy SEALS team on the line by helping the refugees cross the border to Cameroon on foot is best understood in the utilitarian view. The action is considered good in nature because it is instrumental in achieving higher good, which is saving the lives of the native people as well as their culture and ethnicity from the ethnic cleansing pursued by the militant guerrillas. It can also be said that their sacrifices are beneficial because it maximized the greatest good for the greatest number of people when the natives were saved. Another scene that falls under the utilitarian perspective was when Dr. Kendricks opted not to tell Lt. Waters a critical piece of information because at that time, she did not trust the lieutenant and she thought that it will bring higher good not only for her but for all the natives if they keep it from him. Dr. Kendricks thought that Lt. Waters will deceive them and that his team was not worthy enough to know the information. The utilitarian view justifies the act because it is aimed to maximize pleasure and minimize pain on the part of the natives.
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LOPEGA



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PostSubject: Tears of the Sun   Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:33 pm


“You did the good thing today” said Dr. Kendricks, then Lt. Waters replied, “It’s been so long since I’ve done a good thing, I think”. As they continue their escape, they encounter a small village that is in the process of being wiped out by rebel soldiers, Lt. Waters team assault the rebels and stop their horrible actions. The criterion of saying that such actions are “good” was based on the fact that what the SEALs did resulted in the preservation of the lives of the survivors in the would-be village massacre. Because the consequences of such actions of the SEALs were something which is good, so it was considered that what they did was a “good thing”. If they did the opposite then the people in the entire village will be dead just like what happened in the village where the St. Michael’s mission was.


The scene wherein the priests and the two nuns who choose to be left behind in order for them to care for the many villagers/tribesmen who were wounded. They were willing to sacrifice their safety, thus their lives in order to cure and in turn save the lives of many people. Such sacrifice is not a sacrifice at all because by doing so, the priest or then nuns may have greater peace of mind or sense of contentment rather than leaving the people there. In terms of degree of pleasure, peace of mind, contentment and the acceptance that God’s will to them is to help others is of higher pleasure than being rescued and went back to US. On one hand, if they had chosen to go back to US with Lt. Water and his team, their conscience would eat them until they felt the guilt and sense of unfulfillment or worst unworthy of the love of God.

In the scene where the US Navy Seal team determined that somebody within the group must be conveying information to the rebels which allow them to identify their location and close in with incredible speed. So they killed the person who was betraying them so that nobody then will report to rebels thus they will be spared from being get caught. To protect the lives of the US Navy Seal team, the Doctor and that of the remaining natives with them, and to ensure the safety of their journey to Cameroon they were willing to take the life of one person. Such action was justifiable because the said person who was the traitor was running to escape so they have to shot him in fear that he will report to the rebels thus jeopardizing their lives because there were so many rebels and only eight soldiers to protect them. If they have done otherwise, that is, let the person live, then such person will continue to report information to the rebels then they might be ambushed thus there was a high possibility that all of them will get killed.

Another is, when the village woman, gave her daughter to the US forces in the helicopter to be carried to the Cameroon border. Even if she does not want to be parted to his beloved daughter, she was willing to do so to ensure that her daughter will be safe, even if there was a high possibility that she may be killed by the rebels during their journey thus the possibility that she will not see her daughter ever again, even if it tore her heart she did it. Because, it was obvious that knowing that her child is safe is of more “higher pleasure” to her than her life. If she chose that her little daughter will go with her in the journey then she would not only endanger the life of her daughter but all of them because by bringing with them a child will slow down their journey (time was of the essence because there were rebels behind them) so they might not get to the Cameroon border safely.

When the soldiers forcefully taken Dr. Kendricks to the helicopter and the refugees were left stranded in the middle of the jungle without any protection against rebel forces. What they did may not have been good in itself, however by doing so, it will end to something good-they would abide by the rules of their commander, they would get Dr. Kendricks back to US, therefore they will be successful in their mission and such success may lead to a more promising career and they would not tarnished the diplomatic relation of their country. Since in the movie itself, they did the opposite so just like what happened in the movie many died, soldiers and natives alike, and their commander got angry at them and there was a great chance that their mission would have failed (but of course the movie was a happy ending-they succeed in their mission).

When they defied military orders the SEALs unanimously continue to escort the refugees no matter what the cost is. Even if some of his men were killed and they endanger their life, it was still something good because they help those people, and knowing that they have saved the lives of those people, having the good inexplicable feeling of being a good Samaritan, the sense of contentment and satisfaction, and they save the life of the heir to Nigeria and make so many Nigerian elated is of higher value/pleasure to them and worth the lives of the soldiers who were killed in protecting them.

