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Book Review of
Contemporary Moral
IT Ethics
Yumiko Manongdo
This book review was made for the partial fulfillment of the requirement in the IT
Ethics subject in our course Information Systems.


James E. White

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This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-

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Copyright Receipts
Use Case Diagram of Existing System
Use Case Narrative of Existing System
Activity Diagram of Existing System
Use Case Diagram of Proposed System

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Egoism and Moral Scepticism
James Rachel

“No one, is it commonly believed, would have such iron strength
of mind as to stand fast in doing right or keep his hands off
other men’s goods, when he could go to the market-place and
fearlessly help himself to anything he wanted…”

Learning Expectation

• Differentiate and learn about psychological and ethical egoism

• Understand the three commonplace confusions

James Rachels’ Egoism and Moral Skepticism discusses and examines the
psychological and ethical egoism. She concludes that both theories are false and
confused. Psychological egoism states that all actions of men are self-interested,
meaning all of his actions are focused on himself and for his benefit only. While the
Ethical egoism states that all actions SHOULD be self-interested, that men have no
obligation to do other things except only their own interests. I do think Rachels is
right in criticizing and contradicting this two moral theories because in my opinion
these should not be called MORAL theories because these two states that we
humans are selfish in nature that we only act because of our interests and if we are
to act on the interest of others, it should be that it will have a benefit on us like
satisfaction, but is still considered being selfish.

One thing that caught my attention is what Rachels said in the last paragraph
of the reading, “… we may often be able to make accurate moral judgments, and
know what we ought to do, but not do it. For these ills, philosophy alone is not the
cure.” I do like Rachels writing because it really makes a lot of sense to me and it is
comprehensible than other theories. He discusses things in a logical order which
makes it easy to understand and follow. And another thing that I like about this
reading is the example, the Legend of Gyges, which is an interesting story which
has challenging moral questions. In all these readings, Rachels’ was what I
understood the most and what I could relate to.

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One thing that really sticks to my mind is the egoists that try to create a
world that would maximize his own interests by advocating altruistic principles. This
applies to some people in the government which seems to be caring, hardworking,
sympathetic, etc. they do advocate good things like a campaign against corruption
but they themselves are corrupt. This idea is clever but again is evil; it would be bad
if a person who is intelligent and good in deceiving would apply egoism in his life.
What I’ve learned from this is ethical egoism could be consistent given that you
consider the things that a person is doing as a means in achieving the end.

Integrative Questions
1. What do you think would be the reason to continue being moral if it is not on
your advantage to do so?

2. Do you believe that man is selfish in all the things that he does? Why or why

3. Is the world of the egoist, where his interests are maximized, could exist in
our world? Why or why not?

4. Do you agree with Rachels that ethical egoism is not inconsistent? Explain.

5. On the last part of the reading, Rachel states that ““… we may often be able
to make accurate moral judgments, and know what we ought to do, but not
do it. For these ills, philosophy alone is not the cure.”, what do you think
would the cure be?

Review Questions
1. Explain the legend of Gyges. What questions about morality are raised by the

The legend of Gyges is about a shepherd who was said to have found a magic
ring in a fissure opened by an earthquake and the wearer of the ring would
make its wearer invisible and thus could make him go anywhere and do
anything undetected. Gyges who found the ring, used it to gain entry to the
Royal Palace and seduced the Queen and murdered the King and seized the

Glaucon asks if there are two such rings, one given to a man of virtue and
one given to a rogue. It is obvious that the rogue will use the ring to increase
his wealth and power, and do anything he pleases without any fear of

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punishment. But the question is what does the virtuous man will do? Glaucon
suggest that the virtuous man will behave just as like the rogue because what
reason would the man have to continue being “moral” if it is clearly not to his
own advantage to do so?

2. Distinguish between psychological and ethical egoism.

Psychological egoism is the view that all men are selfish in everything that
they do, that is, that the only motive from which anyone ever acts is self-
interest. While Ethical egoism is a normative view about how men ought to

3. Rachels discusses to arguments for psychological egoism. What are these

arguments, and how does he reply to them?

The first argument for psychological egoism is: “if we describe one person’s
action as selfish, and another person’s action as unselfish, we are overlooking
the crucial fact that in both cases, assuming that the action is done
voluntarily, the agent is merely doing what he most wants to do. If Smith
stays behind to help his friend, that only shows that he wanted to help his
friend more than he wanted to go to the country. And why should he be
praised for his ‘unselfishness’ when he is doing what he most wants to do?
So, since Smith is only doing what he most wants to do, he cannot be said to
be acting unselfishly”

Rachels stated that this argument is so bad that it would not deserve to be
taken seriously. Smith is not acting selfishly because if he wants to do
something that will help his friend and forgoing his own enjoyment, which is
what is making him unselfish. It does not necessarily follow that if you are
acting on your wants, you are acting selfishly; it depends on what is it that
you want. Selfishness is if you only want your own good and does not care
anything about others.

The second argument is “Since the so-called unselfish actions always produce
a sense of self-satisfaction in the agent, and since this sense of satisfaction is
a pleasant state of consciousness, it follows that the point of the action is
really to achieve a pleasant state of consciousness, rather than to bring about

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any good for others. Therefore the action is ‘unselfish’ only at a superficial
level of analysis. Smith will feel much better with himself for having stayed to
help his friend – if he had gone to the country, he would have felt terrible
about it – and that is the real point of the action.”

Rachels also says that this argument suffers from defects similar to the first
one. He states that why should we think that someone who merely derives
satisfaction from helping others makes him selfish? And isn’t it that an
unselfish man is the one who derives satisfaction from helping others, and
the selfish one does not?

4. What three commonplace confusions does Rachels detect in the thesis of

psychological egoism?

First is the confusion of selfishness with self-interest. Selfish behaviour is

behaviour that ignores the interest of others, in circumstances in which their
interests ought not to be ignored. While self-interest is taking care of yourself
properly without sacrificing the interests of others, an example of which
would be brushing your teeth, obeying the law, etc.

Second is the assumption that every action is done either from self-interest or
from other-regarding motives. The egoist concludes that genuine altruism
does not exist and all actions must be done from self-interest.

Third is the common but false assumption that a concern for one’s own
welfare is incompatible with any genuine concern for the welfare of others.
Thus, since it is obvious that everyone (or very nearly everyone) does desire
his own well-being, it might be thought that no one can really be concerned
with others.

