My Philosopher: St. Thomas Aquinas

stthomasaquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas, nicknamed the “Dumb Ox” for his heavyset and quiet nature, was an Italian theologian and philosopher between the years of 1225-1274. Born to a noble family in Roccasecca, he was raised in a castle before departing to receive an education. In 1243, while attending the University of Naples, he came in contact with the Dominican friars and ultimately joined their order. After completing his undergraduate studies, Aquinas traveled to Paris, and later Cologne, where he continued to study under the German Scholastic philosopher, Albert Magnus (Funk & Wagnalls, 2014).

Often considered his most significant work, Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, is split into two separate parts. The first details the various teachings of the church and the rules its members are meant to follow. Additionally, the first part of Summa Theologica details what Aquinas refers to as the “Five Ways,” or the five aspects that he claims proves God’s existence. The first, and perhaps most notable, “way” is an expansion upon Aristotle’s notion of the “Unmoved Mover.” Aristotle argued that everything comes from something and that in order for life to begin, something had to cause it. This cause is what Aristotle refers to as the “Uncaused Cause.” Aquinas uses this as evidence of God’s existence by claiming that the only logical entity that could be able to do such a task is God (Kerr, 2009).

The second part of the Summa Theologica is more grounded in ethics. Similar to part one, Aquinas bases some of his claims off of Aristotle’s teaching. This comes to no surprise seeing as how it was no secret that Aquinas spent a considerable amount of time studying the works of Aristotle. Aquinas agrees with Aristotle’s notion of eudaimonia, or happiness, as being something to work towards but he argues that Aristole’s definition of eudaimonia is imperfect. Aquinas argues that man’s real happiness consists in the vision of God. In order to obtain this happiness, Aquinas states that people must take part in universal moral obligations, or natural law. These obligations are what ultimately define the school of ethics called deontology, or duty ethics (Elders, 2006).

Additionally, according to Aquinas, morality within a person is best measured by intent of their actions. The specific actions we take, Aquinas would argue, are neutral in and of themselves. However, our purpose in actually performing that action or our reasoning behind it is what determines the good or bad morality of us. For example, in the case of hitting another person, Aquinas would say that if we chose to commit the act itself for reasons such as protecting our family, then the act is morally good. However, if the reason behind committing the act was to cause harm and injure the other person, then the act is morally bad (Kerr, 2009).

One manner in which Aquinas’ form of normative ethics is best applied is in tandem with professional ethics. An excellent example of this would be Journalism’s SPJ code of ethics. Journalists are required by the SPJ to seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable transparent. Unfortunately, there are times in which journalist’s may bend the lines of the ethical rules set in place for them thus making the judgment of their immorality difficult. With the inclusion of Aquinas’ teaching on ethics, it becomes much more clear to whether or not a journalist’s actions are actually moral.

 

References

Aquinas, Saint Thomas. (2014). In Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book.

Elders, L. (2006). The Ethics of St. Thomas Aquinas. Anuario Filosofico, 39(2), 439-463.

Kerr, F. (2009). Thomas Aquinas a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

St. Thomas Aquinas. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2015, from     http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2530

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My Philosopher: Philippa Foot

OBIT-FOOT-popup

Philippa Foot was born on Oct. 3,1920, in Owston Ferry, Lincolnshire and grew up in Kirkleatham, in North Yorkshire. Philippa went to Somerville College, where she studied philosophy, politics and economics and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1942. Just four years later, after receiving her bachelor’s degree she got her master’s degree and started to teach at Somerville in 1947. She was also a philosophy professor at the University of California, Los Angles until 1991 where she then retired.

Foot was highly influenced by philosophers such as R. M. Hare and Charles L. Stevenson. These philosophers’ moral ideas involved maintaining that moral statements were expressions of attitude and emotion. They believed this because they felt that these statements could not be deemed true or false in the same way factual statements could be. After being highly influenced by these philosophers, Foot began to argue about the interconnectedness of facts and moral understandings. In her argument she insisted that virtues such as courage, wisdom and temperance are essential to human life and the foundation of morality. Foot’s research and study on this subject contributed to the concept of virtue ethics. Foot also opposed deontology, utilitarianism and consequentialism. More importantly, Foot disagreed with arguments that free will requires determinism and more specifically that one could not be held responsible for “chance” actions chosen for no reason. She wrote,

To say that a man acted freely is, it is often suggested, to say that he was not constrained, or that he could have done otherwise if he had chosen, or something else of that kind; and since these things could be true even if his action was determined it seems that there could be room for free will even within a universe completely subject to causal laws. (The Philosophical Review, vol LXVI, (1957), p.439).

