To ensure that your initial post starts its own unique thread, do not reply to this post. Instead, please click the “Reply” link above this post.
Please read the general discussion requirements above, as well as the announcements explaining the discussion requirements and answering the most frequently asked questions. If you are still unsure about how to proceed with the discussion, please reply to one of those announcements or contact your instructor.
Please carefully read and think about the entire prompt before composing your first post. This discussion will require you to have carefully read Chapter 4 of the textbook, as well as the assigned portions of Immanuel Kant’s (2008) Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.
Think of someone real or fictional whom some people regard as a “hero” for helping others, stopping something bad or evil, and so forth, even though by doing so they violated what would normally be considered a moral rule (focus on morality; don’t simply think of someone who broke the law). For example, they may have lied, broken a promise, stolen, harmed someone innocent, or even murdered, but done so with good intentions. (Be sure to clearly explain both sides of this example – what seems good and what seems morally questionable about the action.)
Try to think of any example that we would either all be familiar with, or something we can easily look up (in other words, don’t just make something up or describe something generic). Think of characters in movies, TV shows, or books, people in the news, historical figures, etc. Please don’t use an example that someone else has already used!
1. Engage with the text:
Once you have thought of your example, evaluate what they did according to Kant’s Categorical Imperative. First, explain the Categorical Imperative. Is what the person did moral, or immoral, according to the Categorical Imperative? (You may focus on either formulation.)
2. Reflect on yourself:
Do you agree with this evaluation of the action?
If you think Kant would regard it as immoral and you agree, how would you explain to the person in your own words why what they did was wrong despite the good intentions and effects? If you don’t agree, and think that what they did was morally right, how would you respond to the question, “what if everyone did that?”
If you think Kant would regard it as moral, explain whether you agree or disagree, and consider how you would respond to someone who disagrees.
Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.
Week 3 Symposium [WLOs: 2, 3] [CLOs: 3, 4, 5]
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Video transcript can be accessed here.
In the Ancient Greek world (the world of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, often regarded as the birthplace of philosophy) a “symposium” was a banquet held after a meal, an “after party” of sorts that usually included drinking, dancing, recitals and engaging conversations on the topics of the day.
For our purposes in this course, the Symposium discussions will not involve dancing, recitals or a banquet, but they will provide food for thought on current ethical issues and direct application of the ethical theory discussed in each of these weeks.
It is almost impossible these days to turn on the news or log onto social media without encountering a controversy that cries out for ethical discussion. For these Symposium discussions, your instructor will choose a topic of current ethical interest and a resource associated with it for you to read or watch. Your task is to consider how the ethical theory of the week might be used to examine, understand or evaluate the issue.
This week, you will consider how deontology applies to a controversy, dilemma, event, or scenario selected by your instructor. It is a chance for you to discuss together the ethical issues and questions that it raises, your own response to those, and whether that aligns with or does not align with a deontological approach. The aim is not to simply assert your own view or to denigrate other views, but to identify, evaluate, and discuss the moral reasoning involved in addressing the chosen issue.
Your posts should remain focused on the ethical considerations, and at some point in your contribution you must specifically address the way someone with a deontological view would approach this issue by explaining and evaluating that approach.
If you have a position, you should strive to provide reasons in defense of that position.
When responding to peers, you should strive to first understand the reasons they are offering before challenging or critiquing those reasons. One good way of doing this is by summarizing their argument before offering a critique or evaluation.
o ensure that your initial post starts its own unique thread, do not reply to this post. Instead, please click the “Reply” link above this post.
Please read the description above and/or watch the video explaining the symposium and its requirements. If you are still unsure about how to proceed with the discussion, please contact your instructor.
This week, we will consider how deontology applies to immigration.
Please familiarize yourself with the basic immigration laws in the United States. What are the duties of someone wanting to come into the this country? What are the duties of the United States regarding illegal immigration? Should these laws be changed based upon the categorical imperative? Why/why not?
Your approach to this symposium discussion can be a bit more open-ended than the main discussion, remembering that our main goal is to work together to identify the main ethical questions and considerations, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the reasons for different positions one might hold, and come to a better understanding of deontological theory.
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