5. State the argument for saying that ethical egoism is inconsistent. Why
doesn’t Rachels accept this argument?

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“Ethical egoism is at the bottom inconsistent because it cannot be
universalized”. Rachels does not accept this argument because he states that
there is a way where ethical egoism could be maintained consistently. He
says that if someone would adopt this idealism, that person would want other
people to be altruists, and would advocate altruistic principles. This would not
be inconsistent, according to Rachels, because it would be perfectly
consistent with the person’s goal of creating a world in which his own
interests are maximized. This would mean that the person would be deceitful
and would pretend to accept the altruistic principles. And to quote Rachels,
“He advocates one thing, but does another. Surely that’s inconsistent. But it
is not; for what he advocates and what he does are both calculated as means
to an end; and as such, he is dong what is rationally required in each case.”

6. According to Rachels, why shouldn’t we hurt others, and why should we help
others? How can the egoist reply?

Rachel’s answer to these questions are, we should not hurt other people
because other people would be hurt, and we should help others because
others would be benefited. This point is that the welfare of human beings is
something that most of us value for its own sake, and not merely for the sake
of something else. The egoist would surely be unhappy, he will protest that
we may accept this as a reason, but he does not.

Discussion Questions
1. Has Rachels answered the question raised by Glaucon, “Why be moral” If so,
what exactly is his answer?

Being moral is to respect the rights and interest of others, and if other people
are also moral, then living in that society could you live a happy and secure
life. And to quote Rachels, “we may often be able to make accurate moral
judgments, and know what we ought to do, but not do it. For these ills,
philosophy alone is not the cure.”

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2. Are genuine egoists rare, as Rachel claims? Is it a fact that most people care
about others, even people they don’t know?

Genuine egoists are rare because they don’t really care about others, even
their family members. I agree with Rachels that a man without sympathy
could hardly be called a man at all. I also believe that all people are born
naturally good, which means that they do care about others even if they
don’t know them. Humans are rational beings, who could distinguish good
from evil not like animals. I don’t think that there would be a sane person who
would ignore a person who is in need or in danger.

3. Suppose we define ethical altruism as the view that one should always act for
the benefit of others and never in one’s own self-interest. Is such a view
immoral or not?

In my opinion, this view is immoral because first of all, you should value
yourself and take care of it because it does always mean that if you have
done good things to other people, they would return the favor to you. I agree
with the saying “you should love yourself before you love others”. One should
act for his own self-interest given that the interests of others are not
suppressed by it.

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Religion, Morality and Conscience
John Arthur

“… gods love holiness because it is holy: and it is not holy because they love it”

Learning Expectation
• Learn the real definition of morality and how does it affect our beliefs

• The importance of morality in respect to religion and vice-versa.

John Arthur discusses morality and rejects the notion and teaching that
morality depends on religion. This reading could be offending to some religious
people because it argues with the divine command theory which states that without
God, there would be no morality. I am interested in these kinds of things because
they bring about controversies and things that are not normally discussed in school
or in public. Arthur says that it seems like God discovered morality because morality
could exist and is not dependent on religion. This issue was even discussed in
earlier times when Socrates asked Euthyphro, what is it that makes holiness a
virtue? And Euthyphro said that it is just whatever all the gods love which Socrates
contradicts and says that holiness is not what is pleasing to the gods, and what is
pleasing to the gods is not holy as you say.

Arthur discussed the topic sufficiently and explained it very clearly with some
interesting examples like that of Euthyphro and Socrates. But Arthur did not really
refute the divine command theory; he just stated that morality will still be under
God’s control since God made our environment. But his main point in this reading is
that morality is social because it cannot exist without others and emphasized
Dewey’s point that moral education should not only be possible but, essential.
Overall, Arthur did not really condemn religion in this reading, he is just stating the
difference between them and their correct relationship in which popular moral
beliefs mixes it up.

I think the most important thing that I’ve learned from this reading is that
morality is Social, meaning it depends on our interactions with others, on how we

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occupy the position of others. As Arthur said, morality cannot exist without others.
I’ve only come across this kind of idea about morality in this reading.

Integrative Questions
1. Do you agree with Arthur that morality is independent of religion and is it is

2. Is it true that people do not think or religion doesn’t even cross their minds
when making a decision?

3. Do you think religion is important if you are morally educated?

4. What do you think would happen if religion is considered as the moral basis?

5. What is your reaction regarding Arthur’s statement that God discovers

morality rather than inventing it?

Review Questions
1. According to Arthur, how are morality and religion different?

Morality is to evaluate the behavior of others and to feel guilt at certain

actions when we perform them, while Religion is the beliefs in supernatural
powers that created and perhaps also control nature, the tendency to worship
and pray to those supernatural forces or beings, and the presence of
organizational structures and authoritative texts.

2. Why isn’t religion necessary for moral motivation?

Religion isn’t necessary for moral motivation because religious motives are
far from the only ones people have. The decision to do the right thing
depends on many reasons, and many people don’t give much thought to
religion when making a moral decision

3. Why isn’t religion necessary as a source of moral knowledge?

Religion isn’t necessary as a source of moral knowledge because morality

exists even without religion and moral knowledge could be achieved through
other things not only through the teachings of a religion

4. What is the divine command theory? Why does Arthur reject this theory?

Divine command theory states that religion is necessary for morality because
without Go there could be no right or wrong, God, in other words, provides
the foundation or bedrock on which morality is grounded. Arthur rejects this
theory because he believes that morality is not invented by God, rather God

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discovers it. He also states that morality depends in part on how we reason,
what we desire and need, and the circumstances in which we find ourselves,
then morality will still be under God’s control since God could have
constructed us or our environment very differently

5. According to Arthur, how are morality and religion connected?

According to Arthur, religion has historical influence in the development of

morality as well on politics and law, and morality has also influenced religion.
Morality could also influence how people interpret the Bible for example.

6. Dewey says that morality is social. What does this mean, according to

Arthur has three reasons on why morality is social, first, is the existence of
morality assumes that we possess a socially acquired language within which
we think about our choices and which alternatives we ought to follow.
Second, morality is social in that it governs relationships among people,
defining our responsibilities to others and theirs to us. Third, morality is social
in the sense that we are, in fact, subject to criticism by others for our actions.
And Dewey’s reason which is we reject our private, subjective perspective of
others, envisioning how they might respond to various choices we make.
Morality cannot exist without the broader, social perspective introduced by
others, and this social nature ties it, in that way, with education and with
public discussion, both actual and imagined.

Discussion Questions
1. Has Arthur refuted the divine command theory? If not, how can it be

Arthur has refuted the divine command theory because he stated that to
adopt the divine command theory therefore commits its advocate to the
seemingly absurd position that even the greatest atrocities might be not only
acceptable but morally required if God were to command them.