On the other hand, Foot also argued against the argument that everything happens by chance or because it is determined.

One of Philippa Foot’s most famous works is called the Trolley experiment. The experiment entailed a runaway trolley that is coming quickly down railroad tracks. Beyond the tracks are five people tied up unable to move. There are options in the experiment if you pull a lever you are able to switch the trolley to a different track, however there is one person on that different set tracks.

Untitled

https://birdgei.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/2.jpg?w=620&h=484

In regards to Philippa Foot’s argument, the ways in which she defended her argument and opposed other’s arguments is valid. The statement that courage and wisdom are important to morality is justifiable. For instance, in life everyone is faced with hard decisions whether they are easy or hard to make. Virtue ethics is used in day-to-day life as individuals begin to make decisions, which later shape them for their future. Every decision he or she makes will allow them to inform further decisions and to grow as a human being. Foot’s trolley experiment is an occurrence that can happen in everyday life. For example, when you make a decision to harm one person and not a group of people, however at the end of the day you are still responsible for that one person injured. It is very true that in life emotions and morals such as courage and wisdom need to come into play in order for an individual to grow and transform.

Work Cited:

Grimes, W. (2010, October 9). Philippa Foot, Renowned Philosopher, Dies at 90. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/us/10foot.html?_r=0 https://philosophynow.org/issues/41/Philippa_Foot

Philippa Foot. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/philosophers/foot/

Philosopher’s Toolkit: The Trolley Problem. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.philosopherstoolkit.com/the-trolley-problem.php

Schneider, R. (n.d.). Philippa Foot. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from https://philosophynow.org/issues/41/Philippa_Foot

My Philosopher: Philippa Foot

OBIT-FOOT-popup

Philippa Foot was born on Oct. 3,1920, in Owston Ferry, Lincolnshire and grew up in Kirkleatham, in North Yorkshire. Philippa went to Somerville College, where she studied philosophy, politics and economics and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1942. Just four years later, after receiving her bachelor’s degree she got her master’s degree and started to teach at Somerville in 1947. She was also a philosophy professor at the University of California, Los Angles until 1991 where she then retired.

Foot was highly influenced by philosophers such as R. M. Hare and Charles L. Stevenson. These philosophers’ moral ideas involved maintaining that moral statements were expressions of attitude and emotion. They believed this because they felt that these statements could not be deemed true or false in the same way factual statements could be. After being highly influenced by these philosophers, Foot began to argue about the interconnectedness of facts and moral understandings. In her argument she insisted that virtues such as courage, wisdom and temperance are essential to human life and the foundation of morality. Foot’s research and study on this subject contributed to the concept of virtue ethics. Foot also opposed deontology, utilitarianism and consequentialism. More importantly, Foot disagreed with arguments that free will requires determinism and more specifically that one could not be held responsible for “chance” actions chosen for no reason. She wrote,

To say that a man acted freely is, it is often suggested, to say that he was not constrained, or that he could have done otherwise if he had chosen, or something else of that kind; and since these things could be true even if his action was determined it seems that there could be room for free will even within a universe completely subject to causal laws. (The Philosophical Review, vol LXVI, (1957), p.439).

On the other hand, Foot also argued against the argument that everything happens by chance or because it is determined.

One of Philippa Foot’s most famous works is called the Trolley experiment. The experiment entailed a runaway trolley that is coming quickly down railroad tracks. Beyond the tracks are five people tied up unable to move. There are options in the experiment if you pull a lever you are able to switch the trolley to a different track, however there is one person on that different set tracks.

Untitled

https://birdgei.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/2.jpg?w=620&h=484

In regards to Philippa Foot’s argument, the ways in which she defended her argument and opposed other’s arguments is valid. The statement that courage and wisdom are important to morality is justifiable. For instance, in life everyone is faced with hard decisions whether they are easy or hard to make. Virtue ethics is used in day-to-day life as individuals begin to make decisions, which later shape them for their future. Every decision he or she makes will allow them to inform further decisions and to grow as a human being. Foot’s trolley experiment is an occurrence that can happen in everyday life. For example, when you make a decision to harm one person and not a group of people, however at the end of the day you are still responsible for that one person injured. It is very true that in life emotions and morals such as courage and wisdom need to come into play in order for an individual to grow and transform.

