Ethics Discussions

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PART A “The Judeo-Christian Tradition and John Stuart Mill, “Utilitarianism” Please respond to the following:

Analyze the morality of behavior described in Psalms and in Luke “The Sermon on the Plain.” Discuss at least three moral ideals with which you agree or disagree. Provide reasons and examples to support your view.

Discuss your level of agreement of disagreement with Mill’s “Utilitarianism.” Provide reasons and examples to support your view.

PLEASE RESPOND TO CLASSMATE DISCUSSION WHETHER YOU AGREE OR NOT & A DETAILED WHY:The three that I chose that I agree with from “The Sermon on the Plain” are:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged – How can I criticize someone when I have many faults of my own. We are an imperfect society, unless I GOD, which I am not, I have no right speaking to anyone about their transgressions. The right belongs only to the almighty.

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you – I think if we all follow this one, half the insane stuff that happens in society would not happen. The power of love is so great that if practiced more often even our enemies will have no choice but to accept it and love back.

For there is no good tree that brings forth rotten fruit; nor again a rotten tree that brings forth good fruit – This speaking of what is stored up in a person’s heart will eventually be exposed and reveal the true person they are. A person that has love and praise cannot be bad so therefore can only come from a good tree. A person full of bitterness and hate can only come from a bad tree.

Utilitarianism – John Mill makes an argument that happiness is the sole foundation of morality and that people never want anything but happiness and yes, I agree with that concept. I don’t know of any moral structure that has more appeal than the idea behind utilitarianism. To the degree that other structures make individuals unhappy, they are bad. To the degree that they make individuals happy, they may be okay. The ultimate test of a moral structure is whether it makes individuals happy. Otherwise, what would be the point? Ethics is how a person ought to conduct themselves and if a person knows the difference between right and wrong, they ought to do right. But there is no way that something can be good unless it is good for something. That is, what can be good about an act that makes nobody happy such as rape or murder. The ultimate foundation of utilitarianism, increasing happiness, is a good goal to have.

PART B Go to the American Philanthropic Website to read the article titled “David Hume and the virtue of benevolence”, dated December 9, 2011, located at

“Survival and Benevolence” Please respond to the following:mDebate It; Take a position for or against Harris’ proposal for a “Survival Lottery.” Provide reasons and examples to support your view.

From the e-Activity, discuss your level of agreement or disagreement with the author’s view that benevolence and justice make a pair; that is, when benevolence cannot provide for social utility, cold justice ensures that social utility is served. Provide reasons and examples to support your view.

PLEASE RESPOND TO CLASSMATE DISCUSSION WHETHER YOU AGREE OR NOT & A DETAILED WHY:In John Harris’s idea of a survival lottery, he is basically telling us he believes there is value in numbers and that two lives are twice as valuable as one so if one person must die to maximize the survival of other individuals, that one person must be killed to accomplish saving multiple lives. My problem with Harris’s survival lottery is that I think there is big difference morally between killing and letting die. Everyone on this Earth has a right to life. I do not agree with his philosophy that killing and letting die are equivalent because they are not the same. Based on Harris’s views he makes it sound like an individual has a claim on the rights of others on whether they live or not and we do not; to me, he is telling us it is alright to play God. Based on Harris’s idea, I have an example. Let’s say my neighbor, and I have the same make and model of laptop, and the maker of the laptop no longer exists. One day at the same time both laptops breakdown. The part I need for my laptop my neighbor has and the part my neighbor needs I have. Do either one of us have the right to go and claim and forcibly take the parts we need from each other, no we do not, and the same principle applies to human life. It doesn’t matter if a hundred people could be saved by the blood of one, we have no claim to that person ’s life for the sake of saving others that is not our call.

e-Activity No, I cannot see where David Hume makes the connection where benevolence and justice are a pair. When we speak of the topic of benevolence, we are talking about turning outside of ourselves to those in need, doing acts of kindness — for example, volunteering at a shelter, teaching someone to read or whatever act of kindness that a person does to help the less unfortunate. When I think of justice it is very distinct from benevolence. When I think of justice, I immediately think of root causes such as inequality, poverty, racism; causes for change and that is what justice is about changing a system not about being kind.

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