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Philo 171
 
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 CHING Questions for the Third Exam

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jimenez



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Join date : 2008-11-25

PostSubject: CHING Questions for the Third Exam   Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:41 pm

Ching
Ching:
1. Discuss the moral status of 'fetuses' and comatose patients or those in persistent vegetative state (PVS). Meaning, what do you think is the moral status of fetuses and comatose patients?

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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shandi



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Join date : 2008-11-24
Age : 30
Location : city of san jose del monte bulacan

PostSubject: Final exam answer   Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:45 pm

1. Discuss the moral status of 'fetuses' and comatose patients or those in persistent vegetative state (PVS). Meaning, what do you think is the moral status of fetuses and comatose patients?
In order to discuss the moral status of fetuses and those patients in persistent vegetative state, we must first do a conceptual analysis of what constitutes/characterize a “fetus” and individuals in “PVS”. This is important to make a clear definition and scope of the concepts of relevant concepts. First, we must define what fetuses and comatose patients are before establishing their moral status.
There are different and conflicting perceptions on fetuses. In the readings presented in class, the views of English, Don Marquis and Markowitz conflicts from each other. However, the issue all boils down to the “personhood” of the fetus. What is a fetus? Is a fetus a person? These are questions which are difficult to answer because of different moral standards used to evaluate the said concept. Many would argue that the deliberate killing of a fetus through abortion is morally wrong because of the assumption that “clearly every person has a right to life . . .”. But pro-abortion would argue “how do we know that a fetus is a person?” Some philosophers would say that a person is composed of cells, organs capable of growth etc. and that a person should have the same characteristic as a full-blown human being. The problem with this is there is no single criterion that defines what a person is. Moreover, if we are not sure about the personhood of the fetus (if it is really a person) how can we say that it has a life and a right to life? Also, if we are not sure about the personhood status of the fetus and if it constitutes a life, how can we judge the morality of abortion? Anti-abortion argues that abortion is wrong because it is tantamount to murder and because it deprives a person of a valuable future (Don Marquis). They say that “this life (fetus) is surely stronger than the life of the mother”. However, feminist would vehemently contradict this view. The autonomy of a woman over her own body is valued by feminists and nobody has the right to impose or to dictate what decisions is she going to make. For the feminist, the autonomy of a woman is clearly and undoubtedly more important than the fetus regardless of it being a person or not.
In the case of comatose patients and those in persistent vegetative state, same difficult issues and concepts are debated, the only difference is that the question now is not those of the “right to life” but it now becomes “right to die.” Do persons have the right to die as much as they have a right to life? Also, can we still consider comatose/PVS patients as persons, in the true sense of the word, if they do not have the characteristic of what a person is? Consequently, is euthanasia morally wrong or morally right? Does a patient suffering from an incurable disease have the right to end his/her own life? Is it not tantamount to suicide?
It is very hard to establish the moral status of fetuses and comatose/PVS patients. Applying the moral and ethical theories that we discussed in class, it becomes more difficult to choose which is the most appropriate to use. And even if I have chosen supposedly the best theory to evaluate their moral status, it would still be flawed and some people would still contradict my belief. Nevertheless, if it is up to me to decide their moral status (because the follow-up question starts with “what do you think”) I still have my own stand on the issues. First, I believe in moral realism, that there are moral truths/facts independent of subjective judgements and that there are things that are really wrong and things that are really right. These moral facts need not be absolute (which means it should be true in all cases, at all times) but we should consider the context on which we find these issues. Take the case of abortion, if a woman gets herself pregnant because of unprotected sex with her boyfriend or husband, I would say that she has no right to abortion because she should be responsible to the consequences of her act. The autonomy of woman should not be used as an argument because it refutes itself. Autonomy doesn’t give you a license to be irresponsible in your acts and it should not always be used as a justification for your mistakes. A fetus, regardless of its personhood whatever, is your responsibility. You chose to have sex, that’s autonomy. You get pregnant, that is a responsibility. Abortion is morally permissible for me in cases wherein the life of the mother is in jeopardy. In the case of comatose/PVS patients I would say that euthanasia is morally permissible if the patient’s condition doesn’t improve in a long time (say 3 months or more). I believe that the right to die doesn’t conflict with the natural law or the divine command theory, instead it affirms it. If the only reason that we say a person is still alive is through life-support apparatus, doesn’t it contradict the natural law?


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.

From the many ethical views that we discussed in class, I would say that they are all interesting and have there own points. I think the ethical views that I would consider in my “personal moral system or code” is a “hybrid” of Kantian ethics, Utilitarianism, Divine Command Theory and Existentialist Ethics. I think a hybrid is possible because I do not want to exclusively stick to one ethical view. What I do not found in one ethical view, I found in the other so I think it would make sense if I combine them all. For example, I subscribe to the idea of Kant that we are not at the mercy of circumstances happening in our life, that we are rational self-conscious individuals capable of self-determination. In short, I like his idea of freedom and control. We are free not in terms of we can do whatever we want but we are free from desires, passions and inclinations. However, I do not like his formula of universalizability because it would not be possible to experience or to feel the same thing about a certain issue. What is wrong for me, may be right for you. That is what I like about Existentialist Ethics. It gives us a room to decide, or to be subjective. It is like “live and let live” and we should respect other people’s choices because being rational individuals they are free to make those choices so long as they are responsible and accountable to whatever the outcome is. But, I do not believe that there is no God. We are not “superhumans”, our intelligence, our physical prowess and characteristics are limited. And I quote from the bible, God said, “you can not even make a strand of your hair white”. Accepting our limitations as humans is not at all bad, instead it helps us and it keeps us from acquiring unnecessary powers or it prevents us from being obsessed with carnal and earthly desires (here we can see Kant also).
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