2. If morality is social, as Dewey says, then how can we have any obligations to
nonhuman animals?

Our obligations to nonhuman animals rests on sympathy and compassion, we

should not harm animals not because other people would disapprove of it or
the animal itself would disapprove, but we should not hurt them because they
would be hurt. We should know better because we are humans, we are able
to distinguish the right from wrong and that’s what makes us different from
any other animals.

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3. What does Dewey mean by moral education? Does a college ethics class
count as a moral education?

Dewey defines moral education as training and moral thinking of putting

ourselves onto other people’s position, listening to others, reading what
about others think and do, and reflecting within ourselves about our actions
and whether we could defend them to others. A college ethics class could be
counted as a moral education because we could read and study about moral
theories which are about what other people think and their reactions to the
existing theories.

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Master– and Slave-Morality
Friedrich Nietzsche


“The noble type of man separates himself the beings in whom the opposite of this
exalted, proud disposition displays itself: he despises them.”

Learning Expectation
1. How a society could function if it follows the Master- and Slave-Morality.

2. What is the moral implication of this theory?

3. How does the Master- and Slave-Morality works.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s Master- and Slave-Morality states that a healthy society
should allow the “superior beings” to rule and to exploit the inferior. He describes
the “superior beings” as the one who follows the “master-morality” which
emphasizes power, strength, egoism and freedom. And an inferior being follows the
“slave-morality” which calls for weakness, submission, sympathy and love. First of
all, I would say that Nietzsche’s concept of freedom is mislead because the right
meaning of freedom is doing what is right without violating the freedom of other
people. I think Nietzsche’s understanding of freedom is the same as the common
belief of people that it is doing what you want without control and restrictions which
isn’t really right.

I do not like Nietzsche’s idea at all, for me it really violates morality in every
way. And it seems that his works, like the Will to Power inspired Adolf Hitler to form
Nazism. As I’ve understood, the Will to Power states that you should take advantage
of your life to gain as much power as you can, and being alive gives you that
opportunity. I think that this inspired Adolf Hitler to be the leader of the Nazis; he
took advantage of the situation when Germany was just arising from the Great
Depression. Nietzsche’s idea of the “superior beings” was the Aryans that the Nazis
considered to be former gods that are lost, and are pure bloods that are higher than
any other race. And the Jews to be the “slaves” that are to be exploited by them.

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I learned that in Master- and Slave-Morality, what are good to them are the
noble ones and the bad is the despicable ones, according to Nietzsche, they are the
cowards, the timid, the insignificant and those thinking merely of narrow utility, also
the distrusted.

Integrative Questions
1. Do you think Nietzsche’s idea is good or bad?

2. Is Master- and Slave-Morality one of the causes of the rise of the Feminism

3. If the inferior ones are the weak, submissive, with sympathy and love, isn’t this
theory pertaining to females?

4. Is it morally right for the persons who follow the “master-morality” to exploit
others who follow the “slave-morality”?

5. Why do you think Nietzsche values the noble type of man and even calls him a
“creator of values”?

Review Questions
1. How does Nietzsche characterize a good and healthy society?

A good and healthy society according to Nietzsche is that it should not regard
itself as a function either of the kingship or the commonwealth but the
significance and highest justification thereof – that it should therefore accept
with a good conscience the sacrifice of a legion of individuals, who, for its
sake, must be suppressed and reduced to imperfect men, to salves and
instruments. It fundamental belief must be precisely that society is not
allowed to exist for its own sake, but only as a foundation and scaffolding, by
means of which a select class of beings may be able to elevate themselves to
their higher duties, and in general to a higher existence.

2. What is Nietzsche’s view of injury, violence, and exploitation?

Nietzsche’s view of injury, violence, and exploitation is to refrain from it; it

would be a will to the denial to life, a principle of dissolution and decay.
Exploitation does not belong to a depraved, or imperfect and primitive
society: it belongs to the nature of the living being as a primary organic

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3. Distinguish between master-morality and slave-morality

Master-morality emphasizes power, strength, egoism, and freedom while

salve-morality is weakness, submission, sympathy and love

4. Explain the Will to Power

The Will to Power is life. It will endeavor to grow, to gain ground, attract to
itself and acquire ascendancy.

Discussion Question
1. Some people view Nietzsche’s writings as harmful and even dangerous. For
example, some have charged Nietzsche with inspiring Nazism. Are these
charges justified or not? Why or why not?

In my opinion, Nietzsche’s writings could be harmful and dangerous if a

person would make it as his ideology and would apply it to his life. Like in
ancient Greece, their republic was tranquil and successful because of the
presence of slaves. I do think that Nietzsche’s writing somehow inspired
Nazism because of the master and slave morality in which the Aryans are the
superior race and others are impure and inferior. And as Nietzsche’s says, to
live is a Will to Power and the creator of values, which Hitler applied to

2. What does it mean to be “a creator of values”?

A creator of values is a noble type of man that regards himself as a

determiner of values; he does not require to be approved of; he passes the
judgment; he knows that it is he himself only who confers honors on things;
he honors whatever he recognizes in himself; such morality is self-

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Trying Out One’s New Sword
Mary Midgley

“Morally as well as physically, there is only one world, and we all have to live in it.”

Learning Expectation
1. Understand the concept of moral isolationism

2. Why is it considered as a doctrine of immoralism


Mary Midgley’s reading, Trying Out One’s New Sword, is titled as such
because it was based from the classical Japanese tradition of ‘tsujigiri’ which means
“to try out one’s new sword on a chance wayfarer”. In this article, Midgley discusses
and attacks moral isolationism which is the anthropologists’ view that a culture
could not be judged if you do not understand it.

Midgley merely states that moral isolationism is unreal because even the
most remote tribe’s culture is formed out of many streams. We could be able to
relate to these cultures in a way or the other because we too have our own culture.
The anthropologists’ basis for the moral isolationism is the isolated tribes which
they chose to study and observe.

What I like about Midgley’s attack is that she really thinks that there should
not be anything that could not be morally criticized because this would mean that
moral reasoning is ignored and that is what immoralism is all about. She even
categorized Nietzsche as one of the immoralists and compared him to smugglers in
how immoralists put moralizing out of business. I think that other cultures should be
studied beforehand when it is criticized because this would lead to misconceptions
and wrong prejudices. And as a moral practice, we should be putting ourselves onto
others’ shoes before we could even judge them. Which could mean that the best
way to judge a culture is when you are part of that culture itself because there are
certain things that could not be understood and appreciated by others?

