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Contemporary Moral Problems

By:

Jommel Gonzales

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Philippines License.

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 1


Table of Contents

Dedication................................................................................................................................03

James Rachels - Egoism and Moral Scepticism..................................................................................04

John Arthur - Religion, Morality and Conscience.................................................................................06

Friedrich Nietzsche - Master- and Slave-Morality................................................................................08

Mary Midgley - Trying Out one’s New Sword.......................................................................................10

John Stuart Mill – Utilitarianism………………………………………………………………………………..12

James Rachels - The Debate over Utilitarianism…………………………………………………………….14

Immanuel Kant - The Categorical Imperative…………………………………………………………………16

Aristotle - Happiness and Virtue............................................................................................................18

Joel Feinberg - The Nature and Value of Rights...................................................................................20

Ronald Dworkin - Taking Rights Seriously............................................................................................22

John Rawls - A Theory of Justice..........................................................................................................24

Annette Baier Justice - The Need for More than Justice.......................................................................26

Dedication:

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 2


To God:
The one gave me strength to go beyond all trials in my life, even in my studies.

To my family:
Who’s always there for me to support my studies, and encouraging me to do my best, even in
the things which are uncomfortable for me.

To my special Someone:
The one who trust in all actions and decisions I made. She is the instrument of God that helps
me to fulfill my dreams.

To my friends:
Whose always appreciate my thoughts even in the silliest stuffs I made.

Book Review: James Rachels

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Library Reference: N/A


[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 3


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Quote:

“Our ordinary thinking about morality is full of assumptions that we almost never question. Regardless of
how men behave, they have no obligation to do anything except what is in their own interests. ”

Learning Expectations:

I expect to learn how the ego affects our attitude and what are the cause and certain approach
that we can handle like those situations.

Review:

It was mentioned in this chapter that, everyone has a selfish attitude prior to their act which is
subjected to their motives and interests. People do only act by their self interest which is boost their
desire that would motivated with their own will. If people think just for themselves it would results of
becoming selfishness that will affect his situational circumstances. As the author said that “all men are
selfish in everything that they do, that the only motive that anyone ever acts is self-interest Selfish
behaviour is a behaviour that ignores the interests of others” It means the mindset of a person would only
focus to their self interests and desire which is felling for them as a fulfilment.

He also mentioned that the morality of a person is filled of conjectures that we never do to give an
assertion. Each of us has a freedom to choose which is good for us whether it will excess to our wants
and needs as an individual. However, to act like this will be consider as a person who’s after only to their
desires and self interests.

Lesson Learned:

I learned that intending things for your own good can be results of becoming selfishness. I
understand what is the egoism and moral scepticism with regards to the ethical aspects of life.

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 4


Integrative Questions:

1. What is egoism?

2. What is scepticism?

3. What is psychological egoism?

4. What is the connection of egoism and moral scepticism?

5. What is ethical egoism?

Book Review: John Arthur

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

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[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 5


Quote:

“If we are to use revelation as a moral guide, we must know first what is to count as revelation. God made
us and the entire world. Because of that he has an absolute claim on our obedience.”

Learning Expectations:

I expect to learn the core of its conscience and how the religion would affect the morality of a
person.

Review:

It was mentioned in this chapter that, God created the world so it means each one of us should
do to obey him, because we as his creation has an obligation or tasks to do what is the demand with
regards to the word of God. In addition, no one should complain him as a creator of each one of us,
because his words are supreme to assert on our faith. The religion has an impact to our morality which is
motivate us to do a certain tasks. It is the foundation of ethical perspective to God, to our love ones, and
to our family. The morality is said to be social, it influences the relationship among the others by setting a
standards to interact with each other person.

The author said that “It is learned from interactions with others and governs interactions with
others in society. God might play a role in moral reflection and conscience. For the religious person,
conscience would almost certainly include the imagined reaction of God along with the reactions of others
who might be affected by the action.” It means the morality of a person has affect with his religion and his
conscience prior to his actions.

Lesson Learned:

I learned how the religion affects the morality of a person, as well as their conscience affects their
actions.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is the basis of morality in terms of religion?


[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 6


2. Is religion necessarily in society?

3. What is the connection of morality and religion?

4. What is conscience?

5. How conscience does affect the decisions of person?

Book Review: Friedrich Nietzsche

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

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[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 7


Quote:

“One is said to think profoundly to the very basis and resist all sentimental weakness: life itself is
essentially appropriation, injury, and conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusions
of peculiar forms, incorporation and at the least putting it mildest exploitation.”

