Final Exam - William Fonda 4/14/2008 Professor Mendoza...

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William Fonda 5/7/2009 Professor Mendoza Intro to Philosophy - SHU Ethics: It’s Not Just for Aristotle Anymore Throughout history, numerous people have dedicated themselves to the study of the mysterious and strange subject known as Ethics. This is not a secret, and is common knowledge. However, contrary to popular belief, not everyone who studied ethics was a middle-to-late-aged white European or North American male. As shocking as this may sound, it’s true – people of all races, creeds, and sexes have pondered the mysteries of the universe. As a result of this, philosophy has become a multi-faceted discipline with many different points of view. In this paper, I will be discussing many of those different views, including four traditional views of ethics, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Nel Noddings’ Ethics of Caring, Feminist Ethics, and Lesbian Ethics. All of these different philosophies concentrate on finding the morally “right” way to act, and all of them have different ways of thinking about what that morally “right” way is. In this paper, I will discuss the philosophical similarities and differences in the ethical systems followed by Aristotle, Feminists, Lesbians, and the four traditional systems. It would probably be prudent to first discuss the four traditional ethical systems, as outlined in Nils C.H. Rauhut’s book Ultimate Questions: Thinking About Philosophy . Rauhut says that there are four main ethical theories, each based on different sources of ethical behavior: Divine Command Theory, Utilitarianism, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics (Rauhut, 228). Since it’s the first one I listed, let’s talk about Divine Command Theory. Basically, the Divine Command Theory states that “an action is morally right if [it] is in
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William Fonda 5/7/2009 Professor Mendoza Intro to Philosophy - SHU harmony with God’s commands (Rauhut, 228).” God is seen as the “creator of the rules of morality,” and also provides a perfect reason to be moral: eternal damnation (Rauhut, 228-229). Not only does this system provide all of the rules for people to live by, but it also provides all of the motivation that people need to follow those morals. However, that is not to say that the system is not without flaws. One of these flaws is that no moral standard prescribed by this theory can ever be universalized without people all believing in the same God, who prescribes the same morals to everyone on the planet (Rauhut, 230). The Jews, for example, believe that eating pork is morally wrong. Christians, on the other hand, believe that being Jewish is morally wrong, as it denies the existence of their God. These examples barely begin to scratch the surface of the compatibility issues that the Divine Command Theory raises. Another problem is the issue of determining what is and what is not the true word of God (Rauhut, 230). Since God does not speak to us, we must rely on messengers and prophets, who – despite the fact that no one wants to
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Final Exam - William Fonda 4/14/2008 Professor Mendoza...

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