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I learned the term immoralism which is according to Midgley is a special sect

of moralists that put moralizing out of business. But I find this definition to be funny
because how moralists could be putting moralism out of business; I think they
should be called immoralists. Another thing that I learned is the meaning of moral
isolationism, I think this theory is somewhat right, but should be modified if it were
to be accepted. I agree that you cannot judge a thing you don’t know because you
don’t have any basis for criticism.

Review Questions
1. What is “moral isolationism”?

Moral isolationism is the view of anthropologists and others that we cannot

criticize cultures that we do not understand.

2. Explain the Japanese custom of tsujigiri. What questions does Midgley ask
about this custom?

Tsujigiri is a Japanese customs wherein a samurai sword had to be tried out

because if it was to work properly, it had to slice through someone at a single
blow, from the shoulder to the opposite flank. Otherwise, the warrior bungled
his stroke. This could injure his honor, offend his ancestors, and even let
down his emperor. So tests were needed, and wayfarers had to be expended.
Any wayfarer would do – provided, of course, that he was no another

3. What is wrong with moral isolationism, according to Midgley

According to Midgley, moral isolationism is essentially a doctrine of

immoralism because it forbids any moral reasoning. Furthermore, it falsely
assumes that cultures are separate and unmixed, whereas most cultures are
in fact formed out of many influences. Moral isolationism forbids us to form
any opinions on these matters. Its ground for doing so is that we don’t
understand them

4. What does Midgley think is the basis for criticizing other cultures?

Moral isolationism would lay down a general ban on moral reasoning.

Essentially, this is the program of immoralism, and it carries a distressing
logical difficulty. The power of moral judgment is a necessity. When we judge
something to be bad or good, better or worse than something else, we are
taking it as an example to aim at or avoid.

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Discussion Questions
1. Midgley says that Nietzsche is an immoralist. Is that an accurate and fair
assessment of Nietzsche? Why or why not?

I think it is a fair and accurate assessment of Nietzsche because as what

morality is about, is to care about the interest of others when you ought to
and not to make your self-interest on top of others and make yourself king-
like at the expense of others. Nietzsche’s theory inspires discrimination and
selfishness which is really immoral.

2. Do you agree with Midgley’s claim that the idea of separate and unmixed
cultures is unreal? Explain your answer.

I believe Midgley’s claim that separate and unmixed cultures is unreal

because as Midgley stated, all cultures are formed out of many streams.
Wherever you go, cultures always have similarities because it is also made by

John Stuart Mill

“A being of higher faculties requires more to make him happy, is
capable probably of more acute suffering, and certainly
accessible to it at more points, than one of an inferior type; but
in spite of these liabilities, he can never really wish to sink into
what he feels to be a lower grade of existence”

Learning Expectation
• To learn what is Utilitarianism

• And how was it justified

John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism portrays how some of us act in our world
today. With considering happiness as good and pain as bad, people tend to act on
what makes them happy regardless if it is morally wrong. It is somehow like the
democratic kind of government which considers the decision of the majority in
electing a president; it is much like Utilitarianism because it chooses what causes
the greater happiness which in this case is in electing a president. But what makes

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me question Utilitarianism is what it states that happiness is the absence of pain, I
think this is not true in most situations because imagine a day wherein you are not
doing something, which leaves you to become bored, is boredom considered as
being happy or being in pain? In my opinion it is neither because there are some
situations wherein a person is neither happy nor in pain. Although this theory of Mill
is a nice thing to have as a moral standard in our world, imagine considering the
happiness of the majority which happens to include you, I think it is a pleasant
position to be in, but still there are people who have their interests negated from
the majority, we still have to consider them and the biggest flaw of this theory is not
everything that makes you happy is good and not all pain is bad.

In reading Mill’s work, it is also hard to understand if you haven’t read the
other theories first. I suggest that readers should first read Utilitarianism as to get
its basic idea and then read the other theories and to read Utilitarianism again to
better have a grasp of the concept. This is what I’ve done because I don’t really
understand the whole concept of Utilitarianism the first time I’ve read it.

I’ve learned what does Utilitarianism means and how was it defended by Mill
in a series of examples.

Integrative Questions
1. Do you think that Utilitarianism is manifested in our daily actions?

2. Do you agree with the concept of Utilitarianism?

3. Isn’t it that some person derives pleasure from pain? Do you think that this
contradicts the theory of Utilitarianism?

4. Is it really right to choose the happiness of the majority over the happiness of
one person?

5. In your opinion, is happiness really the absence of pain? Then how about
doing nothing, is it considered happiness or pain?

Review Questions
1. State and explain the Principle of Utility. Show how it could be used to justify
actions that are conventionally viewed as wrong, such as lying and stealing.

The principle of utility states that “actions that are right in proportion as they
tend to produce happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of
happiness”. This principle means that an action that would produce greater
happiness than unhappiness is the right thing to do, even if it is morally

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wrong, and that an action that would cause greater unhappiness compared to
happiness is wrong. We could apply this principle in justifying actions that are
wrong such as lying and stealing. In lying, it could be considered good when
for example a person lies to someone for the purpose of going on a vacation
with his friends, this action would be considered the right thing to do because
it would result in greater happiness than the unhappiness that the action
brought about to the other person who is being lied to. In stealing, one good
example is Robin Hood, he steals from the rich to give to the poor, and this
could be justified as right because what he stole would give happiness to a
lot of poor people and unhappiness to the one who he stole from.

2. How does Mill reply to the objection that Epicureanism is a doctrine worthy
only of swine?

Mill objects that Epicureanism is derived from utilitarianism because if the

source of pleasure of a swine is the same with human beings, then human
beings are degraded because of the comparison of what satisfies them.
Human beings have elevated faculties than animals, which mean that what is
good enough for the beasts should not be satisfying to human beings.

3. How does Mill distinguish between higher and lower pleasures?

The higher pleasure is one from the two pleasures which was preferred by
most people who experienced both pleasures, while the lower pleasure is the
one which was not preferred. This preference is based on the quality of the
pleasure and not on the quantity.

4. According to Mill, whose happiness must be considered?

According to Mill, all person’s happiness must be considered, and not only of
an individual.

5. Carefully reconstruct Mill’s proof of the principle of Utility.

Mill states that each person desires his own happiness, in the principle of
Utility, happiness is considered good that each person’s happiness is a good
to himself, and that the general happiness is good to the majority of all

Discussion Questions
1. Is happiness nothing more than pleasure, and the absence of pain? What do
you think?