The rebels kill innocent people. The rebels were torturing them. They let them dance before execution.They rape some native woman and burn the villages yet such actions give them higher pleasure because by doing so their nation would have “ethnic cleansing” in that part of Nigeria, which is their main goal as new rulers of the country. Even if they kill many tribesmen, they will live up to their vision and ideals and thus succeed in their goals, which is of higher value to them than letting the tribesmen live and ”contaminate” their country.

The part wherein their commander order Lt. Waters to surrender the survivor of the execution of the First family of Nigeria-Arthur, the would-be tribal king and rightful heir to Nigeria, to the rebels who is the main reason why the rebels are after them. Such order is justifiable in the sense that by surrendering Arthur, the rebels would not hunt them down thus leave them alone and many of them will survive and be safe. It is right because why preserve the life of only one person at the expense of the lives of many people? Since in the movie they decided not to follow the orders thus again led to the death of some of the SEALs and tribesmen in their watch.

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roan isturis



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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:12 pm

ISTURIS Philo171 Jimenez 4th writing assignment



At the start of the film, LT (bruce willis) was given the mission of extracting Lena at all costs. Now, to effectively perform this duty LT made Lena believe that the refugees she is taking care of will also be taken to safety with them. This action is justifiable both from the utilitarian or deontological view. That is, the Lt. was only doing his duty which is in itself justifiable even if it menat deceiving Lena to complete the mission. Also, using the utilitarian view, the deception is also justifiable in the sense that it was an effective tool in completing the mission.

Now, if the mission was done otherwise (without deception), it also have the possibility of being completed, judging from the facts of the circumstances, which are: presence of air carriers which could accommodate a part of the refugees and coul go back for the remaining, and the presence of a safe place at Cameroon. the problem would be that if the mission will be done this way, there will be other considerations (e.g. travel, time, the rebels, safety of the pack, etc.) which could have jeopardized the mission itself (lena) and the other people.

From a minimalist point of view, the deception would have been the easiest way. They could also have knocked Lena out and just took her, the mission would be accomplished with no damage to LT's team and Lena. However, Lena was not the only person in the picture, LT's team have the capability to potentially lead the refugees to safety thereby saving more people not just Lena. but of course sine there are risks, we'll talk about priorities, Lena being an american and the refugees being non but also a consideration because they are refugees.

If only the situation was anticipated and more equipments, men and transportation were afforded for LT's team, the mission would have been accomplished with the bonus of the refugees' safety. Again this is a case which lies heavily on available alternatives and weighing the pros and cons.

Another situation in the movie which this paper will refer to as the Arthur case can be viewed using the utilitarian view. LT decided to protect Arthur (the assumed leader of the Obi nation, although i do not know why this is so since he is only the son of the late president, it would have been understandable if the Obi was based on monarchy)since he will be assuming leadership of the Obi if he survived, it was also assumed in the film that without him the Obi will not survive after the war.

Using the utilitarian view, keeping Arthur would not have been the best decision since the rebels are specifically after him which would me a hihg risk to the safety of the people with them. As such, the Arthur case seems to be a case of Quality vs. Quantity. leave arthur and safe most people or save protect Arthur because of his status possibly at the cost af the people in the traveling group. But then again, the risk was minimized with the discovery of the tracking device carried by one of the refugees. So therefore, it is a good decision to keep Arthur and try to keep the whole group alive after the discovery of the tracking device. This does not mean that there would be no risks, as shown in the films ending, some of LT's men were killed/ wounded during an encounter with the rebels. But then again, they are soldiers and it is their duty to protect the people and the refugees. If LT did otherwise (leave, turn over Arthur) the same fate would have befallen the group since the rebels are also afetr those who are of different faith (the refugees in the group are such people).
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Cruz James Leonard



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PostSubject: reactiion to the films   Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:23 pm

Having watched the film Tears of the Sun for a few times before, it was easier for me to comprehend better the context of each scene. But watching it specifically for identifying deontological and utilitarian practices of the characters involved makes the film seem more emotionally appealing.
I think it would be best if I would identify the actions made by the characters while at the same time re-telling the story of the movie. The story mainly revolved on a rescue mission assigned to Lieutenant A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) of four American nationals, who are in deep danger of being attacked by Nigerian rebels, one of which was Dr. Lina Kendricks. Lieutenant Waters was given orders to consider Dr. Kendricks as a top priority and the other as the secondary ones. The first deontological conflict occurred when they arrived at the location and saw that the people they were about to rescue were volunteer workers and missionaries with a group of more than 30 Nigerian locals. Lieutenant Waters explained that they were there to get only the Americans out of the area but Dr. Kendricks refused to come, as she believed that she had the duty to take care of ‘her people’. Having heard this Lt. Waters consulted with his commanding officer and received orders to stick to the original mission. So both having conflicts with their duties Lt. Waters found a way around it and was able to trick Dr. Kendricks to come with him.
The second conflict came when they came across the village were Dr. Kendricks was taken from and saw that the whole place was burned and that the bodies of all those who were left there were scattered bloody and lifeless. This then appealed to Lt. Waters and he asked the captain of the helicopter that they were riding to turn back around. So clearly this was a violation of his orders, and further his duties. On the other hand, for Dr. Kendricks she was now again reinstated with the duty of taking care of all the other locals who they have left behind.
Then another conflict came when Lt. Waters soldiers were being confused about what they were doing because them turning back to aid the locals did never really seem to be part of the mission tasked to them. So then Lt. Waters had a talk with his people who decided to stick with him anyway as they were also emotionally appealed to by the inhumanities that they came across with during that mission.