Work Cited:

Grimes, W. (2010, October 9). Philippa Foot, Renowned Philosopher, Dies at 90. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/us/10foot.html?_r=0 https://philosophynow.org/issues/41/Philippa_Foot

Philippa Foot. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/philosophers/foot/

Philosopher’s Toolkit: The Trolley Problem. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.philosopherstoolkit.com/the-trolley-problem.php

Schneider, R. (n.d.). Philippa Foot. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from https://philosophynow.org/issues/41/Philippa_Foot

My Philosopher: Nel Noddings

noddingsNel Noddings is the product of small-town, East Coast America, of working-class roots, educated in public schools. Always an excellent student, she was initially a school teacher and administrator. Graduate training, culminating with a PhD from Stanford University, led to a prestigious university career with scholarly and pedagogical interests in philosophy of education, in curriculum and teacher education, and in mathematics education…it might be said that an ethics underpins her writing, her own process of doing philosophy. Several aspects of her style are influenced especially by a ‘foundation’ in Dewey. (Stone, 2013).  Noddings offers connection between happiness and morality in discussion that is ‘critical’ of a set of virtues: honesty, courage, intellect and perseverance. She makes clear that ‘relying’ on virtues for happiness requires something more; their enactment may belie intent. She writes, Insofar as virtue is connected to happiness, we must test each purported virtue to see under which conditions it actually shows this connection. We hope that the people produced by our educational efforts will be good people and such Introducing Noddings and the Symposium 485people must be willing to sacrifice some episodic happiness for a deeper form dependent on a life of goodness…. [We] should spend time in discussing goodness … [that] must include critical thinking on critical issues. (Noddings, 2003, p. 167) (Stone, 2013).

Noddings has very strong views on feminism and the roles of teachers and students in the classroom. In her book entitled Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education, she writes, when a teacher asks a question in class and a student responds, she receives not just the “response” but also the student. What he says matters, whether it is right or wrong, and she probes gently for clarification, interpretation, and contribution. She is not seeking the answer but the involvement of the cared-for. The teacher receives and accepts the student’s feelings toward the subject matter; she looks at it and listens to it through his eyes and ears. How else can she interpret the subject matter for him? (Noddings, 1984)

Creativity in classrooms is a big concern to Noddings. Many careful thinkers would welcome an analysis of the content of vocational and general programs—not to make them all alike but to assess how well they are meeting the needs of students with various interests in different parts of the country. Are the programs a product of cooperative efforts among educators, employers, and unions, as they are in much of Europe? Are the programs well staffed? Is the equipment kept up-to-date? One can see an obvious need for standards here, but they would not be content standards; they might better be called “opportunity to-learn standards.” The actual content would be (and should be) decided locally in consultation with national and international experts and in response to locally recognized needs (Noddings, 2013).

Noddings uses a case study on the standardization of algebra as an example. How should one define algebra? On this, many believe that a reasonable standard has already been established. Indeed, when one looks at the core standards, one sees nothing new. I taught high school mathematics more than 40 years ago and, aside from slightly different language, there is nothing new in the core standards. They may even be a bit less rigorous than the overly ambitious recommendations of the sixties. Textbooks have provided graded exercises in algebra for years, making it possible to teach both minimal and enriched courses in one class if one prefers to do it that way. But what if many students cannot handle even the minimal course? More standardization will not help; it will just make things more complicated. To say exactly what students will learn does not ensure that they will do so. In practice, many schools today violate their own commitment to standards by offering algebra courses that bear little resemblance to the real thing. The only reasonable response to this problem is to drop the requirement that all students take academic mathematics. Then educators must roll up their intellectual sleeves and work to design an accessible, relevant program for students whose interests and talents do not lead to traditional college work (Noddings, 2013).

 Resources

Stone, L. (2013). Introducing Noddings and the Symposium. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 45(5), 482-487.

Noddings, N. (1984). Caring, a feminine approach to ethics & moral education. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Noddings, N. (2013). Standardized Curriculum and Loss of Creativity. Theory Into Practice,52(3), 210-215.

W.D. Ross

Caytlinn Strickland

william-david-rossW.D. Ross was born in 1877 in Thurso, Scotland. Ross joined the army in 1915 and fought in World War I. In 1929, he he became Provost of Oriel College, the position he held until retirement. He also held the position of President at Fellow of the British Academy until 1940. According to Skelton (2012), during his time as President, he helped foreign scholars flee less liberal areas in Europe. Ross died on May 25, 1971. In his lifetime, Ross was considered a major figure in the study of Aristotle, holding the position as the General Editor of the Oxford Aristotle translation series, as well as editing some of Aristotle’s work in Greek for Oxford Classical Text series (Skelton, 2012). Much of Ross’ ideas is influenced greatly by Aristotle, H.A. Prichard, and G.E. Moore, and involved the study of duty ethics.