In my opinion, happiness is not just pleasure and the absence of pain,

happiness for me is being content with what you have and what you are as a

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person. There are such scenarios that a person is happy even at the presence
of pain, so I don’t agree with the statement above.

2. Does Mill convince you that the so-called higher pleasures are better than the
lower ones? What about the person of experience who prefers the lower
pleasures over the higher ones?

I think that the higher pleasures are not better than the lower ones because
pleasure depends on what a person consider as pleasurable. For example, a
person considers foot-massage pleasurable than swimming in a beach, then
that is the higher pleasure for that person. This could differ from one person
to another depending on their preference, and I think that there are persons
who rates two pleasures equally.

3. Mill says, “In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we read the complete spirit
of the ethics of utility.”Is this true or not?

I think what Mill said is true because utilitarianism is concerned about the
happiness of the majority. The concept that a person would prefer to be
happy constitutes to this statement, the person would do things that would
make others happy so that others would do things to him that would make
him happy too.

4. Many commentators have thought that Mill’s proof of the Principle of Utility is
defective. Do you agree? If so, then what mistake or mistakes does he make?
Is there any way to reformulate the proof so that it is not defective?

I think that Mill’s proof of utility is defective because he states that happiness
is the one that is desired by people, not the means. In my opinion, people
does things because of some reason but not because it would bring them
happiness. For example, a person scratched his head, the reason why he
scratched his head is to relieve his uneasiness, and he does not scratch his
head to become happy, he scratched his head to relieve the discomfort. I
think that it happiness is a by-product of doing something that a person likes,
not as an end or a reason for doing it.

The Debate over Utilitarianism

James Rachels

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“Thus in some instances we will not treat everyone alike, because
people are not just members of an undifferentiated crowd.
Instead, they are individuals who, by their own choices, show
themselves to deserve different kinds of responses…”

Learning Expectation
1. Know what the objections of Rachels on utilitarianism are

2. And what are the replies given by the defenders of utilitarianism

This reading is again from James Rachel, he summed up utilitarianism in three
propositions: first is that, it is the consequence that determines the judgment of the
action. Second is the amount of happiness and unhappiness is the basis in
assessing consequences. And third is everyone’s happiness is equally important.
Rachel discusses his own view about how utilitarianism is right in considering
consequences of actions, but is incorrect in ignoring other moral considerations.

Rachel also discusses Hedonism, which states that happiness is the ultimate
good and therefore unhappiness is the ultimate evil. He considers it as a
misunderstanding of happiness because according to him, ”Happiness is not
something that is recognized as good and sought for its own sake with other things
appreciated only as means of bringing it about. Instead happiness is a response we
have to the attainment of things that we recognize as goods, independently and in
their own right.” I think that there is not anything that is much clearer and sensible
than his definition of happiness.

He also has some arguments about utilitarianism involving justice, rights and
backward-looking reasons or promises. There are some considerations in
utilitarianism that violates these three like in justice, using the example in the
reading, it is right for a man to bear false witness to an innocent man to stop the
riot because it would create more happiness than unhappiness which really violates
the concept of justice, which is treating another person fairly. This is just an
example on how Rachels discuss issues and arguments regarding morality.

I learned that there are two kinds of utilitarianism, the act- and rule-utilitarianism.
The difference between these is that the act-utilitarianism is the original concept of

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utilitarianism and is just named as such, while the rule-utilitarianism is a watered
down version of utilitarianism that gives rule a greater importance than they merit.

Integrative Questions
1. Do you think we are living in a hedonistic or a utilitarian lifestyle? Why?

2. Imagine our world is hedonistic, would everyone be happy? Why or why not?

3. Why do Rachels think that our moral common sense is not necessarily reliable?

4. What do you think is a better version of utilitarianism? The act- or the rule-

5. Do you agree that utilitarianism comes into conflict with common sense?

Review Questions
1. Rachel says that classical utilitarianism can be summed up in three
propositions. What are they?

First, actions are to be judged right or wrong solely in virtue of their

consequences. Nothing else matters. Right actions are, simply, those that
have the best consequences.

Second, in assessing consequences, the only thing that matters is the

amount of happiness or unhappiness that is caused. Everything else is
irrelevant. Thus right actions are those that produce the greatest balance
of happiness and unhappiness.

Third, in calculating the happiness or unhappiness that will be caused, no

one’s happiness is to be counted as more important than anyone else’s.
Each person’s welfare is equally important. As Mill put in his Utilitarianism

2. Explain the problem with hedonism. How do defenders of utilitarianism

respond to this problem?

Hedonism misunderstands the nature of happiness. Happiness is not

something that is recognized as good and sought for its own sake, with
other things appreciated only as means of bringing it about. Instead
happiness is a response we have to the attainment of things that we
recognize as goods, independently and in their own right. The defenders
of utilitarianism sought a way to formulate their view without assuming a
hedonistic account for good and evil. One example is G.E. Moore, he tried
to compile a short lists of things that could be regarded as good things

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themselves and suggested that there are three obvious intrinsic goods –
pleasure, friendship and aesthetic enjoyment.

3. What are the objections about justice, rights, and promises?

In justice, it requires that we treat people fairly, according to their

individual needs and merits. But utilitarianism suggests that in the case
given, the best consequences would be achieved by lying; therefore
according to utilitarianism, lying is the thing to do, and this would violate

In rights, Utilitarianism is at odds with the idea that people have rights
that may not be trampled on merely because on anticipates good results.
In the case given, the utilitarian conclusion would be that their actions
were morally right because of the favourable balance of happiness over
unhappiness. What utilitarianism considers violates Ms. York’s right to
privacy and her legal rights.

And in promises, given a scenario in the reading, utilitarianism suggests

that it is right if you broke your promise because getting your work done
would not outweigh the inconvenience to your friend, but this is an
obligation and a promise to a friend that you should be doing.
Utilitarianism, which says that consequences are the only things that
matter, seems mistaken.

4. Distinguish between rule- and act-utilitarianism. How does rule-

utilitarianism reply to the objections?

Rule-utilitarianism is a modification and a new version of utilitarianism

which states that rules will be established by reference to the principle,
and individual acts will then be judged right or wrong by reference to the
rules. While the original theory which is now commonly called act-
utilitarianism implies that each individual action is to be evaluated by
reference to its own particular consequences. To put it in another way,
Rule-utilitarianism is an unnecessarily watered-down version of the theory,
which gives rule a greater importance than they merit. Act-utilitarianism
however is recognized to be a radical doctrine which implies that many of
our ordinary moral feelings may be mistaken.