Now to talk about the utilitarian acts shown in the movie, there are a couple of occasions that have shown this. From the point of view of commanding officer of the US troops, what would promote greater good was to get only the American nationals safe as they were not supposed to engage in war with the rebel army. For the part of the rebels on the other hand, it was to gain control of the political power in Nigeria and thus the execution of the whole presidential family. The decision of the priest and the nuns to stay with the locals was also a utilitarian act as they believed that it would give themselves and their locals whatever kind of pleasure that they sought. Also, Lt. Waters act of turning around for the locals they have already left was not a mere rejection of his order but was a utilitarian act as well. As the famous utilitarian phrase goes he chose the greater good for a greater number of people.
Now all of these acts classified into their respective categories played their part in the shifting of the storyboard. For Lt. Waters to have not turned back for those people who were being treated inhumanely was an inhumane act in itself. For Dr. Kendricks not leaving them at all was the right decision but as the story showed if she had insisted so she would have ended up dead with all the rest of those she was trying to protect. For the rest of the soldiers staying with their officer in the field gave him the much-needed support and thus made him believe in his decision better. And many more other acts as well where decisions were involved also had a certain degree of effect on what how the following scenes occurred, for the better of course.
There were a number of other events that showed both deontological and utilitarian acts but these are the few that mattered most to the storyline for me. The display of such was amazingly well embedded in the movie that if you would only watch it for the sake of watching you would maybe only get to come across such actions but on a shallower depth.
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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:35 pm

The movie Saving Private Ryan tells of a story in which a group of eight men are required to leave their post in order to fulfill their new duty of finding one private, James Francis Ryan, and bring him home to his mother as commanded by the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. From the title itself, we can already see the main element projected in the story, that is to find Private Ryan and bring him home safely. This particular element of the story can be best understood through deontology-- doing something for the sake of duty or principle. Captain Mill's decision of leading his seven men in search of a one private shows that even if it means leaving his entire troop and not having the chance to fight for the greater number of people, he is willing to do so out of duty or out of respect to the command given by the general. In my opinion, his decision is justifiable because by being the Captain, he must have understood the rules that come with being one and that is to be subject to the command of a higher officer, in this particular movie, the general. Even though some say that it is not justifiable because it is not right to sacrifice the life of many for the life of one, still, what Captain Miller did is moral considering the context and the fact that he is in the military wherein duty is clearly defined and understood. However, I must admit the act of sacrificing more life in order to save one is not always justifiable outside the realm of the military. Aside from Captain Miller’s decision to look for Private Ryan, one important element of the story that we should consider is the decision of Private Ryan on whether or not to stay. Obviously, the movie showed that Private Ryan chose to stay and join the rest in the battlefield. This particular event also shows that he did it for the sake of duty. Given the chance to go home, he still decided to join the troop in battling with the Germans. Again, I think, Ryan’s decision is justifiable for by being a soldier, he swore to protect the Americans and its welfare with all his might. Staying and fighting in the war is part of their duty.

Although the importance of duty is obviously seen in the movie, I think, there are still minor scenes where in utilitarianism was shown. One scene was that when some of the men started griping towards saving Private Ryan. What they’re saying in this scene is that why should they risk their lives (eight lives) in search of one man. Further, they were saying that they’re not even sure if Ryan is worthy of the lives of Caparzo and Wade ( the two soldiers who were killed first before the rest). Another scene, which can be understood through utilitarianism, is that when Captain Miller is contemplating over the death of his men and he rationalized it by saying that it is okay to have lost those men for it will benefit a greater number of people, may be ten times or even twenty, according to him.
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PostSubject: Tears of the Sun   Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:19 am

Several events in the movie "Tears of the Sun" can be looked at from either a teleological or deontological point of view. Deontology focuses on duty and the intrinsic or innate value of actions. It sees these actions as a good in itself. Teleology on the other hand focuses on the goal or the end. Actions evaluated by teleology are seen as instrumental to achieve a goal and are seen as good if it serves the goal or the end.