According to Olsen (2014), Ross is typically thought of as denying that there are any absolute moral principles, and believes in prima facie duties, meaning moral principles that are seen as correct unless proven otherwise. Garrett (2004) explained, “A prima facie duty is a duty that is binding (obligatory) other things equal, that is, unless it is overridden or trumped by another duty or duties.” These duties include fidelity, gratitude, reparation, to promote a maximum of aggregate good, and non-maleficence.

These prima facie duties can be considered moral requirements or obligations that we are bound by and that must motivate our behavior. For example, if you see someone carrying a heavy box, and your hands are free, you have the moral obligation of non-injury to hold the door for them. Ross was also interested in the right and the good. The right would be these prima facie duties, and does not see these duties as equally important, for example the duty of non-maleficence is more important than promoting a maximum of aggregate good (Skelton, 2012). Many philosophers believed that these duties were problematic because they are not systematic enough. With no real structure on which is more important than the other, it is hard to use this theory to make moral decisions since you don’t know what duty you should use above another.

Ross was also interested in the good, which he believed involved justice, pleasure, knowledge, and virtue (Skelton, 2012). He believed that for something to be good, it must truly, intrinsically be good. He argued that virtue and knowledge were “objects worthy of admiration,” and because of that, the goodness was intrinsic to them. He also suggested that justice and pleasure were “worthy objects of satisfaction,” and the goodness in them was not intrinsic, but the act of finding satisfaction in them was intrinsically good (Skelton, 2012). For example, pleasure is a good thing, and pain is a bad thing. So, if we find pleasure in eating cake, then eating cake to attain pleasure is a good enough reason to justify that action. When talking about goodness, Ross was interested in self-evidence, which involves knowing moral facts through intuition. According to Gray (2011), for duties to be self-evident, it means we “can contemplate the duties and know they are true based on that contemplation—but only if we contemplate them in the right way.” Ross believes that we can know things without arguing for them, and thinks anything truly intuitive is self-evident.

Ross’ guidelines, such as the prima facie duties and considering what is right and what is good, can be applied to making ethical decisions. What Ross would hope people would do when making decisions, according to his work and ideologies, would be to consider what promises we have made, what our obligations are, such as keeping those promises, not harming others, and giving gratitude, and measure what intrinsic good would come out of our choices.

References

Garrett, J. (2004). A simple and usable (although incomplete) ethical theory based on the ethics of W.D. Ross. Retrieved from             http://people.wku.edu/jan.garrett/ethics/rossethc.htm

Gray, J.W. (2011). Ethical realism. Retrieved from   https://ethicalrealism.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/w-d-rosss-moral-theory-the-right-and-the-good/

Olsen, K. (2014). Ross and the particularism/generalism divide. Canadian Journal of         Philosophy, 44(1), 56-75. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00455091.2014.891691

Skelton, A. (2012). William David Ross. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online.        Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/william-david-ross/#RosDisMorFraRigGoo

W.D. Ross Image Retrieved from https://ausomeawestin.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/the-call-of-duties-thoughts-on-w-d-rosss-the-right-and-the-good-pt-i/

Ralph B. Potter, Jr.

Picture taken from http://fjucrm2010.blogspot.com/2014/09/ina-ralph-b-potter-jr.html

Ralph B. Potter, Jr. was a professor of social ethics at Harvard University between 1965 and 2003 (Cheeseman, 2010). During 1999, Potter realized an ethical predicament concerning the build-up of nuclear weapons. He was going to use this subject for his doctoral paper by establishing a Christian standpoint on the view of the nuclear arms policy. This was the theoretical groundwork for his contribution to ethics, the Potter Box. (Backus & Ferraris, 2004).

The Potter Box is a categorized, step-by-step process that can be used for ethical decision-making. It can be visualized as a box divided by four sections labeled Definition, Values, Principles, and Loyalties. The steps go in a rotation to create a fluid process of decision-making. The decision maker starts with the Definition box. He or she understands the facts known present in the situation. Next, values are identified and taken into consideration. Based on the decision maker’s values, he or she contemplates ethical principles. These can be extracted from the teachings of philosophers such as Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and John Rawls. The last step involves choosing loyalties within stakeholders. The decider must determine whom he or she has responsibility of. The end result does not guarantee the most ethical course of action, but it helps an individual examine the choices available and the penalties at stake when making a decision. (Backus & Ferraris, 2004).