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5. What is the third line of defence?

The third line of defence was from a small group of contemporary

utilitarians. As J.J.C. Smart published “Admittedly utilitarianism does not
have consequences which are incomparable with the common moral
consciousness, but I tended to take the view ‘so much worse for the
common moral consciousness.’ That is, was inclined to reject the common
methodology of testing general ethical principles by seeing how they
square with our feelings in particular instances.” This response essentially
means according to Rachels as”So what?”

Discussion Questions

1. Smart’s defence of utilitarianism is to reject common moral beliefs when they

conflict with utilitarianism. Is this acceptable to you or not? Explain your

I think this is acceptable to me because we shouldn’t always trust our moral

common sense because it is not necessarily reliable as Rachel implies. It may
incorporate various rational elements, including prejudices absorbed from our
parents, our religion, and the general culture. Common moral beliefs could be
rejected and could be replaced by moral theories which have much more
basis and foundation than beliefs.

2. A utilitarian is supposed to give moral consideration to all concerned. Who

must be considered? What about nonhuman animals? How about lakes and

In my opinion, those who must be considered are beings that could

experience happiness. Nonhuman animals could not be considered because
they don’t feel happiness, and even if they could we don’t know how to
identify it. And also in the case of lakes and streams, these are not even
beings, and they don’t even express pain or happiness so they couldn’t
possibly be considered to be a utilitarian.

3. Rachels claims that merit should be given moral consideration independent

of utility. Do you agree?

I agree with Rachels’ claim because people are not just members of an
undifferentiated crowd. Instead they are individuals who, by their own
choices, show themselves to deserve different kinds of responses as Rachel

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also says. Merit should be given moral consideration independent of utility
because people should be treated as what they deserve to be treated based
on the way they behave.

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The Categorical Imperative
Immanuel Kant

“The will is conceived as a power of determining oneself to
action in accordance with the idea of certain laws. And such
power can be found only in rational beings.”

Learning Expectation
• To learn what is the Categorical Imperative

• How can it be applied to our lives

• How does it differ from other theories presented

First of all, I was challenged by Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative
because you need to read it several times over before you could comprehend what
it really means. Given that it was originally in German, I think there are some things
that are difficult to explain in English that was in German. But all the same this
reading did interest me and made me think critically and relate this topic to my
previous lessons. If this moral theory is read or just scanned, the reader could easily
be confused and mislead because this reading should be read from the first page to
the last because there are some topics that needs to be understood before the
reader could understand the theory is really all about.

The example on this reading aid in understanding the theory and relates it to
its readers. Like in making promises or in suicide decisions, but still I am baffled in
the second version of the categorical imperative because of the “means” and
“ends” language which confuses me. But in whole, this reading contributed to my
knowledge and understanding of other topics in which this was related.

I learned that categorical imperative theory implies that the right thing to do
should always be in accordance with the universal law. And that goodwill is good in
itself and is not good based on the results.

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Integrative Questions
1. Can you apply the Categorical Imperative in your decisions?

2. If you were to apply this theory to your decisions, do you think that the
consequence of it would be good or would it be bad?

3. What do you mean by “means” and “ends”

4. What are some examples of goodwill if there are any?

5. Do you think that there are people who apply this theory in their life?

Review Questions
1. Explain Kant’s account of the good will

Immanuel Kant states that a goodwill a thing that is considered good without
qualification. It is not good because of its effects and outcomes; rather it is
good in itself.

2. Distinguish between hypothetical and categorical imperatives

The hypothetical imperative is a maxim that does not conform with the
universal law, while the categorical imperative conforms with the universal
law which means that a person’s maxim should be the maxim of all others
too if they were in that same situation.

3. State the first formulation of the categorical imperative (using the notion of
the universal law), and explain how Kant uses this rule to derive some
specific duties toward self and others

The first formulation of the categorical imperative is that if a person decides

on something, it should be in accordance with the universal law. An example
is when a person is about to commit suicide, this maxim is not in line with the
universal law because it contradicts itself and does not fulfil the duty towards
oneself. Another example is making promises to others in which you would
not keep; this maxim also is not in line with the universal law because it also

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contradicts itself, promising something that you wouldn’t keep does not count
as a promise.

4. State the second version of the categorical imperative (using the language of
means and end) and explain it.

The second version of the categorical imperative is that the end justifies the
means, that human beings could not be used as a means because they are
rational beings which has a will of their own and does not depend on nature.

Discussion Questions
1. Are the two versions of the categorical imperative just different expressions
of one basic rule, or are they two different rules? Defend your view.

I think that the two versions of the categorical imperative are two different
rules because in the first categorical imperative, it states that the maxim of a
person should be in accordance with the universal law, while in the second
version, it states that we should treat another person or rational being not as
a means but as an end.

2. Kant claims that an action that is not done from the motive of duty has no
moral worth. Do you agree or not? If not, give some counterexamples.

I don’t agree with Kant’s notion of an action that is not done from the
motive of duty and is acted upon other things has no moral worth. For me it
does not necessarily mean that if you do things based on the motive of duty,
it already has a moral worth. For example, helping the poor out of one’s
goodwill or kindness, it is not motivated by duty, the person does not think
about his duty to others, rather he thinks about the well being and the
interests of others. In my opinion, this deed also deserves some moral worth
because of what the person did was from his heart and not only as a
fulfilment or to finish his duty to others.

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3. Some commentators think that the categorical imperative (particularly the
first formulation) can be used to justify non-moral or immoral actions. Is this
a good criticism?

In my opinion this is a good criticism because categorical imperative is based

on the universal law on whether other persons would do the same thing if
they are on the same situation. The decision of the majority is not always
correct, because you could justify immoral actions just because the majority
of people would do the same thing despite the fact that it is immoral.

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Happiness and Virtue

“... for it is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in
each class of things just so as far as the nature of the subject

Learning Expectation
• To learn what does Aristotle mean by Happiness and Virtue

• How does Aristotle define Happiness and Virtue in contrast with other

Aristotle’s Happiness and Virtue was made even before all the theorists in the
book were born, but for me, Aristotle’s theory was the most appealing but is the
most difficult to apply because it is hard to find a mean in a situation and it varies
from one person to the other. This concept was also demonstrated in Buddhism
wherein they follow the middle way which is neither a defect nor a deficiency in
something. For me, this theory makes a lot of sense because too much of something
is bad, likewise also the deficiency, but isn’t it that by not possessing an excess and
deficiency in things mean that it is perfect? This theory is similar to Utilitarianism in
a way that they both argue that happiness is an end, that all of us seek happiness. I
think that this is the nature of human beings, but isn’t it that some people does
things such as sacrifice, in which they don’t do the things that makes them happy
for others to be happy?

