M2 (Horsley)

THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT: At some point in your life, I hope you have observed some of these normative theories in action.   Choose a situation from your life and describe how it applies to one of the theories you have just read about in Chapter 2 (Kant, Egoism, Utilitarianism, Good Will, Prima Facie Obligations, others, etc.). Discuss why you identified that particular situation with the stated theory. Be sure to describe the situation or example.   If you have not observed a theory in action in your life, find an example in our history and discuss how the theory applies to the situation.


There was a time, while I was still living in the lower 48’s that I had to decide between honoring the RSVP I replied yes to and giving my aunt a helping hand at the last minute. This choice that I saw myself face with is an example of Prima Facie Obligations. In one hand I had the RSVP, which was for a very good friend’s party, that I had essentially promised I would be showing up to. On the other hand I had my aunt, who watched my elderly grandparents, ask me to take over for the night because she had been called in to work. While a promise should always be kept, and I do enjoy a good party, my loyalty to my family, especially my grandparents whom I adored, lead me to make a quick and simple decision between these two obligations. I spent the night talking with my grandparents and watching old shows. My obligation to keep a promise was overridden by my obligation to be loyal to and take care of my family. While pondering on this week’s assignment it became obvious to me that this particular situation was the most glaring example of Prima Facie Obligations, and the best example, of any of the theories, that I could pull from personal experiences.

Module 1 (Horsley)

How do we develop our ethics? What are the primary sources for us to develop our ethical position?

On a personal basis we develop our ethics from environmental factors that take play in our early lives. Childhood is usually when we are taught moral decisions and right from wrong. If a child is raised by ethically upstanding parents one could assume that the child will then be ethically good as well, however, although out ethical views start being molded at a young age there are many factors that could skew a good persons ethics as they progress through life.  

The environmental factors that create the development of our ethical standings come from sources such as; family members, cultural upbringing, religious beliefs, and philosophical ideals. While family members are unlikely to change throughout developmental stages the rest of these sources are like to develop as you do.


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