http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAYQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fstanzzapatterson.com%2Fthe-potter-box-model-of-reasoning%2F&ei=cE_eVL_uJYWZyATF1YG4Ag&bvm=bv.85970519,d.aWw&psig=AFQjCNEpleBzOnMzYpKrtxfbME6uvKTkqA&ust=1423941871219111

The Potter Box is an ethical framework that involves the teachings of past philosophers. Aristotle teaches The Golden Mean, which encourages placing virtue between two extremes. Kant teaches the Categorical Imperative, which encourages people to act as if what they do will become a universal law. Mill teaches the Principle of Utility, which seeks the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Rawls teaches the Veil of Ignorance, which he or she imagines themselves in the positions of others that could be affected. (Plaisance, 2014).

Even though Potter originally used this framework to look at positions involving war, it has been applied to conflicts in communication, specifically in public relations (Backus & Ferraris, 2004). Public relations involves managing and communicating information about an individual or organization. It can guide PR specialists when making decisions that follow under the values listed in their code of ethics, which are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness (Plaisance, 2014).

This is a scenario in which the Potter Box could be applied in public relations: A restaurant has been promoting a special night that they ordered large amounts of food for in preparation. Stockholders that are planning on donating money to open a second restaurant are going to be in attendance. Customers have already bought meal tickets and the event is a day away. When the food arrives at the restaurant, the chefs notice the expiration dates are well passed.

This is an important event for the owners of the restaurant due to the rare attendance of their stockholders. The two situations they can define are either ignoring their knowledge of the bad food or canceling the event and risk losing an opportunity of receiving a grant for the second restaurant. The owners then have to consider certain values. In this case, they have to whether or not to be honest to the public and loyal to their customers. Based on who is deciding, they would next look at different principles. For example, if they followed Mill they would have to decide what is the best decision for the largest amount of people. When looking at loyalties, they have to determine the importance between customer loyalty and stockholder loyalty, and which is more important. The end result will differ depending on the values and moral principles held by decision maker.

References

Backus, N. & Ferraris, C. (2004). Theory meets practice: Using the potter box to teach business communication ethics. Association for Business Communication. Retrieved from http://195.130.87.21:8080/dspace/bitstream/123456789/283/1/Sokuvitz%20&%20Spinelli-forming%20perceptions%20of%20entrepreurial%20dis.pdf#page=225

Cheeseman, Morgan. (2010, September 21). The potter box. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from https://ethicshelp.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/the-potter-box/

Plaisance, P. L. (2014). Media ethics: Key Principles For Responsible Practice, 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Potter Box picture retrieved from http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAYQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fstanzzapatterson.com%2Fthe-potter-box-model-of-reasoning%2F&ei=cE_eVL_uJYWZyATF1YG4Ag&bvm=bv.85970519,d.aWw&psig=AFQjCNEpleBzOnMzYpKrtxfbME6uvKTkqA&ust=1423941871219111

Ralph Potter picture retrieved from http://fjucrm2010.blogspot.com/2014/09/ina-ralph-b-potter-jr.html

#zinkus #ralphpotter

Louis W. Hodges

louis-w-hodges

(Photo Courtesy mediaethicsmorning.wordpress.com)

My philosopher is Louis W. Hodges. Louis Hodges grew up in Europa, Mississippi (University of Minnesota, 2009). Hodges earned a Bachelors Degree from Duke Divinity School in 1957 and earned his doctorate in in Christian thought, with an emphasis in Christian Ethics from Duke University in 1960 (University of Minnesota, 2009). Louis W. Hodges joined the faculty at Washington & Lee University in 1960 (University of Minnesota, 2009).

After all these accomplishments and degrees Hodges was the founder of Washington & Lee University’s “Society and Professional Program in professional ethics (University of Minnesota, 2009). He also became the first holder of the Knight Chair in journalism ethics (University of Minnesota, 2009). The Knight Chair is a position at Washington & Lee University that “will enable the university to develop a program with emphasis in three areas” (Wesserman, n.d.). The first area is to expand the curriculum for undergraduate students in journalism ethics for Journalism major but also open for all students (Wesserman, n.d.). The second area is increasing professional education in journalism ethics at the school, regional, national and newsrooms around the country (Wesserman, n.d.). The last area is to educate the general public by creating a team of teachers and editors to address issues in journalism ethics (Wesserman, n.d.). Hodges held this position of Knight Chair in the Ethics of Journalism at Washington & Lee University from 1996-2003 (University of Minnesota).

