TOK Journal Collect #2: Your Thoughts Needed on the following…

Think hard!

#6…..What is Truth?  Is truth possible? Lastly, does it even matter if something is true or not?

#5….Consider a piece of culture…the movie HER for example, or Fight Club, or even another work of literature/philosophy…Thoreau’s Walden comes to mind…how does the creator of that cultural artifact view the essence of technology? What is their point of view?

#4….Kant famously wrote “I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith”? Unpack and discuss this statement in a TOK way!!

Kantian Ethics vs. Utilitarianism

As an introduction to ETHICS, move through this incredibly excellent introduction to ethics, ethical hypocrisy, kantian ethics and utilitarianism: 

http://www.philosophyexperiments.com/fatman/Default.aspx

One of the heaviest hitters in the philosophical world of ethics is German Philosopher Emanuel Kant.

Kant wrote at length on a variety of topics and is considered one of the great German Philosophers along with Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Schopenhauer.

Below is a link to a great summary of Kant’s famous, “Categorical Imperative” and his Deontological Moral Theory.

http://www.csus.edu/indiv/g/gaskilld/ethics/Kantian%20Ethics.htm

This is in contrast to UTILITARIANISM which is a philosophical perspective that places an emphasis on choosing behaviors and actions that have the most advantageous ratio of utility (value) to risk/disadvantage. John Stuart Mill was one of the most famous philosophical proponents of utilitarianism. Below is some information:

http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/Cavalier/80130/part2/sect9.html

So…after you’ve read the above and contemplated each philosophy’s ramifications, answer the following questions: 

1.  Which moral approach do you follow, Utilitarianism or Kantian Morality?

2.  Which moral approach do you believe is BEST for society? Why?

3.  Is it possible for a society to adopt Kant’s moral beliefs?

4.  Which approach causes the practitioner to be in touch with more ways of knowing? Which ways of knowing does each approach rely on?

Introduction to Ethics

Would you walk away from OMELAS or stay???

We’ve already discussed various questions that the Human Sciences concern themselves with. We discussed that many of these questions are “Normative” in nature…meaning they concern themselves with what humans OUGHT to do.

Dilemmas of behavior that people face are referred to as MORAL DILEMMAS or ETHICAL DILEMMAS.

Read the following Short Story, Honors Track, on Cheating in High School written by one of America’s up and coming short story writers, Molly Paterson.

Honors Track Short Story

Additionally, consider the following:

Mad Bomber

A madman who has threatened to explode several bombs in crowded areas has been apprehended. Unfortunately, he has already planted the bombs and they are scheduled to go off in a short time. It is possible that hundreds of people may die. The authorities cannot make him divulge the location of the bombs by conventional methods. He refuses to say anything and requests a lawyer to protect his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. In exasperation, some high level official suggests torture. This would be illegal, of course, but the official thinks that it is nevertheless the right thing to do in this desperate situation. Do you agree? If you do, would it also be morally justifiable to torture the mad bomber’s innocent wife if that is the only way to make him talk? Why?

Subway Problem

A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?

Fat Man/Pregnant Woman Problem

A fat man leading a group of people out of a cave on a coast is stuck in the mouth of that cave. In a short time high tide will be upon them, and unless he is unstuck, they will all be drowned except the fat man, whose head is out of the cave. [But, fortunately, or unfortunately, someone has with him a stick of dynamite.] There seems no way to get the fat man loose without using [that] dynamite which will inevitably kill him; but if they do not use it everyone will drown. What should they do?

Dostoyevsky, who has in these pages come in for comment in relation to Existentialism and atheism, imagines a classic right vs. good dilemma:

“Tell me yourself — I challenge you: let’s assume that you were called upon to build the edifice of human destiny so that men would finally be happy and would find peace and tranquility. If you knew that, in order to attain this, you would have to torture just one single creature, let’s say the little girl who beat her chest so desperately in the outhouse, and that on her unavenged tears you could build that edifice, would you agree to do it? Tell me and don’t lie!”

This idea is carried out to awesome effect in, “those who walk away from omelas.”  Read it below: 

ones who walk away from omelas