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Philo 171
 
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 ORTIZ Questions for the Third Exam

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jimenez



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PostSubject: ORTIZ Questions for the Third Exam   Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:31 pm

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

2. After careful considerations of the various ethical theories/views we discussed, what “personal moral system or code” can you come up with and which you can adopt? Be sure to talk about the values, precepts/ideas, and other elements that should comprise this “personal moral system or code”. Include your conception of freedom and accountability in this given moral system and your view of what it means to be a moral individual.
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PostSubject: Third Exam   Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:13 pm

Third Exam
1. What ethical position about gambling will a conscientious understanding and application of the Utilitarian perspective yield? Concerning the moral issue on gambling, specifically the dilemma on whether gambling and earnings from these activities should be used at all (i.e., whether the church should accept donations/funds procured through gambling activities), how may we use the Utilitarian perspective to resolve this dilemma?
There are many ethical positions concerning gambling. Some say that gambling is a personal choice and as long they are not hurting anybody or taking money from anybody, gambling should not be a problem. Others say that gambling is wrong only if you are betting a very large amount. How large? It depends on the socio-economic background of the person. Still, others will claim that gambling is completely wrong whatever amount you bet. But it is a fact that even those who say that gambling is inherently and completely wrong gamble. Sometimes we gamble even if we don’t know that we are gambling. Most games at the arcade in the malls are gambling, like Indiana Jones, which is a favorite for me and most of my friends.
Talking about ethics, in a utilitarian perspective, a moral being must maximize pleasure over pain. This is the context that the person will also pursue the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. John Stuart Mill also identified two kinds of pleasure, the higher pleasures and the lower ones. He adamantly claims that pleasures that intellectual pursuits yield much greater pleasure than the satisfaction of bodily pleasures.
In accordance with the first precept, maximization of pleasure, in my opinion, there can be no solid position that can be claimed. If gambling is part of a persons’ happiness, then gambling would maximize pleasure. But then again, there is the scenario of losing the money that you wagered. Would that still be maximization of pleasure? If you mean that would definitely be a maximization of pleasure.
There are also a lot of things to be considered for making a position under the second precept. The greatest happiness principle implies that when a person acts, the action of that person should also be beneficial to society. If a person has a family and if that person is the bread winner, if s/he gambles in a large amount, that is to say that if s/he gambles more than he allots for his family, which would have been a violation of the greatest happiness principle. Even though the person has no family, the wagers should not come to a point that they jeopardize the quality of life of the person. Another consideration is if a person gambles the person should not only intend only to profit for himself. There should be societal considerations. This brings us to the questions of donating the profits of gambling to charity. There are arguments saying that if a person gambles, the money gambled should have just been used for the benefit of society. Gamblers should do away with the money, play without bets and give the money for the poor. However, if we consider the greatest happiness principle, we can infer that it does not necessarily mean that you do away with you pleasures. You can experience pleasure for yourself and at the same time help society. It would not be immoral for the Church to take profits from gambling for two reasons. First, a person that gambles, considering all that was said above (the money that s/he wagers does not jeopardize his/her quality of life and that of his/her dependents), is not automatically immoral. Second, even though the church vehemently believes that gambling is immoral, to use the money from it towards good would be an affirmation of the greatest happiness principle.
Lastly, pertaining to the higher and lower pleasures, it does not necessarily mean that even though gambling gives excitement, it does not necessarily mean that it is a lower type of pleasure. First and foremost, some games require skills in measuring the probability. This is true especially for card games such as poker, black jack, pusoy dos and tong its. Therefore, gambling can be a pursuit of the mind, and intellectual exercise. There are those who gamble that actually prove their mental prowess by playing poker.
It is apparent that it is difficult to take any position about gambling considering the utilitarian perspective. It stands that gambling cannot be generalized as immoral or moral. Analysis of it should be contextual. Considerations should be factored in before any judgments can be made.
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.
I cannot say that my moral code would be conduct-based or character-based or based on consequences or duty. I would have to say that I am in the middle of everything. Although I am leaning more towards Kantian Ethics I cannot reconcile with the fact that some times it is right to do something wrong. For example, pragmatism is more important than strictly obeying rules and regulations.
My moral code comes with two considerations. First, my action should first be based on duty. I borrow this from Kantian Ethics. If I can see a world where my action can be done by every rational being, it is a moral action. However, I will try my best to predict the consequences of my action. If the consequences of my action actually yield more bad consequences than good ones, then I will not go through with it. I cannot imagine acting with only considering duty. There should always be a consideration for others. You cannot pursue your happiness in the consequence of the happiness of others. For example, if I got a bad grade and I am to chose between telling my mother or not about that bad grade. Duty-based ethics tells me that I must tell the truth. The consequences also tell me that I should tell the truth (telling my mother about tat bad grade may first yield bad consequences such as being scolded but in the long run, I will learn to study harder in order to have good grades). Another example would be if a man with a jungle bolo asks me where my neighbor is and I happen to know, duty-based ethics tells me that I have to tell the truth. A summation of the consequences, however, tells me that if I tell that person where my neighbor, my neighbor would probably get killed and there will no chance to resolve a conflict that may be deliberated in much calmer conditions.
My view of freedom is that freedom is a choice and that it I not automatically given to us. Although we are free to do what we want and do what we need to do, I think there is still one aspect of freedom that most of us have not yet achieved. That is mental freedom. Everyday, I believe, we think things because we are conditioned to think of those things. We act because we are conditioned to act a certain way. I can give a concrete example for this. During election season, polls produce a list of candidates that top surveys. At the end of elections, it is almost 100% sure that the candidates included in that list will be the candidates that will top of the elections. We chose candidates based on a short-list (Thank you Sir Ponsaran). As a famous singer “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”.
Accountability would mean to me as you should be responsible for all your actions. In my moral code, it is assumed that you have done all I can to evaluate my actions before I do them. If I fail to consider things that should have been obviously and apparently considered then there is none to blame for m actions than myself. Accountability means taking responsibility for the things that may come your way after you do something.

A moral individual would then be someone who considers not only him/herself but others also, who thinks about their actions before they do them and does everything s/he can to cultivate a mind that is not imprison by what society tells him that s/he should think of.
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