In Media Ethics: Issues and Cases it discusses about Louis W. Hodges philosophy.His philosophy claims that there is a need for privacy in contrast to the right to privacy(Cobb, 2012). He claims that privacy is necessary for people to develop a sense of themselves and also to protect themselves.(Cobb, 2012). This claim of privacy really relates to technology today and how people need there privacy and have the right to privacy (Cobb, 2012). In any form of social media you have the right to make your profile locked or available for the public. This includes your personal information such as location, DOB and siblings. It will lock who your friends, interests and posts. It also restricts you to only a few pictures as well. I think this feature is only really needed on Facebook that really shows your hometown and personal information on your page. Other social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram are just a little description of yourself that most people don’t include personal information in. His theory of need for privacy in contrast to the right of privacy is important because everyone needs privacy and if you need privacy you should have the right to it. If people’s information wasn’t always private you would know so much more about people then you already know.

In another article from Media Ethics it talks about how Hodges talked about he had 3 ways how to deal with a conflict of interest as a journalist. The 3 ways he stated was get out, recuse or disclose (Media Ethics, 2005). The get out method he described was to just avoid any conflict. Don’t write about the news and change beats (Media Ethics, 2005). His second method was recuse. This method is keeping the same story but giving it to another writer (Media Ethics, 2005). They state in the judicial system that judges use the same exact method to avoid conflict in certain cases (Media Ethics, 2005). The last method was disclosure. This method is if the first two steps don’t work and you must let your audience know what the situation is (Media Ethics, 2005). This method helps disclose the conflict at hand and lets you describe what is really going on.

References

Cobb, M. (2012). Professional Problems & Ethics. Word Press. Retrieved from

http://www.wordpress.com/

Kraft Foundation. (n.d.). Edward Wasserman, Knight Chair in Journalism Ethics.

                 Kraft Foundation. Retrieved from http://50.56.126.145/

Media Ethics. (2005). Conflict and the Professional Setting. Media Ethics Magazine. 

Retrieved from http://www.mediaethicsmagazine.com/

University of Minnesota. (2009). Journalism Ethicist Louis W. Hodges will retire in 2003. 

                Silha Center for the study of Media Ethics & Law. Retrieved from

http://www.silha.umn.edu/

#marceau #Hodges

My Philosopher: Plato

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Historical theories from the world allow us to base our own ethical and moral theories we learn as children and on a daily basis to determine our life decisions, professionally and personally. Plato is just one of the critical figures that have created a basic layout of how societies should be balanced. He was born in 428 B.C.E and passed away eighty years or so later. Since he was conceived in one of the most thriving cities of Greece, Athens, during the Age of the Pericles, he was in the perfect position to meet such influential people such as Socrates, his teacher, and his student Aristotle. Plato was born into a wealthy family during this period when monarchy was eliminated by Cleithere’s introduction to democracy after the tyranny of Isagoras. The progressing introduction to democracy and philosophy were creating the “cradle of democracy in the western civilization” (Prastacos). Many professors today call this the Golden Age due to its centre for arts and learning. As Professor Jeremy McInerney Ph.D. first expresses to his students when taking the Age of Pericles courses at the University of Pennsylvania, “We call it the “Golden Age”—the period during the 5th century B.C. when the Greek city-state of Athens experienced a cultural flowering of extraordinary power and importance for Western culture” (McInerney). Since people were progressing in their ideas, society could not consider Plato to be disliked. Especially after the execution of Socrates, Plato had many friends since people were blaming the teacher of treason for corrupting the youth, which is written and described in Plato’s Apology. However, the political sides of society, that Plato strived to avoid, did not agree with his theoretical ideas new aspects on religions.

Plato was a teacher as well as a student and was able to learn his ethical philosophy from Socrates and continue them through his Academy and pupils such as Aristotle. His pupil created Aristotelianism, which replicated the basics of Plato’s doctrine with a more rough tone. Platonism, or Plato’s doctrine on lifestyle, is explained especially well in the book called The Mind of Plato, by A.E. Taylor. The author’s description of the philosopher’s ethical theories originated from Plato’s words, “Man’s life is a perpetual search for something he has not got, though without it he can never be at peace with himself” (Taylor (1960), 12). In a unity, he wanted to express that our happiness does not depend on what we aim for, but how we use it. On the following diagram I simplified the categorization of his terms. From a modern perspective, people interpret that the reason is what gives the passion a purpose, which contains humans’ desires. Human nature makes our psyche have different parts that we have to learn to harmonize. A simple example is eating sweets on a diet. Our reasoning is that if we eat sweets it will obviously not help with getting fitter. Then there is the desire to eat the delicious goodness because we crave it. The Passion in between is when we take into consideration what we learned or what we are striving for, such as losing 5lbs. Mastering our own desires and passions with reason allows us to be in control of ourselves. With all of Plato’s works incorporated in our philosophical beliefs during such a crucial era, we now consider it to be common sense.

