How can we possibly be responsible for our actions
Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:
Textbook: Chapters 3, 4
Minimum of 1 scholarly source (in addition to the textbook)
Text book:
Title: The Elements of Moral Philosophy
Authors: James Rachels, Stuart Rachels
Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill Education
Publication Date: 2018-03-20
Edition: 9th
APA Citation
Rachels, S., & Rachels, J. (2019). The
elements of moral philosophy (9th ed.). Mcgraw-Hill Education.
Initial Post St. Augustine in the 5th Century held that we are free to make choices in life. This is the idea of free will. It may seem at first glance odd for a religious thinker to say that we have free will. After all, if God exists, then God created all things. God knows already what we will do. God can cause anything to occur. If we cause things to occur, that seems to be a limitation on the power of God and not make God all-powerful.
There are also religion traditions that say that we have no free will. There are some theologians in Islam who seem to suggest that is true. In order for this line of reasoning to hold true, one would need to believe free will is an illusion and that we have no control over how we live our lives, but rather that we are puppets moving and acting due to God’s will and the powers of destiny and fate. And if this then in the case, how can we possibly be responsible for our actions?
The considerations above show us to what degree our religious beliefs can shape us. For instance, someone who believes in free will may experience way more guilt than someone who believes we don’t have free will and thus aren’t responsible for the choices (and consequences) of the actions we take.
Personal struggles with religion and ethics occur in many places, including in the healthcare arena. Consider the following: You are a nurse in a hospital. A 12 year-old was brought to the hospital by an ambulance. The parents have just arrived at the hospital. This 12 year-old has lost a large amount of blood and requires a transfusion. The parents happen to be members of a religion that believes that blood transfusions are immoral. They want to remove the child from the hospital and prevent the transfusion even if it means the death of the child. You have to decide whether or not you will participate in an action that violates the will of the parents and aid in providing blood for the child. If you choose to participate, and even if you are able to legally justify it, you have to think about the distress you are creating for the parents. If you refuse to aid here, you may be subject to retaliation from the hospital. What is the moral thing for the nurse to do here?
For the initial post, address the following questions:
What would a divine command ethicist say is the moral thing to do here? Why would they say that? Do you agree with the divine command ethics? Why or why not?
Evaluate what a natural law ethicist would say is right to do. Do you agree with them? Why or why not?
Given what you said are the right things to do, what would an emotivist say about your positions and judgments? What role does subjectivity play here in determining what is ethical?
Follow-Up Post Instructions: Respond to at least one peer. Further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification.
Peer Paragraph:
Hello professor and class,
Divine command ethic is the view that morality is somehow dependent upon God (Encyclopedia of Philosophy, n.d.). This means that things which are considered wrong or unethical are wrong because they are forbidden by God. In this case, from the parent’s side, they think that God is against blood transfusion, and therefore, for them, blood transfusions are forbidden by God.
I do agree with the divine command ethic because I believe in a God, I believe there are wrong and right things, and that can be sinners, but in this case, I don’t think God is against blood transfusions.
The natural law is an ethical theory that claims that humans are born with a certain moral compass that guides behaviors (Natural Law Theory, n.d.). I think this law would say that the parents are not wrong with their decision because it says we’re born with a moral compass that guides behaviors. I don’t agree with it because I think I’m, able to make my own decisions and have free will.
Emotivism says moral statements just express our feelings, and in this case, it would say I’m probably right when I said I don’t agree with the natural law because I make my decision based on my feelings and empathy for the kid’s blood transfusion. On the other hand, subjectivity is the quality of being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions (English Dictionary, n.d.). This means that we all might have a different point of view in this case based on our feelings and opinions, but sometimes feelings don’t always mean ethical.