Philo 171
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PostSubject: AZARRAGA Questions for the Third Exam   AZARRAGA Questions for the Third Exam Icon_minitimeSun Mar 29, 2009 11:19 pm

1. Assuming/given a conscientious understanding and application of the Utilitarian perspective, how will you resolve the question of whether the different data/findings discovered during and through the conduct of Nazi experiments should be used?

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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PostSubject: Re: AZARRAGA Questions for the Third Exam   AZARRAGA Questions for the Third Exam Icon_minitimeMon Mar 30, 2009 9:32 pm


The first thing that should be resolved is my view on the Holocaust during the Nazi Germany rule under Adolf Hitler. I am strong on my conviction that what happened there was extremely immoral and punishable. Even if I have to take into consideration Adolf Hitler’s belief in creating a master race, a unified Germany without the Jews, it is still immoral. First, it is a manifestation of ethnonationalism and cultural determinism. Another, the Anti-Semitic actions of Adolf Hitler and those behind the Nazi Party have a personal vendetta against the Jews. Why? Because most Jews are dominating the German industries. They are your shoe and dress makers, they are your teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountant etc. So, clearly, the experiment of the Nazi was not in the purview of “clear and sound Intentions” for Germany. In fact, speaking as a utilitarian, it is an extreme bad. Aside from killing the lives of most of Germany’s best skilled and professional workers, he deprived the country from pursuing economic development.

Now, today, I deem it important to study and use the lessons learned during the Holocaust. What the experiment should be is a relic of the past. What it has – lessons, morals, etc are those that should be carried along to the next generation. Yes, it is immoral but if the world wouldn’t know what happened, and the survivors wouldn’t share their horrifying stories, then the morality of man wouldn’t be in this state now. I believe that the Holocaust caused a moral progress. Man now know the repercussions of genocide and its moral status. It has developed respect for other cultures.

What happened there will never be good in itself. But what it can do now for the future is good. The lessons it contains should not be seen as immoral but as a good thing. I can never say that what happened in Germany is good thing, even if we learned something. For I would never know what would happen if it didn’t. And certainly, there will be events in mankind where morality of man will always be put to test. What I completely understand is that even if the Holocaust was indubitably immoral, we should treat the event as part of history which brought lessons to improve the overall understanding of man in morality. And that is indeed, a good thing.


I have always, always been confused on what stance to take. I tried the “looking-inside-yourself-and-ask-what-do-I-believe-in technique, but still I end up confused. I have a strong leaning toward both the Kantian and Existential principles. Why Kantian? I like how it is structured and organized. There’s really an overarching logic between the idea of kingdom of ends as a collective and I as an individual. And I can identify with the idea of doing your duty even if it doesn’t really cause happiness and fuzzy feelings. I am like that. I don’t really do things which bring about my happiness or convenience. I do things because it is simply what I should do. Of course, it doesn’t apply to most cases. In its stringent structure lies its flaw: it’s tiring most of the time. I can’t simply do things out of whim because there is some higher duty that I have to accomplish. If I could be any more emotional, I’d have to say I get jaded.

I like the existentialist thinking. Maybe it’s my attitude of always wanting to be in control. The idea of running your life without some higher entity intervening and laying the woven “destiny” that I should be accomplishing sounds logical to me. I fully agree that I cannot blame others for the consequences of my actions because whatever I do, it is an action done as a result of my choice. However, I am having problems with the idea of choice because I do believe that there are situations which are coercive – it forces you to do things which if not in complete opposition of the choice you want to pursue, is different.

So what is my personal moral code?
It is a hodge podge of what I learned in this class and from experience, vicarious or not.
I think that there is a supreme being that exists, let’s call that being God for convenience. He created man, he created me, he created the trees, the universe for reasons I do not know and will never know. I still don’t have a conviction whether there is in fact an afterlife, and I do not know if it is knowable. I won’t even know if I’ll ever find that out after death. So I’ll leave that hanging.

The reason why I have to mention God and the afterlife is because I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I don’t want to be the type who does things because I want to be saved from the fires of hell. I don’t want to live in fear from someone who might be angry at me for not praying or making the sign of the cross.

The truth: I believe in God but I don’t know if this God is dormant or non-intervening because to tell you the truth, there are times and moments in my life that are so out of this world [cosmic] to just appoint it to probability and chance. There are also difficult situations which I thought are already impasse, but I managed to come out of it. All these I thought can only be attributed to some sort of higher being who took pity on someone like me who does the right thing most of the time.

Another thing that complicated my belief in my Creator is the idea of not wanting to find an excuse for my incompetence, or the other way around. Example, there’s this exam that I had studied and worked hard for. If I did fail the exam, the only person I would want to blame is myself. I don’t want to divert the accountability to God or to the professor or to other people.

I believe that I should do my duty of which I have a complete and concrete idea. This is the Kantian part of my personal moral code. But, at the same time, I also know when and where to have fun. I know the situation in which I am taking some time off – time to do things at whim, probably illogical and irrational things. All these however are minute and aren’t life-changing. It is my way of granting myself some space and cutting myself some slack from the rigidity of life. It’s taking some time off and relaxing. Okay, I’ll stop here because I have a huge tendency to sound romantic.

Ah, freedom. One of the contentious subjects I like to debate and bother myself with. The freedom that I have now, the idea of having the choice, moving, breathing, living the way I want to in full consideration of my actions and in full-knowledge of its consequences would be the most common definition of freedom I can come up with. But, if I want to take it further to the most abstract sense of the word, I can associate freedom with death – the null. The nothing. In a way, we are prisoners of our minds, our bodies which can limit us, our emotions which affect our rational thinking, the boxed universe of laws, natural or man-made, and the ideas of morality. I am not saying that freedom is what Hobbes call the state of nature because, freedom is not doing what we want all the time because that freedom is in fact, constricted by fear. Fear of being boxed and being bound. However, I don’t want to delve to the abstract idea of freedom I had mentioned. I want to elaborate my common definition of freedom. I think it all boils down to one thing: accountability. We are free to do whatever we want, but we also need to be ready for the consequences of our actions. We only have ourselves to blame.

A moral individual is someone who knows the right thing and acts in accordance to it. A moral individual is someone who takes into consideration the welfare of others in her/his decisions. Someone who puts the rights of others in equal footing and of equal value to her/his own. A moral individual is someone who acts as if she/he is trying to make the world a much better place [sorry for the clichéd phrase]. A moral individual has responsibilities – for his actions and for humanity. And most of all, a moral individual sees herself/himself as the only one accountable for his actions.

That’s the gist of my personal moral code which is still 30 percent malleable. I am still maturing, the lovely process of endless learning. Smile
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