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 GONZALES Questions for the Third Exam

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PostSubject: GONZALES Questions for the Third Exam   GONZALES Questions for the Third Exam Icon_minitimeSun Mar 29, 2009 11:45 pm

1. In Terry Schiavo's case, is the provision of food and water through a feeding tube an “extraordinary means” for sustaining life? Was the removal of the feeding tube tantamount to “causing” her death, or simply to “removing an obstacle to death” which in the first place had already started creeping into her?

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: final exam   GONZALES Questions for the Third Exam Icon_minitimeMon Mar 30, 2009 9:49 pm

1) Terry Schiavo was left in a vegetative state for fifteen years. Terry’s existence hangs on a feeding tube, capable of breathing and nothing more. Respected physicians believed that there was no hope for recovery, that Schiavo is essentially brain-dead. Despite this condition, her parents continued to press for their daughter’s survival. However, Michael Schiavo, Terry’s husband, has battled for ten years to allow the courts to remove the feeding tube from his wife’s body and let her die. The provision of food and water through a feeding tube is considered an “extraordinary means” for sustaining life in the sense that is not the natural way that normal people live or sustain their lives. The removal of the feeding tube was practically the same as removing an obstacle to her death because she was already brain dead and the physicians had declared no chances for her recovery. It was merely the feeding tube that provided sustenance for her life. The removal of the feeding tube can be justified using the utilitarian perspective. Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers, Terry’s family, have to move on with their respective lives and to let Terry exercise that which is aptly labeled as the “right to die”. There is little good in wanting to allow Terry live because in the first place, she was already brain dead and there was no hope that she will recover. The family will only spend a lot of money in supporting this artificial means for survival and will suffer much longer in hoping that something good will happen for Terry. The greatest good for the greatest number of people or what is termed as the “Greatest Happiness Principle” supports the removal of the feeding tube in the sense that the act is the most beneficial for Michael Schiavo, the Schindlers, and to Terry Schiavo as well.

2) The study Existentialist Ethics more likely adheres to my own concept of morality. In this view, the focus is on human existence. The tool used to analyze this ethical theory is the phenomenology, in which Kant differentiated noumenon from phenomenon. According to him, humans can only experience things at the level of phenomenon wherein things are relative as to how people perceives them and never at the noumenon level in which things are independent of people’s perception. Also, what people know about the world is a function of their faculties which are the senses. How people see the actions and things in the world is being affected and limited by their own senses. Morality as seen in this perspective is not something that is external or that is imposed on an individual. It also considers the role of language and ideas in shaping the perceptions of people as in the concept of Constructivism. Freedom as explained by John Paul Sartre in this ethical theory is a basic condition. However, there seems to be no absolute freedom rather it must have some criteria that set its limitations. Freedom and freewill are products of man’s choices. As with regards to the concept of death, one can overcome death by knowing or recognizing that it is real. In that way, one can live his/her life to the fullest. Some of the themes of Existentialism are the Authenticity vs. Bad Faith and Particularity vs. Generalization. Here, existentialist ethicists state that people should not be limited or bound by their genes and the way or environment in which they are brought up. Existence should precede essence in the sense that the meaning of our life is something that we create and not something we discover. We are given control of our lives by making our own choices. We can be what we want to be and genes do not determine us. Destiny is something that is pre-determined that promotes the idea that things will happen out of our control because it is already bound to happen. Such is not the case in reality for our actions are mere reflections of our choices.
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