Learning Expectations:

For me this chapter is going to be a serious one aforementioned to the title itself. I expect that this
chapter acquire me some knowledge about the theory of slavery.

Review:

According to Friedrich Nietzsche “the essential thing in a good and healthy aristocracy is that it
should not regard itself as a function either of the kingship or the commonwealth but as the significance
and the highest justification that it should accept with a good conscience.” It means that in able to be
called as a good society it must encompass the duty of the higher class to become a supreme class. The
theory of slave morality tackles the difference between good and evil that balance which is the absolute
one. The very basis of it is the essential thought of the utility to satisfy the various consumptions with its
purposes.

He also mentioned that “the noble soul accepts the fact of his egoism without question, and also
without consciousness of harshness, constraint, or arbitrariness therein, but rather as something that may
have its basis in the primary law of things – if he sought a designation for it he would say: “it is justice
itself.” The will to power is the most impact word of Friedrich Nietzsche. It is the thing would form the
discussion between the slave and his master. The will to power must apply to all with by all means which
is the author mentioned.

Lesson Learned:

I learned something about the theory of slavery that occur in the moral perspective of a person to
do it in accordance to his power to will.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is slave-morality?

2. What is master prior to the slave-morality?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 8


3. How is the two connected?

4. How does the theory of will to power tackle the master and slave-morality?

5. What is the difference between the master and slave?

Book Review: Mary Midgley

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

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Quote:

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 9


“Its ground for doing so is that we don't understand them. Our efforts to do so will be much damaged if we
are really deprived of our opinions about other societies, because these provide the range of comparison,
the spectrum of alternatives against which we set what we want to understand.”

Learning Expectations:

I expect to learn about the moral isolationism and what is the theory would be important to our
life.

Review:

According to the author “Moral isolationism would lay down a general ban on moral reasoning.
This is the programme of immoralism and it carries a distressing logical difficulty. The author mentioned
also that, immoralists like Nietzsche are actually just a rather specialized sect of moralist.” The power of
moral reasoning is the fact that the pleasure of aspiring something said as the requirement of attainability.
It will consider the purpose of choosing an alternative which we can set to recognize. Isolationism would
convey the standardization of one society.

She also said that “outsiders can in principle deliver perfectly good indictments.” But how the
moral isolationism forms a conclusion just to subject that matter? The constraint of doing something is the
reason that we could not understand its purpose. Comparison between other societies could result as
depriving our reasons which is not good in terms of moral justification. It will serve as lay the barrier to
abolish the set of standard ability of political favoured.

Lesson Learned:

I learned about the important of setting oneself in understanding the constraint between one
society to avoid the barrier which is hold the moral isolationism and moral scepticism.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is real moral scepticism?

2. What is real moral scepticism?

3. What is the immoralist?

4. What is universal predicament?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 10


5. What is moral judgement?

Book Review: John Stuart Mill

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

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Quote:

“Thus right actions are those that produce the greatest possible balance of happiness over unhappiness,
with each person’s happiness counted as equally important.”

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 11


Learning Expectations:

This chapter indicate the definition of utilitarianism and how it affects our interaction with other
people.

Review:

The author said that the most grateful to the feelings can exist in the moral attributes and it has
needs of judgement respecting the quality of pleasures. Pleasures are standardized, and pain is always
worth feelings of judgment that derived from the higher persons which is subjected to them.

In accordance to the authors perspective there are greater objects to compass the individual
principals on his immediate response to the problems might encounter. The consequences would remain
indifferent to the smallest degree of happiness which is desirable on itself. But, what does the good
means if desires happens on the same way if you are not consider the things which is annexed to
conception of happiness?

Lesson Learned:

I learned that being happy is not quite good at all. You must recognize first the importance of
having a certain virtue to overcome the things you might encounter in your life.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is happiness behind the theory of utilitarianism?

2. What is utilitarianism?

3. What is moral obligation?

4. How is morality related to utilitarianism?

5. What is utilitarian morality?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 12


Book Review: James Rachels

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Library Reference: N/A

Amazon Reference: http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James-


White/dp/0495553204/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235317352&sr=8-1

Quote:

“The fact that you did someone once did you a favour may be a good reason why you should now do him
a favour.”

Learning Expectations:

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 13


To know the both sides of utilitarianism and what is the good effect of it that brings edge on the
moral consciousness.

Review:

The author said that the considerations that comes in your mind makes relevant prior to your
subjected act. It is taken by a reason without hesitations to exclude the adequately moral perspective.
However, the facts are still intact whether you so same thing as you done it progressively just to
overcome the favourable freedom, or even the right to itself.
.