Lieutenant Waters and his comrades were assigned on a mission to find and extract Dr. Lena Kendricks, Father Gianni, Sister Grace and Sister Siobhan who were caught in the middle of a war in Nigeria. The rescue team immediately finds them and tells them to pack up for they were to leave at once. However, Dr. Kendricks refuses to go with the rescue team without her people. Lieutenant Waters makes a decision to follow his mission by lying to her. This can be looked at from a deontological point of view. He had to lie to the doctor in order for their mission to be successful; he had to do it to fulfill his duty.

However, the lieutenant completely disobeys orders and puts the lives of his team and the success of their mission in jeopardy by deciding to go back to the people he left behind. This can be looked at from a teleological or utilitarian point of view. His actions do not run parallel to his duty. He returned so that he can save the lives of the Nigerians--clearly, he does the greater good for the greatest number of people. But this scenario can also be looked at from both perspectives--where consequentialism meets deontology. Maybe he had to weigh between two duties he had--the duty of "SAVING INNOCENT LIVES" and the duty of "FOLLOWING ORDERS". It was just in following his duty to save innocent lives that he was able to do the greatest good for the greater number of people (in the end, he did save the son of the assassinated president and this turned out well for the people of Nigeria).


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mjgdeguzman



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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:37 am

Saving Private Ryan

Having watched the movie, I was as disgusted as I have seen the bloody scenes where in soldiers embarked on a bloody and deadly war fight against their enemies from another nation. The movie might have depicted the periods of the two known world wars wherein nations fought against each other making use of its militia, Army troops, bombs, marine warships, and sometimes the use of warheads that will surely kill thousands of soldiers and sometimes even the innocent civilians. It is hard to imagine this kind of a scebe happening in reality, but I believe that brutality and violence shown in the film do really happen in real wars.
Now, how can we tell that these acts done were good or bad? Using the Ethical theories of Teleology and Deontology, let us try to examine whether the actions done by the characters in the film are considered ethical or not ethical. First I am going to employ the Deontologist point of view of the famous pure rule deontologist, Immanuel Kant. Kant argued that there should be an entire ethical system based on a moral rule, and that is the Categorical Imperative. Kant argued that an act is considered right or wrong not based on the consequences alone, but by the nature of the act itself; neither for the sake of one’s own good (hedonism)or for the sake of a common good (Utilitarianism). Kant said that an action is considered morally right or good if it is based on the moral rule of ‘good will’, wherein actions are according to the pure good intentions of people doing an act. By nature, good intentions will produce an act that is purely morally right. According to Kant, acts shall be done in accordance with principle, and reason “duty for the sake of duty alone’ for example, it is the duty of some one to preserve life, so killing is wrong. Not on the consequences, not even on the basis of so called hedonism and utilitarianism. Thus, actions are judged whether they are moral or not if it is intentionally ‘done for the sake of the duty alone.’
Going back to our discussion of the case of the movie, many of the actions done in each scene, taking for example the war scenes wherein a lot of soldier’s livers were killed, how can we justify that their actions are ethical or unethical? What shall be the qualifications of judging their moral worth? Does the act of firing your guns, bombing, shedding blood, killing thousands of soldiers, be morally acceptable? Imagine yourself in that serious, deadly situation; here you are fighting with your enemies, dying for your own nation. You say that what you are doing is indeed a noble deed since it is for the sake of your country. So there you are, in the midst of a bloody war sacrificing your own life. Using the Deontologist point of view, considering the act alone of taking other’s lives, that act is considered wrong, since it is in the nature that killing is wrong regardless of the anticipated consequences, either for the sake of one good or for the good of others. Moreover killing is wrong regardless of the reason of killing the lives of others in order to save other lives on the other hand.
Yet, Kant discussed that the action s done, and in qualifying their moral worth, we have to consider the principles of reason. According to Kant, all human beings that have the capacity to be moral are rational beings. That means, they have the capability to use reason as a guiding force to take a moral action.

However, using a teologist point of view, one can say that the action done has its moral worth in accordance with its consequences, such as for one’s own good or for the good of the others. Having seen the actions done by the soldiers in the film, if one has to kill the enemy in order to save one’s nation, then the action can be justified to be morally right. When, one died of a noble death because of fighting for everyone’s good, then the action done can be considered as morally right regardless of the nature of the act itself.
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santiago



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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:51 am

L.N. Santiago

Saving Private Ryan is a film that vividly illustrates how war can bring out both violence and nobility in a man; that, indeed, he is an “animal” capable of reason and morality.

During World War II, a band of skillful soldiers is pulled-out of their mission to search for a Private, a soldier with the lowest rank, to save his mother from such overwhelming grief of having lost almost all her sons. Most of them were not really ecstatic for the task given to them since they did not see the need to risk eight lives for just one Private. Nevertheless, they still went on but only because their duty requires them to.

As soldiers, they accept their duty as defenders of a greater cause. That duty involves following commands given to them even if it does not coincide with what they believe in, and may even reach to the extent of dying for that unacknowledged cause. Issues arise as these soldiers proceed with their mission. Examining the concept of duty and utilitarianism along the way and trying to rationalize and connect the reason and significance of their duty to their personal lives.

