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 SALINAS Questions for the Third Exam

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jimenez



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Join date : 2008-11-25

PostSubject: SALINAS Questions for the Third Exam   Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:33 pm

Salinas
Salinas:
1. How may we understand “corruption” from a Kantian ethical perspective? How may we address this problem about corruption using the same ethical view?

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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Salinas



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PostSubject: Re: SALINAS Questions for the Third Exam   Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:56 pm

1. How may we understand “corruption” from a Kantian ethical perspective? How may we address this problem about corruption using the same ethical view?

We may understand corruption as immoral not only because it has been stereotyped as such, but also, Kantian ethics would tell us that corruption is, indeed, an immoral act. For me to explain why I say so, it is but necessary to discuss first the precepts in which Kantian ethics base the morality of an action.
Kantian ethics posits that the basis of morality is reason. Morality is focused on the a priori foundation, that morality is not contingent on the circumstances of the action. Kantian ethics has formulations that would tell whether an act is moral or not.

First of these formulations is the Formula of Universality saying that act in such a way that you can will the maxim of your act to be, at the same time, a universal moral law. The maxim or the principle of one’s action should be acceptable or applicable to everyone for it to be a moral act. Every individual must act in principled ways and there should be reasons behind actions that we take. Whimsicality has no place in Kantian ethics. Moreover, actions do not have double standard and under this formula, the universality of actions can be tested if it is possible for everybody to do such act.

The Formula of Humanity or Respect for People is the second formulation. This formula tells that people, as rational individuals, should be treated never merely as means to some ends but ends in themselves. Every individual is end in itself because they have innate values, thus, people deserve to be respected.

The third formula is that of Autonomy. Kantian ethics recognizes that we are autonomous beings, thus, we should act as if we are legislating for a Kingdom of Ends wherein we are the sovereign and at the same time, the subjects. This means that as autonomous beings and ends in ourselves, we make the maxim from our universalized actions as the laws of our actions and we are the ones who follow them or that we are subject to these laws that we have created.

Kantian ethicists argue that an act is morally right or good if it is independent of one’s desires. This is parallel to the idea of autonomy that if we are slave of our own desires and passions, then we are not free.

It is almost given that corruption cannot be universalized and cannot be accepted by everybody, in fact, it is condemned worldwide (inconformity to the Universality Test). The act of corruption has also used man as a means to pursue his interests. He, as a rational being, never treated himself as an ends but sees his interests as the ends. Such man shows that he is enslaved by his desires and passions to be rich and this made him to commit such act (violating the Formula of Humanity). And by doing such, he loses his autonomy to act according to his will as he acted in response to his desires. This is clear deviation to the idea of Autonomy.

To reiterate, Kantian ethics sees that man are rational beings who are able to comprehend things, distinguish the right choices, and act according to the right reason, thus, we are enlightened individuals. Having said so, the solution to the problem of corruption is not imposed by the laws of the land or by the teachings found on the Bible, but rather, it is within us—the solution comes from us. The solution is rooted on our actions as rational beings. The recognition that we are autonomous individuals tells that we are the center and origin of ever action, and we can start a new set of circumstances or series of events, thus if we do not corrupt, corruption will end. If we act according to a universalized action and not enslaved by our own desires, there is no way for us to corrupt.

To conclude, Kantian ethics would tell that corruption is immoral because of the following reasons; first, such action cannot be universalized nor be accepted by everybody; second, one’s desire to be wealthy has dictated him to corrupt and this manifests that he is not autonomous since he was controlled by his passions, and; third, he used himself as a means to pursue his interest, he never regarded himself as an individual with innate value. Using Kantian ethics, the solution to this problem comes from us. Since we can change circumstances no matter what the context offers, we cat to stop corruption…and this starts if we, ourselves, do not corrupt even in the most little way.

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.

My “personal moral system of code” is largely influenced by Kantian ethics and Existentialist ethics. Most of the ideas in “personal moral system of code” are taken from these two ethical theories.

To start with, my idea of a person is similar to that of Kant. Every individual is rational being - that we are able to grasp what is right from what is wrong – and from this, we can decide to what action we should take. We could choose from various options the action that we opt to do and this action should be moral. The morality of an action, for me, is confined on the acceptability by everybody to such action. If everybody accepts the action, then it is moral (universality test). However, it does not follow that if the action is not applicable for everyone, it is immoral; because I still recognize that there are differences of beliefs among people primarily because of culture. For example in the Philippines, azocena for me is immoral but for the Igorots, it is not. Though such is the case, morality for me is not relative, it is just, for a particular context, we can come up to a certain standard.

My conception of freedom and accountability is a result of Kantian and Existentialist ethics. Since I have no clear cut difference between autonomy and freedom, I would rather use them synonymously. Freedom for me is being autonomous, that we are free to do anything even though the world has numerous limitations. We are autonomous in the sense that we decide on our actions, and not the environment nor the genes or blood that runs through our veins. However, this freedom is guided by rationality; it is not as if doing whatever you want to do, but rather doing whatever moral action you want to do. With freedom comes the idea of choice. Though like what I have said, the world is full of limitations but despite such situation or context, we still have many choices on how to treat these limitations. We have the options on how to deal OVER these limitations, like what Kantian ethicists believe, WE ARE the center of circumstances and not the external factors pose by our environment. Thus, WE ARE FREE.

This is in line with my idea of accountability, which is largely influenced by Existentialist ethics. Accountability is the result of accepting that we are free individuals, hence, we are responsible for the actions that we take. To illustrate (and in connection to my course), in a Parliamentary form of government, the Prime Minister (PM) is voted by the parliament and NOT by the electorate/ people itself. Though the parliament is elected by the people, the PM sees no direct responsibility to the people since he is not voted by them. His responsibility is more of the parliament, thus, he is more accountable to them rather than the people. This is how I regard the responsibility-accountability scheme; that if we accept the responsibility, we are more accountable. And for me, to be a moral individual, as long as his actions satisfy my own precept of having a moral act and as long as his actions respect others as man with innate value, then he is a moral individual.[justify]
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