This chapter mentioned also that the important nuances would not be difficult in some aspects if
you will do respects the individual privacy. It will consider the things which are good by themselves but if
only if in the right actions would they done. Eventually, actions are complying to be defensible if they know
what the consequences they do the others are.

Lesson Learned:

What I learned in this chapter is that you should know how to value a person in regards to their
rights which is subjected to the obligation of each person. The consequences of each action have a
juridical and non juridical obligation.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is Act-Utilitarianism?

2. What is the strength of utilitarianism?

3. What is correct and what is incorrect in utilitarianism?

4. How relevant power prior to the utilitarian?

5. What is rule-utilitarianism?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 14


Book Review: Immanuel Kant

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

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Quote:

“The moral worth of an action does not depend on the result expected from it and so too does not depend
on any principle of action that needs to borrow its motive from this expected result.”

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 15


Learning Expectations:

I expect to learn what is the essential in regards to the perception of concept?

Review:

The author mentioned something about the good qualification of each person by their intelligence
as well as their courage by practical reasons. To be good is not said to be bad if theirs a condition that
tells you are just helping a person to his laziness. It’s a way that the actions must define on its end by
achieving moral relevant decisions. The essential aspects of moral reason can borrow of its motive from
the expected results.

He also mentioned that the rational will can be the basis that expressed the recognition of ethical
duty. It is the necessity of responsible and obligations to perform in subjected matter and it must be
carried out in the sources of its ethical perception, it would be the relevant basis of actions of a person.
The idea of a law is to be a better oneself to settle by the means of good treatment of a humanity that
something you would do as your values depends on the actions you might done.

Lesson Learned:

I learned the importance of being good to the others, by setting imperative will.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is good is a hypothetical imperative?

2. What is the principle of moral reason?

3. What is perfect duty?

4. What is Imperfect duty?

5. What is the moral universalism?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 16


Book Review: Aristotle

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

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Quote:

“Moral virtue is a state of character that is mean between the extremes of rashness and cowardice.”

Learning Expectations:

I expect to learn the pursuit of happiness that discusses the virtue of a person.

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 17


Review:

According to the author, the moral virtue comes from the actions of a person to do a certain task
which may identify what kind of a person you are. Happiness by his definition is something that you are
doing or perform a habit that connected to virtue. It is the matter of enjoyment that would base the
pleasure of life on its person subjected; it has a lot of reasons depending on the situation of every person.
Hence, you can found yourself as called happy if you are enjoying what you do, but it doesn’t mean that
what you are doing is always good though you are enjoying it.

He also mentioned that the ethical virtue has a need of customizing oneself in able to do or
perform this frequently. However, some people cannot do this as frequent they must do because of the
reasons that they don’t do to train themselves to accustom its virtue. It is possible to us to become happy
but the question is on how we able to do our activity with prior to the intellectual virtue that were
mentioned by Aristotle. He said that the most enjoyment in life is you must recognize the pleasure of life
on you able to control certain things happened in the same way of actions.

Lesson Learned:

I learned that happiness is something you can earned with pleasure in able to recognize the true
meaning of happiness. It is the virtue you can control things in your life. But happiness comes from the
definition of your actions that you have done whether if it is good or bad, but there’s always a
consequences that you must bear it in the future.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is happiness?

2. What is virtue in accordance to tasks?

3. How are the two connected?

4. What are the two kinds of virtue?

5. What is intellectual virtue?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 18


Book Review: Joel Feinberg

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

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Quote:

“It is a clear difference between saying that someone has a right to do something in this sense and saying
that it is the right thing for him to do or that he does no wrong in doing it.”

Learning Expectations:

I expect to learn what the value of rights is, and how relevant it is for us.

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 19


Review:

According to the author you must know your rights and constraints before doing something, it is
not just knowing it but learning on how to do or not do this as right or wrong. It was said that what are you
doing has a consequences and it would affect to you or to the others, because desires dictate the motives
to do the way you are thinking of. A rights is something that you are more value those obligations to do it,
there’s a good return it to you.

He also said that a person can do anything even if his or her conscience breaks but it has a
juridical and non-juridical affects to those who break the law. People can behave by the means of his
motives and as well as the good in the eyes of others, however what you are doing doesn’t good to the
mindset of others, especially in the different culture approach of other people. The nature of rights has a
pain and pleasure which is derived from rewards and painful punishments of law that needs to abide of
all.