At their first attempt to question the importance of finding the single living son left of Mrs. Ryan, they start to question the difference of a mother having lost all sons to a mother who lost his only child/son. The grief of having lost a number of sons would, hypothetically, have no significant difference of having lost an only son. It is not to say that the life of the only son is equivalent to the life of two or three sons. To put it simply, both mothers lost all their sons. They have experienced the same amount of joy from their son/s and have lost, equally, the same amount. Unfortunately, the question of whose mother felt the loneliest is not theirs to answer. The only issue the soldiers need to be concerned about is their duty—to infallibly accomplish their duty without questions. It is not to diminish the importance of their beliefs, but only to emphasize that the law overpowers everyone. If they had let themselves be overpowered by their griping and went AWOL to immediately gratify themselves, they would not only abandon their duty but also be regarded as pusillanimous babies; thus, they would not “earn” the right to go home and may even be stigmatized for making such decision. Instead of staying and accomplishing their assigned task and realizing the more pleasurable effect it will give to them in the future, they would blindly choose to bear a heavier burden just to feel pleasure for a short time.

Another attempt was when they reflect on the concept of going in to a war. What will war bring to a decent man? As Emerson beautifully puts it, “War educates the senses, calls into action the will, perfects the physical constitution, and brings men into such swift and close collision in critical moments that man measures man”. But to soldiers who have seen the brutalities of the war, been part of it and had been changed by it—the men of Capt. Miller would simply say that the war makes a person FUBAR! Either way, the question given more importance is whether one has given his all to fulfill his duties. Emerson and the soldiers summed up the positive and negative impacts of the war to soldiers/people. But it is still up to them how they would handle themselves after being struck by such overwhelming influence. As for Capt. Miller and his men, they have, indeed, been changed. FUBAR at first, but later strengthened and enlightened by the need to “get a ticket home”. Should they have chosen to abandon their mission midway, they would have remained as they were when the mission began.

Last attempt was when Capt. Miller was trying to rationalize their situation. A soldier in a war would normally reason that the death of a soldier would save the lives of more people, but in his case it is the opposite and, therefore, would be more difficult to find the rationale for risking the lives of men to save a man. He certainly does not know who Pvt. Ryan is, his character, skills and whatever it is he is capable of, all he could do to justify his own actions is to expect him to earn what he and the other soldiers have laid their lives for to save him and his mother. He further reasons out by considering the mission to save Pvt. Ryan as a ticket to get themselves out of the battlefields and as the only decent thing they would have done in the bloody, violent and brutal war. The question is not whether to continue or not to continue with the mission, but how to convince oneself to go on, i.e. to justify to oneself the good one’s decision will bring if its immediate consequence is pain. If he had failed to convince himself to save Pvt. Ryan, he would not have experienced the need of reasoning with himself to do what he does not want to do; thus, would not have felt a higher pleasure and would have only satisfied himself with a lower kind of pleasure (giving in to aggressive impulses by joining the real war and killing Germans).

Careful thought of these matters bring the soldiers to realize the value of their mission as a duty and as something instrumental for each of them. At first, they acted because duty requires them to and because they are trained to be obedient, but in the end, they understand that they can also use it to fulfill their own cause and at the same time do it for the sake of doing something good and decent.
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Penetrante



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PostSubject: On Saving Private Ryan through the lens of deontology   Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:51 am

After seeing Saving Private Ryan, I was definitely moved by each of the main characters, particularly the eight soldiers who went looking for Private Ryan and Ryan himself. Specifically and speaking from the duty ethicist’s point of view, there were a lot of scenes that turned out to be impressive. I would like to point out two of them here.

First is that part of the film when the Captain received his orders to go and look for Private Ryan and have him sent home to save the latter’s mother from possible insanity since three of her four sons have already breathed their last breaths in the battlefield. It was already too painful for the Captain, as I have seen in the film, that he had lost so many men in his command at that point. I just know that it was much more difficult to take on his part to leave his soldiers in the battlefield and go carry out another mission, which was to save Private Ryan.

Though what was being asked from him was at that time a bit incomprehensible and unacceptable, he still chose to carry it out without questions. It was not the same with the other seven men that the Captain also pulled out from their original missions. For them it was really objectionable until almost the end of the plot. But they carried it out just the same because, primarily, they have pledged allegiance to their country.

The same good impression goes for Ryan when the eight men have finally found him. In that scene at the bridge that was to be blown up, that was, for me, the most “deontologically” striking part of the story. Ryan was completely aware of what might happen to her mother, although he seemed a bit disrespectful there, but he also chose to stay and to see for himself the victory they had been looking forward to.

