There are several topics this semester that interested me most, and among them are the readings about Utilitarianism and the ideas discussed by Kant about respect and dignity. It was very interesting to realize that I may act as if I am protecting someone from being hurt, but when they find out later, they get more hurt since I kept it to myself and never told them. I thought that I would have protected the person, but based on utilitarianism principle, I might be doing a wrong thing. I found this funny, but a reality. Kant explains that lying to others is a way of disrespecting them and taking away dignity from them. I concur with his claim since every person is entitled to know the truth regardless of the consequence. I think that, if we had time, we would discuss more on utilitarianism principle so that I get more ideas on how it is applied in real life.
One of the ideas I found challenging this semester was that our society needs to be fair to all people and everyone should have same opportunities and rules. I realized that the idea is simple as written in the text, but very challenging to implement in our present-day society. It’s good to propagate fairness and justice, but it’s very challenging to have same opportunities for all because the existing systems are not configured in that manner. I think that the ideas presented in the text apply to an ideal society where every opinion matters, and where no one considers themselves higher than others. However, as it is, there is social stratification, and one either falls under the category of the poor or the rich, which obviously creates divisions and no access to same opportunities. There is a need for radical changes in our society.
I think that a good final essay question for a student in the Ethics course would be: One of the major criticisms of utilitarianism is that it tends to create confusion on what is morally acceptable and what is advantageous or profitable. According to the critic, utilitarian does not have real moral principles, and instead of ruling out something as wrong, the utilitarian focuses on the consequences. If the result is good enough, the utilitarian is ready to use any means even if it is wicked. Is that a very accurate criticism, and how might a utilitarian respond to such an issue?
I think that I set and maintained high standards for me as a student this semester. I managed to be attentive in class and also ensured that I relate well with my instructor by submitting assignments on time and adhering to the guidelines given at the start of the semester. I am confident that I have learned some things I did not know at the start of the semester. However, some habits did not work so well for me. For instance, I am used to partying during weekends, and sometimes I found it affecting my concentration in class at the start of the week. Also, I found some concepts and ideas challenging to understand, but I did not take a step of consulting. If I could re-do this semester, I would try to focus on understanding the concepts that I did not and also asking whenever I am stuck on an issue.
I think that, on the question of lying, the most important aspect in deciding whether or not to lie is my integrity combined with the consequences. I believe that my integrity would not lead me to lie since that would tarnish it. Also, considering the consequences of lying, I would rather avoid it and stand with the truth since it will always set me free. I think that we should never lie in any situation or context. There is no special context that we are entitled to lie since we are bound to live with the consequences.
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