Friday, January 30, 2009

My Personal Ethics

I can't say that I would side with one particular philosopher. As I look at the main points of each one, there are things I agree with and things I don't. I do believe I am more in between Aristotle and Mills.
Aristotle says that good intentions count for something and he looks for the ultimate happiness for each person. He also says that one needs to have an unchanging character, which I think is so important. It takes so long to build up a good reputation and it can be lost so easily. But, if you do as Aristotle says and live your life so you character is unchanging, then hopefully you won't ever have to lose your good name. If some hard decision comes up, having good intentions could save your reputation. Having a clear conscience and a good reputation can bring you ultimate happiness.
Mills says it is all about the consequences; the greatest good for the greatest number of people. I agree with this philosophy to an extent as well. When we were learning about Mills, I kept think of the passengers on the flight that was headed for the White House on 9/11. They were thinking not about themselves, but about what was best for so many other people. They sacrificed their lived to help so many others, which is following Mills thinking. There can be a lot of good done when you consider the consequences and act upon them. But, there is also dangers in this as well. If you focus too much on the outcome of the experience then you miss the learning that comes along the way.
I have a hard time agreeing with Kant. He says everyone should always act in what the way the university would. But, circumstances are different and there isn't always one right answer, and the right answer to one person wouldn't be to another. Each person is too different to have this philosophy work.
Each of these men had a different view on good character and ethics, but I feel that the philosophy taught by Aristotle and Mills is best applied today and to me. We all need to be looking out for those around us, but we can't forget ourselves. It is important to want to help others and to leave enough time to help ourselves find the ultimate happiness like Aristotle said.

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