Plato TriangleQuote

400 years after Plato’s death our society has gathered writings, 13 letters, manuscripts, and books that endlessly elaborate Platonism. Plato’s beliefs have incorporated into modern beliefs since it was introduced during this influential time of the Golden Age. He had a few poetic pieces, however he strongly opposed poetry calling it, “Inspiration negatives responsibilities; you get no personal credit for the good you do while inspired” (Moravcsik, 138). Plato, after learning a bit from Socrates, believed that enthousiasmos was coming from a source of madness, similarly to cults and possessive religions. A quote by A.E. Taylor in the book Platonism and It’s Influence said, “His influence, like the pressure of the atmosphere, goes undetected because we never really get free from it” (Taylor (1963), 57). Plato’s style of thinking has become incorporated in our traditional lives.

Reference Page 

McInerney, J. (2014, January 1). Age of Pericles. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/age-of-pericles.html

Moravcsik, J., & Temko, P. (1982). Plato and the Poets. In Plato on beauty, wisdom, and the arts (Vol. 1, pp. 1-150). Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield.

Prastacos, P., Soderquist, A., & Wang, P. (2011, June 14). Ancient Culture Greek and Civilization. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from http://www.leadershipclassics.org/AncientGreekCulture&Civilization.html

Taylor, A. (1960). Life and Writings. In The mind of Plato (originally Plato). Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press.

Taylor, A. (1963). The Rule of Life. In Platonism and its influence (pp. 1-131). New York: Cooper Square.

Google. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2015, from philosopher plato

#Weaver

My Philosopher: John Rawls

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John Rawls is considered one of the most influential Philosophers of the 20th century. He was declared this by President Bill Clinton. He is known for being a philosopher that dealt with moral and politics. He was born on February 21, 1921 in Baltimore Maryland to William Rawls and Anna Abell Stump Rawls. He was also raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the 2nd of 5 sons to the couple. John had probably one of the worst tragedies anyone can ever experience. Not one but two of his brothers had died during their childhood because they contracted fatal illnesses from John. John had gotten diphtheria and when his younger brother Booby, visited him and got infected with the illness and passed away. The following year, he got pneumonia and his other younger brother caught it and also died. So within the first 8 years of living he had essentially witnessed two deaths of his siblings all because of the illnesses he had contracted.

John’s father was a well-known lawyer in the Maryland area. His father had studied law from the young age of 14. By age 22 he actually passed the bar exam and joined a very notable law form. With all of this law exposure John never wanted to pursue a career in law by any means. He stayed in Maryland to pursue his college education by attending Ivy League school, Princeton University. He also got his PH.D from Princeton after a short time in the army. He wasn’t sure about his major right away, after testing the waters he then decided on philosophy. At one point during his later years at Princeton, he really started like religion. He considered being a priest. He was so interested in religion that his thesis was, “A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith, which was later published in 2009. After he was in the war, he really started to question faith because “he wondered how a benevolent God could have allowed such evil to take place” (Foss, 2014).

“After the war, he returned to Princeton to pursue a doctorate in philosophy. His dissertation was an attempt to formulate a method for judging moral arguments. In that work, Rawls was reacting to the relativistic claim that morals cannot be judged because they are merely subjective values. Rawls denied this, but he also denied that any one moral claim, including any of those grounded in religion, could be used as a standard for judging other moral claims” (Foss, 2014).

Rawls greatest influences came from his time at Princeton and his time aboard at Oxford. At Princeton he was influenced by Norman Malcolm, then at his time at Oxford worked alongside H. L. A. Hart, Isaiah Berlin, and Stuart Hampshire. These were his major influences. According to Richardson, “He wrote a series of highly influential articles in the 1950s and ’60s that helped refocus Anglo-American moral and political philosophy on substantive problems about what we ought to do. His first book, A Theory of Justice (1971), revitalized the social-contract tradition, using it to articulate and defend a detailed vision of egalitarian liberalism.” (Richardson, n.d.)

