Question;WEEK 1Helen's Wisdom of Friends Dilemma (graded)Helen wants to move to a new community, and she is applying for a job with a small retail establishment. She is confident that she is fully qualified and will be able to perform well if she gets the job. The employer, however, has advertised for someone with three years of retail experience, and Helen only has two-and-a-half years. She is considering whether to exaggerate slightly on her resume in order to improve her chances of getting the job.Helen asks three friends to offer their advice on what she should do. -- Henry says, ?Go ahead and claim three-and-a-half years of experience, they?re going to be so happy with your work that by the time they check (if they ever do) it won?t matter.? -- Jennifer says, ?I?m sure you?ll arrive at the best decision on your own, I?ve always known you to be an honest person.? -- George says, ?It is never all right to lie, even when you are unlikely to get caught and it seems relatively harmless to do so.?To begin our discussion this week, let's discuss some of the following questions:1. Which of the Three Primary Schools of Ethics is each of Helen?s friends relying upon?2. Can you imagine other people using the same approaches to arrive at different kinds of advice?3. Do one of these Three Primary Schools of Ethics feel like the style you usually use already?Study of Ethical Philosophy (graded)The study of Ethics and Philosophy is one which brings many different kinds of "thinkers" together. One person's philosophy on Ethics is another person's philosophy on Evil. We will be working this term on constructing personal ethical bases and understanding how Ethical Codes (both personal and professional) are created and followed.To start us thinking about the different areas of philosophy and ethics, and how we fit into the different molds or world views, let's discuss the differences and similarities between these views.To do this, let's look at the role of right and wrong, laws which regulate behavior, principles vs. morality, and the role of ethics in our society.To start out we'll answer some of these questions and create more of them as we go. Pick one of the following and respond to your classmates thoughts and views:1. Do we need ethics if we have laws? Why or why not?2. Is it ethical to change our own views of ethics based on the situation we are in?3. Can we "legislate" ethics?4. How doesAristotle's "virtue ethics" mirror your ethical view, or how is it different?WEEK 2When Siding with the Majority (graded)As our opening page states, Mark Twain warned that "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."It is likely that your parents warned you "not to follow the crowd," or your school counselors warned you about "peer pressure."The United States utilizes a democratic republic form of government, which espouses the "majority rule" in many instances. For example, when passing laws, Congress and state Legislators use majority voting. When electing our officials, the majority rules. But, is our government unethical?This week's thread will look at two or three "examples" of majority findings or rules. We will bring new ones in throughout the week, so be sure to visit back at least every other day and post your thoughts.Here is our first one for the week:The great majority of people seem to find nothing objectionable about the use of commercials in children's television programming. Yet a distinguished panel commissioned by the National Science Foundation found reason to disagree. After reviewing 21 relevant scholarly studies, they concluded:It is clear from the available evidence that television advertising does influence children. Research has demonstrated that children attend to and learn from commercials, and that advertising is at least moderately successful in creating positive attitudes toward and the desire for products advertised. The variable that emerged most clearly across numerous studies as a strong determinant of children's perception of television advertising is the child's age. Research clearly establishes that children become more skilled in evaluating television advertising as they grow older, and that to treat all children from 2 to 12 as a homogenous group masks important, perhaps crucial differences.Do you think the majority view is correct in this case? What difference would it make that a majority thinks this way?Do you think the use of commercials in children's television programming raises any ethical questions? Do explain.Do you wish to place evidence for what you say before your classmates?The Struggle of Good vs. Evil (graded)Personal struggles with one's own tendencies, desires, lusts, and self-interest have placed people in conflict with other people and their own communities farther back than any of us can read. We read about the struggles of others in history -- what about ourselves? Yes, us! What about our experiences of being ourselves?When we look back in history, we find people who are not so different from us -- struggling with their human nature -- and trying to live ethical lives in whatever way they can do so. They aspire to live ethical lifes and find themselves failing again and again.St. Augustine in the 5th Century held that although we feel free to make choices in life, our true nature as human beings includes a persistent disregard for what is good. On this view, we are sinners whose only hope for redemption lies in the gracious love of a merciful deity. Whatever I do on my own, Augustine would argue, is bound to be wrong, whatever I do right, must be performed by God through me.St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century brought Aristotle?s theories back into ?vogue,? soon after St. Augustine?s death (if 800 years is soon, that is.) He allowed humanity to have a bit of secularity along with faith, and his ethics allows for a Natural Law which can be found in the heart of man. Please be sure to listen to our Saints' Debate on the lecture tab before working in this thread.So, here we are in the 21st Century with all the sophistication and technology of the age. Does this account of human nature fit well with your own experience of human action? That is, do you observe (in yourself and others) an inclination toward evil instead of toward good? Bring in examples of scenarios which bolster your view, or which tend to bring your view (or others) into question.
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