Philosophy the Basics Assignment

Discussion Post Assignment Description:

1.) Please watch the TedTalk below and carefully read the excerpt from the transcript.

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2.) Please review Chapter 2 of Philosophy the Basicsand determine which ethical framework you have usedin the past to determine the right course of action in a moral dilemma.

3.) Please share the moral dilemma you have dealt withalong with the ethical framework you have used. Please provide at least two strengths and two weaknesses of your preferred ethical framework. Please use the criticisms of each framework offered in the book to assist you in identifying the weaknesses of the ethical framework you chose.

Philosophy in prison

“…You think you know right and wrong?Then can you tell me what wrong is?No, don’t just give me an example.I want to know about wrongness itself, the idea of wrong.What is that idea?What makes something wrong?How do we know that it’s wrong? Maybe you and I disagree.Maybe one of us is wrong about the wrong.Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s me — but we’re not here to trade opinions; everyone’s got an opinion.We are here for knowledge.Our enemy is thoughtlessness. This is philosophy.”

And something changes for Tony.“Could be I’m wrong. I’m tired of being wrong.I want to know what is wrong.I want to know what I know.”What Tony sees in that moment is the project of philosophy,the project that begins in wonder —what Kant called “admiration and aweat the starry sky above and the moral law within.”What can creatures like us know of such things?It is the project that always takes us back to the condition of existence —what Heidegger called “the always already there.”It is the project of questioning what we believe and why we believe it —what Socrates called “the examined life.”Socrates, a man wise enough to know that he knows nothing.Socrates died in prison,his philosophy intact.

So Tony starts doing his homework.He learns his whys and wherefores, his causes and correlations,his logic, his fallacies.Turns out, Tony’s got the philosophy muscle.His body is in prison, but his mind is free.Tony learns about the ontologically promiscuous,the epistemologically anxious,the ethically dubious, the metaphysically ridiculous.That’s Plato, Descartes, Nietzscheand Bill Clinton.

So when he gives me his final paper,in which he argues that the categorical imperative (Kantian ethics) is perhaps too uncompromisingto deal with the conflict that affects our everydayand challenges me to tell himwhether therefore we are condemned to moral failure,I say, “I don’t know.Let us think about that.”Because in that moment, there’s no mark by Tony’s name;it’s just the two of us standing there. It is not professor and convict,it is just two minds ready to do philosophy.And I say to Tony,“Let’s do this.”

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