Although not explicitly said by the characters, I think they really saw that carrying out their respective missions have goodness in themselves. I am saying that because their circumstances were full of uncertainties. Two of the eight men even died on their way to Ryan’s location. The possibility of losing both their lives and the war was also not at all remote. Yet they chose to stand by their convictions. Not because they know something good was sure to come as consequences of their actions like an award or any recognition, but that it was simply their duty and that there is intrinsic value or innate worth in them.

Doing otherwise would have been as good as suicide with no honor being earned.
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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:12 am

The movie “Tears of the Sun” very much depicted the reality that is happening in any part of the world, during the past or even at the present. It greatly showed the ability of a human to do an act based on his duty (Deontological perspective) and also to do an action, which is out of his duty, because he thinks it is moral even though his life is at stake (Utilitarian perspective). Lt. Waters, in the said movie, is a good example.

The scene wherein Lt. Waters saved Dr. Kendricks can be understood based on the deontological perspective. Despite his move to deceive Dr. Kendricks by granting her request, it was his way to put his duty into action. He agreed to what Dr. Kendricks had asked him but when the chopper landed, he forced her to come with them for her to be saved (which is his duty) and left the African refugees in the said site. Also, Dr. Kendricks, being a doctor and doing her duty to give her service to the African refugees, refuses to leave the place and the African people. She only agreed to go with the condition that the refugees must also be saved. She made this decision because of the idea that she cannot leave the refugees in great danger.

On the other hand, scenes that can be understood from a Utilitarian perspective include the scene wherein Lt. Waters decided to return to the site to save the African refugees, which is out of his duty. For he saw that many people were killed, his conscience and great concern for the other innocent people that were left behind put him in the state to break the command told to him and save them despite putting his life and the other soldiers’ lives at risk. He did what he thinks is moral and right (saving the lives of the innocent Africen refugees against the rebel army) which brought a greater good for the refugees and also, for themselves as well.
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PostSubject: Saving Private Ryan   Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:36 am

Saving Private Ryan
The movie constitutes the solidarity of being in army, of being a good soldier and how war had been all evil in every lapse of mankind’s history. Saving Private Ryan was successful in portrayal of both deontological and utilitarian principles, in ways that the characters had to decide over matters of duty or personal disposition. It can be seen clearly at the very start of the film that all the soldiers were basically just doing their duty, for the sake of winning the war; they do whatever it takes to win it, even if it’s their lives that is at stake.
I’d like to put emphasis first on duty-based scenes;
I was shocked to witness the first scene, where the US troops were powdered with bombs, rifles and machine guns, as if the Germans were merely doing a dynamite fishing – only that humans serve as they’re target here. They were all afraid before battling in, but it is in their line of duty to serve and enforce the army to eradicate the enemies’ force. The next scene is rather a dramatic one, where the Chief of Army chose to risk his men in mission of finding Private Ryan despite the fact that it is a ratio of one man’s lives to many, all for the sake of one mother’s feelings and her grave loss of 3 sons all at once. This action might seem a little questionable, why Ryan? Why only him and not the others also? Simply put, if they’d not strive to save his life, just imagine how painful it would be for the mother to receive a letter saying all her 3 sons died fighting in war, none of them left to return in her company, drink coffee with while retelling their stories of bravery and nobility. It will break the mother’s heart. After winning the first stop at shore of Ohama beach, Captain Miller was ordered to save Private James Ryan. All along it was like a battle of good and evil in and out their troop. The others seem in doubt of this mission but still they do it because it is what they’ve been told to do so. The whole quest was focused on their duty to save Ryan but as they were doing it, they have found themselves torn between choices, whether to continue or retreat. In the case of Private Ryan not leaving the bridge, it can be considered as a deontological act in the sense that he had stood upon his duty to guard the bridge no matter what and until the end, instead of simply going home with Cpt. Mills’ troop back to his mother. It is therefore a matter of weighing things over what is suppose to be good or bad. Thus we lead now to utilitarian.
It was quite a dilemma for me to analyze the decision of saving Private Ryan for the sake of his mother. By Utilitarian – it is meant for greatest good for greatest number of people. So even if it provides the mother the greatest possible good/pleasure of having her son back, it is in any way unreasonable in the side of the soldiers to suffer. Considering the number of the soldiers that have died/almost died and the possible suffering of their mothers also, it still is of greater and inequitable amount compared to the mother of Ryan. For the soldiers not to risk their lives for sake of one man is by no doubt much pleasurable. But the issue here is not merely the quantity, rather the quality of pleasure to be achieved and by that the mother’s side has its edge. The war itself signifies a utilitarian view whereas war is being fight upon for the sake of a bloc’s idealism which is evidently embodying hundreds and thousands of people. All in all, the actions shown and the circumstances given in the film gives way for both justification and criticism, as if the emotional aspects and decency can be considered greater and more of value than life, telling that one person should not just live by himself, for the sake of himself but live for the sake of nobleness and make the most of it.
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PostSubject: Saving Private Ryan   Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:59 am

The movie "Saving Private Ryan" is a great example of the principle of deontology.