Lesson Learned:

I learned that all of us must know how to bear the rights of other in able to have a good decisions
in life which is good for the better welfare of society even your self.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is the nature of rights?

2. What is the value of rights?

3. What are the punishments when you are not abide the importance of it?

4. What is the conceive circumstances?

5. How come rights affect us?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 20


Book Review: Ronald Dworkin

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

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Quote:

“Do judges make up new law in such cases, or is there some higher law in which they discover the
correct answer? Must everyone always obey the law? If not, when is a citizen morally free to disobey?”

Learning Expectations:

I expect to learn what the importance of law is, and what are the consequences has a law if you
are not abiding it. .

Review:

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 21


According to the author, the fundamental law must apply to the people and they should abide it,
this is the driving force which is governed people through the political rights that interprets from the
Constitution. The rights of each individual must fair and has a equality to those who are officials and
citizens subjected to. If people disobey the law they must punished according to the legal perspective of
rights. The law was designed to answer the people’s right to their existence in the political aspects and
political concerns.

He also said that liberty and equality are conflicting ideals which is underlies by the moral idea of
individual rights. Law can dictate what the right is for the people when the verdicts bring no answer. Each
individual has a legal right which is need to establish by the Constitution. It is the source of good welfare
of mainstream.

Lesson Learned:

I learned that law must abide of all otherwise there’s certain punishment which is upholds every
action might you done.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is law?

2. What is the Constitutions?

3. How are the two connected?

4. What is liberty?

5. What is equality?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 22


Book Review: John Rawls

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

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Quote:

“No one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does anyone know his fortune
in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength, and the like. I shall even
assume that the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their special psychological
propensities. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance.”

Learning Expectations:

I expect to learn what the logic behind the theory of justice is and how come the author
formulates this theory with regards to the principles of justice and judgement.

Review:
[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 23


According to the author, the people should established a law that has an equality which is applies
to all, whenever his or her status in life. The theory of justice has a first principle and second principle that
tackles the various fundamental rights that satisfy its individual. The first principle is the most conditions
one’s prior to the second principle of justice. It has a certain rights that may refer to the individuals’
freedom, such as freedom of speech, freedom of property, and freedom to vote. Its reasoning can be the
basis of emphasizing one’s rights that will lead to his favourable concerns among his role in the society.

He also said that in able to make a good sense reason you must give a fair choice in each and
every situation you might turning of. Each ignorance can aggravate the situation if you are not treated the
distribution of justice to pursue the goods to on it ends. He emphasized the different role which critics in
his arguments by giving a scheme to the principles of justice. The first principle must have to familiarize to
be not violated because it is more or less absolute.

Lesson Learned:

I learned that theory of justice is good and fair with regards to the author point of reasoning. The
principles is good if we able to apply this in our daily lives and as well as part of point of reasoning as a
individual.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is Theory of Justice?

2. What is the first principle justice?

3. What is the second principle of justice?

4. What is the connection between of them?

5. Differentiate the two?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 24


Book Review: Annette Baier Justice

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Library Reference: N/A

Amazon Reference: http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James-


White/dp/0495553204/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235317352&sr=8-1

Quote:

“Justice and care should be harmonized with each other. Harmonization between the two would form
something that will take care of people even when they do something to other people. The harmonization
of justice and care is the same as the harmonization of man and woman. The cooperation of the two will
form something that will be beneficial for the both parties.”

Learning Expectations:

I expect to learn how justice relevant in our society with regards to the people act.

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 25


Review:

According to the author, justice must applicable for those people who are involved in accordance
to the betterment of the society. Applying justice in life is important that we should do for the common
good. It is something that we must uphold with care to anybody like the author tells us that “Let me say
quite clearly at this early point that there is little disagreement that justice is a social value of very great
importance, and injustice an evil.”

He also said that you must learn the essence on how to care for justice as caring the other
person. Justice is like caring someone on what circumstances he does, wether it is right or wrong. But
consequences must bestow prior to the act as you treated in the future. Everyone must give a fair justice
that he or we should give a proper care.

Lesson Learned:

I learned that in able to give justice to each person you must practice it as frequent as you can
do. People needs fair judgement in order to have a good set of living as a human being.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is Justice according to the author?

2. What is proper care?

3. What is moral theory?

4. How is it important to have a fair justice?

5. What is justice as a social value?

[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 26


[Contemporary Moral Problems By:

Jommel Gonzales

ITETHICS 3rd Term S.Y 2009-2010] Page 27