In reading this theory, I also had some difficulty and again have to read the
essay several times to absorb what it means and also to answer the questions
included in the reading. But this theory made me think and made me criticize and to
impose questions regarding the theory. It also contributed some new knowledge for
me and to know some other possibilities of being moral which in Aristotle’s idea, is
to be in the middle.

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I’ve learned how Aristotle defined happiness and virtue and on how he
explained his theory of the Middle Way.

Integrative Questions
1. How does Aristotle’s concept of Happiness different from Utilitarianism?

2. What concept of Happiness do you consider as morally right?

3. In your opinion, can everyone be happy as opposed to what Aristotle said?

4. Is “a life of pleasure” that Aristotle is referring to is the same as Utilitarianism

or more of Hedonism?

5. Why do you think Aristotle said that philosophers would be much happier
than anybody else?

Review Questions
1. What is happiness, according to Aristotle? How is it related to virtue? How is
it related to pleasure?

Aristotle defines happiness as "an activity of the soul in accordance with

virtue", and that it is not only pleasure, honor or wealth. Happiness is related
to virtue in a way that, the happiness of a person differs from others because
of their virtue, from what they do and what their nature is, the happiness of
one person would possibly mean nothing to others. Also, stated in the book,
"With those who identify happiness with virtue or some one virtue our
account is in harmony; for to virtue belongs virtuous activity", an example of
which, also in stated in the book, is the Olympic Games, where the most
beautiful and the strongest are not crowned but those who compete so those
who act win, and rightly win the noble and good things in life. And to relate
happiness to pleasure, Aristotle said that those who are happy have a
pleasant life, pleasant meaning, is a lover of something. A person should not
have a conflict in their pleasures, if they do then that means that their
pleasures are not by nature pleasant. People who are lovers of what is noble
find things that are by nature pleasant, and these are considered virtuous
actions by Aristotle. And to quote Aristotle on this "Happiness than is the
best, noblest, and most pleasant thing in the world".

2. How does Aristotle explain moral virtue? Give some examples.

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Aristotle explained moral virtue as "a result of training and habit", but he also
explained that none of these moral virtue naturally arises in us because no
thing the exists could have a habit that contradicts its own nature. One good
example of his is a stone, which naturally moves downward and couldn't be
trained to go upwards no matter how you throw it up. Another is fire, it
always goes upward, and it is impossible to train or to even make it go
downward because it is its nature.

3. Is it possible for everyone in our society to be happy, as Aristotle explains it?

If not, who cannot be happy?

It is not possible for everyone in our society to be happy as Aristotle

explained because there are children and babies that are not yet capable of
doing virtuous acts, according to Aristotle, those children who are called
happy are just congratulated by reason of the hopes that we have for them.
To be able to be happy, a person must go through a lot of things and changes
which children haven't experienced yet and you cannot call a person happy
yet because even the most successful persons could fall and be miserable.

Discussion Questions:
1. Aristotle characterizes a life of pleasure as suitable for beasts. But what, if
anything, is wrong with a life of pleasure?

Well in my opinion, a life of pleasure is a good life but it makes a person lax,
lazy and bored because you don't have to work hard and do things that you
don't like just to have pleasure. Also for me, not all pleasures are good or is
good for a person because it is merely an indulgence and as Aristotle said,
anything in excess or in deficiency won't give you happiness. If you are living
a life of pleasure, then you must have all the material things that you want
and have all the things that you say be done, or something like that, and you
won't think of anything else than how to have more pleasure. I think this
would make a person selfish and insensitive to other persons around him and
others who needs help because he/she is concerned only about his/her
satisfaction and pleasure.

2. Aristotle claims that the philosopher will be happier than anyone else. Why is
this? Do you agree or not?

For me, the meaning of happiness differs from one person to another.
Aristotle could claim that a philosopher will be happier than anyone else,
because he has his own meaning of happiness. Well a I can say in his context,
I agree on this matter because philosophers does live a life with virtue and
their habits are aligned with their nature. It is wonderful that you are the one
who knows things rather than you are the one who is asking. But in my

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opinion, anyone could be happy as long as they are satisfied with what they
have and are the ones who give happiness to others.

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The Nature and Value of Rights
Joel Feinberg

“To respect a person then or to think of him as possessed of
human dignity, simply is to think of him as a potential maker of

Learning Expectation
• To learn what is a “right”

• To understand its nature and value

What I liked about Joel Feinberg’s reading is on how he explains his theory, he
uses a language that is easy to understand and is somewhat not formal compared
to the other readings. He also has some examples which really help in
understanding and applying the theory to various situations. Another thing that
caught my attention was the apart when Feinberg somewhat criticizes Immanuel
Kant in saying that actions that are done based on motive of duty has moral worth,
in which I also disagree with. Like what Feinburg says, I also believe that moral
worth is not exclusive only on actions that was done based on the motive of duty,
compassionate actions also deserves to have moral worth because people who are
doing these kind of acts does them because they want to help and not because
they have to help. One thing that interests me is on how he coined his terms like the
“personal desert”, I don’t understand why it is called as such or is it intended to be
“personal dessert” in which a person does those extra things to have a bonus or to
have a treat from his boss or from anyone.

I learned the importance and the relation of rights and duties, and the
meaning of personal desert. The rest of the things that I’ve learned could be seen

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Integrative Questions
1. How would you react if your personal desert is not appreciated?

2. In what scenarios could claim-right be applied?

3. Is there any period in history that Nowheresville seemed to exist?

4. Is the appreciation of personal desert moral?

5. Do you agree with Feinberg’s position regarding the doctrine of the logical
correlativity of rights and duties?

Review Questions
1. Describe Nowheresville. How is this world different from our world?

According to Joel Feinberg, Nowheresville is a world like our own except that
people don’t have rights.

2. Explain the doctrine of the logical correlativity of rights and duties. What is
Feinberg’s position on this doctrine?

The doctrine of the logical correlativity of rights and duties states that all
duties entail other people’s rights and all rights entail other people’s duties.
Meaning your duty is caused by the right of other people, and the right of
other people are your duty. Feinberg does not agree with this doctrine
because according to him duty is not something that you should do because
it is the right of other people but it is what you must do for others which
surpasses what that person could demand from you which is not a right.