The first 10 minutes of the film is really shocking. You will see American Soldiers on their fatigue chilling from inside their boat carrier, some are confident, some are anxious and afraid. Maybe many of them wanted to just go back home for they don't have an assurance of tomorrow after what they will experience in the shore. But there is no turning back - it is their duty to fight the war and win (hopefully alive).

As the carrier slides down its cover, dozens of American soldiers lost their lives already and many more will follow as they walk their way on the shore.

As we all know military practices strict codes of discipline, integrity and order. It means that they are bound to their duties no matter what happens, even if its their life at risk (or even they will have to endure MENTAL and PHYSICAL TORTURE).

When the captain of the group that is to save private Ryan got his mission, he obeyed it, even if it is going to risk eight more lives plus his.

The captain's decision is right in the point of view of deontological ethics but a totally questionable deed in the perspective of utilitarianism and teleology because the decision to obey the command is going to risk eight lives just to save one.

The story went on with the captain losing two of his men in the mission to save Private Ryan. His men are totally in doubt but they followed their superior anyway because it is their duty just as the Captain's duty to follow his superiors in the central office.

Skipping the drama, they found Private Ryan, at the bridge, refusing to go home with them because he wants to accomplish his duty at the bridge (but at the end got home safely with the captain and the rest of troops).

It may be very hard in the perspective of teleology to understand these phenomena, but without duty there will be no order in the military and wars could hardly be won if all are afraid to risk their lives in the name of pleasure and not of duty.
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shandi



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PostSubject: Tears of the Sun   Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:47 am

Synopsis:

The film is all about a group of well-trained, skilled and high class U.S. Navy military led by Lieutenant Waters (Bruce Willis) on a mission to rescue Dr. Lena Hendricks (Monica Belluci) in the wartorn Africa. Dr. Hendricks refused to go and abandon her African refugees. Lt. Waters decided to go out in his own mission and rescue not only Dr. Hendricks but also the Africans under her care. Together they fought the African rebels. In the end, the group successfully saved the refugees and Lt. Waters and Dr. Hendricks safely got back to America although some of their members died during the war.

Utilitarian Perspective

*The scene wherein Lt. Waters forced Dr. Hendricks to get on the helicopter and leave the African refugees.

By using a Utilitarian perspective we could justify why Lt. Waters decided to leave the refugees. We should remember that the nature of the mission is to save Dr. Hendricks , the two nuns and a priest and not the refugees. Utilitarianism tells us that an “act is good if it maximizes pleasure and minimize pain”. Sure enough, leaving the refugees would minimize pain for Lt. Waters because he wouldn’t have to burden himself and all the other Navy of protecting the refugees. He is maximizing pleasure because they easily accomplished the mission satisfactorily. The act is justifiable because in a pragmatic sense, it is not their responsibility to save the refugees. Why then should they bother? Why should they waste their energy? Why care about the Africans in the first place? Doing so would be senseless thing to do since it would not produce pleasure on their part. It would be absurd for a Utilitarian to save someone else life if your own life would be in jeopardy.

Deontological Perspective

*The scene wherein Dr. Hendricks firmly refused to go with Lt. Waters to save her own life and abandon the refugees under her care.

This scene can be understood using deontological perspective. Out of duty and not because of her position as a doctor but as a human being compelled Dr. Hendricks to act in such as a way. She knows that if she did left the refugees on their own they are all going to die of disease or be murdered by the rebel groups. She might as well die with them than to run away from them knowing that her conscience would bother her. Her act is justifiable because it is reasonable to help those in need and are suffering. The act itself is good. Dr. Hendricks perfectly understand that her duty as a doctor in a place like Africa goes beyond curing diseases but also of being one and empathizing with her clients.

*The scene wherein Lt. Waters ordered the helicopter to go back and save the Africans instead and his willingness to fight the rebel militias until the end
These scenes show how determined Lt. Waters and his men in protecting/helping the African refugees. They have done those things out of duty to help their fellow human being regardless of differences in color or in race. This scene reminds of Jesus telling the people that everyone is his brother’s keeper. Lahat tayo ay may pananagutan hindi lang sa ating sarili, ngunit pati na rin sa ating kapwa. Even if Lt. Water’s superior made it clear that he is on his own mission he never did lose faith and continue to fight till the end. Viewing this from the utilitarian perspective would be absurd since there is no pleasure in sacrificing one’s self. If Lt. Waters decided to do the opposite it would be very wrong on the perspective of deontologist since they have a duty to protect the life of other people. However, for the utilitarians, that would be a very wise move because they are going to minimize pain and maximixe pleasure.
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Raval



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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:32 pm

8 Men (led by capt Miller) are in the hunt for some soldier named private Ryan, this was the central story plot of the film "Saving Private Ryan". The reason behind this mission was simple, private Ryan has already lost three of his brothers and if ever he also gets killed in the war, Mrs Ryan will be overwhelmed with such terrible loss. Just try to imagine receiving a news that your sons, all four of them, have died at the same time. it does makes sense, great pain that is, really. But this mission of saving an unknown private(which is the lowest of all the military ranks) is not a picnic, these 8 men would have to risk their lives in acceptng this mission because they were in a state of war.

