First week of presentations

Today in class we finally started the oral presentations. There were three lucky people that were chosen, Masami, Aaron and Jane.  The one that I can personally relate the most to is Jane’s presentation about “man versus nature”.  She raised the question of whether it was ethical or unethical to change or even take control of the course of nature.  She raised the issues of euthanasia and abortion, both of which I support. For euthanasia, I believe that people are allowed to choose when they want to die and I find it extremely cruel to take that right away from a person and personally don’t understand the logic behind it. As for abortions, I also support them and believe that a fetus bearer should be allowed by law to kill the baby. My logic behind this reason takes into account that humans often have reasons for making their decisions. If a mother were to abort her baby, she would have a reason for it in her mind. Disallowing abortion would only force the mother to take care of a child that she doesn’t love, or can’t support financially and emotionally.

**** Important****

I am not trying to insult people that are against euthanasia or abortion, so with that in mind please don’t flame.

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7 comments to First week of presentations

  • Ji Won

    Im on your side Jeffery! :P
    But what about if a mother doesn’t want her baby just for a simple reason? Like for example she didn’t expect to have a baby and just had it and simply wanna get rid of it??? That’d be so sad…and would that be a moral thing to do???

  • Alvin

    haha fetus bearer..?
    Anyway, as a supporter of abortions, I agree with you that in most circumstances abortion has reasons to back it up.
    To me, even if it were as Ji Won says, a reason like not wanting the baby, abortion would in a way, be saving the child from being unloved / unwanted by the parents. From a utilitarian point of view, the harm caused to the child is outweighed by the benefits gained by the parent(s) of the child and perhaps even society as children that are from these problematic families tend to develop distorted views of the world that may affect their thinking and judgement.

    • Joshua

      Hey Alvin. I always thought that the utilitarian point of view was one that considered how moral a decision is, based on how many people it benefited (weighed against how many people would get hurt). The reason they use the number of individuals as a criterion to judge the morality of a decision is so that they can objectively measure the harm/benefit of that decision. When we make judgments on how much harm or benefit is caused on an individual person, I think it gets harder and harder to quantify how heavily they weigh upon a certain person.

      Your statement supporting abortion said that the harm of terminating the child is outweighed by the benefits gained by the mother and society, but how do you measure the harm/benefit gained by these individuals? For starters – ‘terminating’ probably results in the greatest harm that could possibly be inflicted upon any living thing, being subjected on to the fetus. The harm put on the mother could be physiological or psychological, and be in varying degrees of severity. The potential harm on society, could be just as you say where a child grows up to be ill-adjusted due to being raised out of neglect – but I would argue that scenarios like those are very subject to circumstance.

      Here is another circumstantial scenario – what if the child is kept, has a mother who upon giving birth, experiences a change in her fundamental views on child-rearing and shapes up to be an excellent mother? She raises the child, who is incidentally a genius and in the future becomes a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, whose contribution to the world brought about a positive change in the lives of many people?

      Both of these scenarios are valid, in my opinion. And so are a ton of other possible, potential, dreamt-up scenarios. But the choice you would make in any of them would have to vary, if you knew the outcome. I think that’s why ethical dilemmas of this sort aren’t easily solved by simplistic, sweeping generalizations.

  • Alvin

    The utilitarian point of view is not based on how moral a decision is, but on the benefit gained from all the parties involved. However, I do agree that it gets harder and harder to measure the benefits to each party.

    The way in which each individual “measures” or judges the benefits is based on their beliefs. One may feel that the guilt from having the abortion would be overwhelming whilst others may not.

    I do agree that there are many possible scenarios. However circumstantial scenarios such as the ones you have mentioned could just as likely, or even more likely have been a scenario that is on the other end of the spectrum, where the child grows up doing harm to society. What that means to me, is that to be 100% utilitarian, one would have to calculate the statistical probablities of each event happening in order to find out the overall benefit and take action according to the one that has a greater overall benefit. Obviously, this is pretty much impossible to do. Many factors would be left out and the probabilities would vary. In my opinion, that is why the utilitarian approach is unable to resolve certain ethical dilemmas. The same method can be used to the other belief systems in order to find out the flaws in each one. Since each of the belief systems have their flaws, it is very hard to solve many of the ethical dilemmas that are presented to us.

  • Jane

    Well, whether the child grows up to be a mass murderer or Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (two extremes) you could always say (if you are a positive person) that having a mass murderer killing hundreds of people is worse than having someone who is peaceful (and even if they save a few lives in their lifetime, the danger is still outweighing the benefit.) If you’re a little more negative… then you might say that either way you SHOULD have the child because if it becomes a mass murderer, you’re helping overpopulation. If the child is a genius and has a medical advance, you’re helping many people that need it. Either way, it’s good so abortion should never be considered. It all depends on you’re opinion of good and bad so that’s where the ethical problems come in because nobody thinks the same exact way!

  • Joshua

    If I were to take that “negative approach” to think about things… wouldn’t I view the possible medical advances the “potential Nobel fetus” as a BAD thing? After all, he’ll probably save the lives of quite a few people, contributing to the overpopulation problem.

    Other than that, I’m more or less in agreement with you there, Jane. I think all of us have come to the conclusion that ethical dilemmas are hard to solve. Having the different ethical approaches to these dilemmas, such as having the utilitarian approach, cannot account for all the possible results and thus can’t provide us with a quick and easy way to solve these moral debates.

  • Mr. MacKnight

    I will raise again the issue of WHO decides. Who decides whether a woman will have an abortion? Who decides whether a piece of writing or song or painting or photograph should be censored? This may be even more important than the eventual decision. If the decision is made democratically, what gives the majority the right to impose its will on the minority? If it is the government, what gives government officials the right to make such decisions? If it is a religious organization, what gives it the right? If it is the individual who decides, what gives that individual the right? And so on.

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