According to Foss, In today’s world Rawl’s Theory which looks at the principles of egalitarianism, toleration, consensus politics and societal fairness informs much of contemporary liberalism’s aspirations, constitutional interpretations, domestic policies, and public rhetoric. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the principles behind such laws as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, are most thoroughly argued by John Rawls. Much the same can be said of the Supreme Court’s reference to the “evolving understanding of the meaning of equality” in the 2013 same-sex marriage case, U.S. v. Windsor. Rawls’s silent influence has been immense. (Foss, 2014)

Rawls died in 2002 at the age of 81. He had a life of a lot of great successes. He was a Professor at Harvard for 30 plus years. He had so many accolades such as the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy (1999), National Humanities Medal (1999), Asteroid 16561 Rawls was also named in his memory.  In closing Wenar says, “Nevertheless, while Rawls’s vision is realistic it is also utopian. To believe that Rawls’s vision is possible is to believe that individuals are not merely selfish or amoral, and that international relations can be more than a contest for power, wealth, and glory. Affirming the possibility of a just and peaceful future can inoculate against a resignation or cynicism that might otherwise seem inevitable. “By showing how the social world may realize the features of a realistic utopia, political philosophy provides a long-term goal of political endeavor, and in working toward it gives meaning to what we can do today” (LP, 128).” (Wenar, 2008)

 

Reference Page

Duignan, B. (2014). John Rawls | biography – American philosopher. Retrieved  from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/492350/John-Rawls

Foss, J.C. (2014,). John Rawls: Theorist of Modern Liberalism. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/08/john-rawls-theorist-of-modern-liberalism\

Richardson, H. (n.d.). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/rawls/

Wenar, Leif. (2008). John Rawls. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rawls/#LifWor

 #Mangrum

Deni Elliott

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Deni Elliott is a modern day philosopher, who currently teaches at The University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. She started by getting her bachelors degree in Communication from the University of Maryland. She then received her Masters at Wayne State University for Philosophy, to later go on to get her doctorate from Harvard University in the Philosophy in Education.

As an ethicist, Deni Elliott described the difference between ethics and morality. She said “Ethics begins when elements of a moral system conflict.” Making it clear that ethics’ point is to strive to provide complete accounts of what we should do and also why we should do it. Elliott gave an example of being able to choose your neighbor, you ask two different applicants about their opinion on murder. One responds (Jones) that he will not kill someone because the fear he will be put in prison, while the other (Smith) responds with how much he values life. According to Elliott:

It takes little reflection for most people to decide that they prefer Smith to Jones as a neighbor. There is always a chance that Jones might come up with a way to murder a noisy neighbor without getting caught. Smith, on the other hand, appears to be motivated by an internal principle rather than fear of external consequences (plaisance, 2014, 20).

Elliott’s also focuses on the levels of moral development. Level one is Orientation to an individual survival, Level two is self-sacrifice, and level three is nonviolence. She uses a metaphor to explain the works for Gilligan and Kohlberg saying that there are a couple ways that humans can develop morality. One can use “a highway map” and the other could use “a secondary road map” but if you combine that they show a more compete understand of the “territory” as a whole.

Deni Elliott’s views on ethics can be useful and are useful in today’s world in many ways. She has focuses a good amount of her writing on journalism. She discusses the ethical standards. There are certain rule and guidelines that these professionals need to follow in order for their jobs to run smoothly. There is the code of ethics for this job and even though someone may have a different moral standing on a matter, the code of ethics is supposed to overrule. One example would be the Kevin Carter photo. He was a photojournalist who took this picture of a Sudanese child that was crouched down in the desert being stalked by a vulture. Ethically he was not supposed to save this child and take her out of South Africa, because that was not what he was there to do. Even if his morals were pointing to save this child, he could not, if that child was not in immediate danger then he really was not supposed to do anything about it. Deni Elliott’s morals and ethics show how Carter had a moral conflict. Most people would want to save that child in a third world country, in fact that was the big question was he won the Pulitzer Prize, which he did explain in the interview. Elliott’s difference between morality and ethics happen all the time in the communication field, that is one of the reasons the code is in place.

 References

Elliot, D. (2015). Journalism ethics. Ethics, Science, Technology, and Engineering: A Global Resource. Ed. J. Britt Holbrook. Vol. 2. 2Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference p629-634.

Elliot, D. A collection of Deni Elliott’s work on ethics. Retrieved from http://www.denielliott.com

Image untitled. Deni Elliott. Retrieved 12 February 2015 from http://www.denielliott.com

Plaisance, P.L. (2014). Media and ethics: Key principles for responsible practice (2nd ed.). Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.

Wright, K. (2014). Should journalists be virtuous? Mainstream news, complex media organizations and the work of Nick Couldry. Journalism, 15(3). DOI: 10.1177/1464884913483078

#George