I think it is improper to risk the lives of 8 men in exchange of one, this is entirely against the greatest happiness principle of the Utilitarians. if we are going to analyze the situation using the utilitarian perspective, they would say that risking the lives of 8 soldiers for just a single guy is down right unacceptable.
On the other hand, we could analyze the same situation using the deontologist perspective. As we know, deontology is all about our duties as a person and given the dangerous mission assigned to them. we could say that by risking their lives to save private ryan is like accomlishing their duty as soldiers and that is something that has moral value in itself.

The sad thing though is that eventually, they died. Caparzo was killed by an adept german sniper when he carried the little girl, and then right after him another soldier died, even their medic died soon aftewards until almost everyone died, just to save Ryan. Sure, they accomplished thier mission and died a not so painful death but still, risking their lives, all 8 or 7 or 6 them(i'm not sure how many of them survived the final german encounter across the bridge) for Ryan is good and has moral value in itself but does it really stand? i think it was a miniscule act to save someone for the sake of the other. For one, each one of them is valued as a person by thier own mothers or fathers or any othe family member and the loss of each would inflict similar pain regardless of how tragic the loss is. There are other Mrs. Ryan out their who would experience the same pain and grief as Mrs Ryan would feel if she lost all of his sons, only their surnames differ. Second note, in a constant state of war wherein lives is wasted comparative to how often we breath, does it really matter if ryan was added on the death toll. I mean it was his duty to sacrifice his life to defend his country in the first place and so why make the effort the save a person who's primary duty is to offer his life on order to fight? iT does not make any sense at all. I'm not saying that what they did was stupid. Yes, I know it was their duty and all that jazz, but still, Ryan also has a duty of sacrificing his life for the country and so his eventual death is part of this duty. I guess the consolation prize for this was when Capt Miller said to him "EARN IT," meaning he must live a good life so that all of their efforts will not wasted.
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bersamina.joshua



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PostSubject: On Utilitarianism and HIgher Pleasures (REPOST. I made a mistake when I posted my work at the other one)   Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:46 am

On Utilitarianism and Higher Pleasures.

The movie Saving Private Ryan is replete with scenes and situations that are most likely to tickle a philosophical mind; every conflict in the text, with the given subtexts, gives the thinking viewer interesting things to ponder with.

Now, incorporating John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianist point of view in discerning what may be good or not, the movie Saving Private Ryan is likely to support the following points:

i) that in some given circumstances requiring decision-making, there exists a greatest good for the greatest number;
ii) that there are higher and lower kinds of pleasure with respect to individual point of views;
iii) that despite the fact that a common, universal standard of what is right and good may exist, “higher and lower pleasures” still vary from individual to individual;
iv) that oftentimes, these higher and lower pleasures are influenced by an individual’s own values and manner of thinking;
v) that duty as an objective in carrying out a task can sometimes be offset by the so-called summum bonum, or greatest good for the greatest number, and lastly;
vi) that a seemingly exorbitant cost needed to achieve a seemingly much less conclusion can sometimes be justified, mainly because of the social mores and cultural underpinnings that abound a society.

In the movie, eight men are sent to infiltrate a German district in France, seeking to save a lone soldier named James Ryan. These men are quite considered as the best of the US soldiers deployed in France, and that fact made the mission, as one of them remarked, “a grave misallocation of valuable resources.” They are sent to salvage Private James Ryan because his other three brothers have been killed in action, and the administration didn’t want the Ryans’ mother to lose all her sons fighting the war. Initially, the eight men led by Captain John Miller doubted the mission and seen it as an absurd one. But as they moved on , they realized that saving Private James Francis Ryan was the only decent thing they could do in the war. They hoped that Private Ryan be worthy of their sacrifices, and in the end, they found out that he is indeed worthy. Instead of coming home with them, Private Ryan opted to stay with his troops and hold the fortress. Captain Miller and the others realized that their mission was not a futile one.

Private Ryan showed us that his decision---staying with his comrades with the possibility of winning a most important skirmish for doing so, is a more important cause, a higher good, even higher than the chance of coming home to his mother who lost her three other sons. Private Ryan showed that a duty can also be a teleological element; a duty could also be an end in itself.
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PostSubject: Re: Reaction on films, due Jan 16, Friday   

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