3. How does Feinberg explain the concept of personal desert? How would
personal desert work in Nowheresville?

According to Feinsberg, personal desert is something that is done by a person

that is not expected or is expressed in an agreement which is not expected of
him and could or could not be compensated. In Nowheresville, the personal
desert is just like in our world but if the response to their desert is not as they
expect, they do not have the right to complain.

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4. Explain the notion of a sovereign right-monopoly. How would this work in
Nowheresville according to Feinsberg?

An example would best explain a sovereign right-monopoly. Using Feinsberg’s

example, when David killed Uriah, he claims that he have only sinned against
God but not against his fellow human. This could work in Nowheresville
wherein the governing body is the one who accepts the apology because the
person who erred considers his mistake or sin as only against the governing
body but not against the person that he hurt or erred.

5. What are claim-rights? Why does Feinberg think they are morally important?

Claim-rights is something that could be demanded from another person

whom has a duty to the one who is demanding. Feinberg think that they are
morally important because claiming is what gives rights their moral
significance according to Feinberg.

Discussion Questions
1. Does Feinberg make a convincing case for the importance of rights? Why or
why not?

Feinberg makes a convincing case for the importance of rights because he

portrayed it in an example wherein he creates an imaginary world called
Nowheresville in which the people living in that place don’t have rights. His
example makes it much easier to appreciate the importance of rights by
providing a scenario which makes us compare a world without rights and our

2. Can you give a noncircular definition of claim-right?

Claim-rights is something that could be demanded from another person

whom has a duty to the one who is demanding.

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Taking Rights Seriously
Ronald Dworkin

“If the Government does not take rights seriously, then it does
not take law seriously either”

Learning Expectation
• The meaning of “rights” according to Dworkin

• How the theory relates with other theories of Kant and Mill

Ronald Dworkin explained his theory like Kant’s Categorical Imperative, it also
challenging to understand his idea because if you skipped some parts of the
reading, it is easy to be misled and to be confused about the theory. Dworkin’s
essay requires the reader to read it several times to be able to grasp his concept
and to relate it to other theories. But even if it is hard to understand, it is really a
good reading because it discusses how the government defines the rights of its
citizens and the basis which they lie on. And the idea of the individual right, which I
think is the strong sense of right and the right of the majority which is somewhat
like Utilitarianism. In my opinion, the right of the majority should be used in defining
the rights of the citizens because it considers the safety and the rights of others. It
also somehow expresses equality because in considering the individual right of a
person, it is like favoring that person’s right and neglecting other persons’ rights. It
is also like egoism which the self-interest of a person is considered over others. To
summarize it, Dworkin’s Taking Rights Seriously is a good reading and it enables the
reader to think critically and to relate it to his self to be able to further understand
it. But still you have to read it several times over if you really want to absorb the
meaning and the implication of his ideas.

I learned two kinds of rights and on how it influences each other, also on how the
government could define the right of its citizens.

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Integrative Questions
1. Do you think that the strong sense of right dignifies a person?

2. Does it necessary follow that a moral right should be a legal right?

3. What do you think would happen in legal rights were purely based on moral

4. Is the right of the majority more important than an individual’s right?

5. Do you think that a person should break the law if he thinks that he is right in
expressing his rights?

Review Questions
1. What does Dworkin mean by right in the strong sense? What rights in this
sense are protected by the U.S. Constitution?

According to Dworkin, a right is where if a people have a right to do

something, then it is wrong to interfere with them.

2. Distinguish between legal and moral rights. Give some examples of legal
rights that are not moral rights, and moral rights that are not legal rights.

Legal rights is what the law provides to the citizens to claim and would
correspond to a lawsuit when violated, while moral rights are rights that are
dictated by morality and is not often included in legal rights and does not
result into a lawsuit but rather have a social consequence of some sort
depending on the situation. An example of a legal right that is not a moral
right is the freedom of speech, a citizen is entitle to say his own opinions or
concerns or anything he likes even if it does violate the moral right of others
or do harm to other people. Another example in which moral rights are not
legal rights is equality, morality implies that all men should be treated
equally, a person could assert that he should be treated equally as with other
people, but he cannot file a lawsuit regarding equality because there is no
existing law that makes equality a legal right.

3. What are the two models of how a government might define the rights of its
citizens? Which does Dworkin find more attractive?

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According to Dworkin, the first model is having a balance between the rights
of an individual and the demands of society at large. The second one is about
political equality, it states that the weaker members of the community is
entitled to the same rights as the more powerful members.

4. According to Dworkin, what two important ideas are behind the institution of

The first idea according to Dworkin is considering the individual rights of the
citizens, which in the strong sense is a right against the Government. And
second is the rights of the majority in which the government considers the
risk to other people if they are to consider the individual right of a person.

Discussion Questions
1. Does a person have a right to break the law? Why or why not?

A person has a right to break the law if he believes that it is the right thing to
do to exercise his right and does not violate the rights of others.

2. Are rights in the strong sense compatible with Mill’s Utilitarianism?

I don’t think that rights in the strong sense is compatible with Mill’s
Utilitarianism because rights as defined by Dworkin in the strong sense is if a
person has a right to do something, then it is wrong to prevent him from
doing it. This would mean that if that person’s right could harm other people
or could result in the unhappiness of other people then it would contradict the
theory of Utilitarianism because it does result in the happiness of the
majority, rather the happiness of an individual is not greater than the
unhappiness that his action does to others.

3. Do you think that Kant would accept rights in the strong sense or not?

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I think that Kant would accept rights in the strong sense because this theory
rests on Kant’s idea of treating individuals with dignity and the idea of
political equality. By respecting the right of a person in the strong sense, it
somehow gives that person dignity in the sense that you “respect” his right
whether by not interfering with it.

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A Theory of Justice
John Rawls

“The only reason for circumscribing the rights defining liberty
and making men’s freedom less extensive than it might
otherwise be is that these equal rights as institutionally defines
would interfere with one another.”

Learning Expectation
• To understand Rawl’s Theory of Justice

• To relate it to other theories

John Rawl’s Theory of Justice is an interesting theory because his idea is
somewhat like communism because of the idea of “equality” of the rights and
duties but it differs by the distribution of wealth and income, he states that by
distributing wealth and authoritative positions, it could benefit all the people
concerned, while in communism wealth and duties are distributed equally, but the
problem with communism is that it preaches that all communists should be equal
and there is not hierarchy of command, but they fail in executing communism
because they do have a leader, like in North Korea, their leader is treated like a
King, even a descendant of gods. This contradicts the very idea of equality in
communism. While in Rawl’s theory, those positions are open to all and the well-
being of all concerned are achieved by their cooperation despite the inequalities in
wealth and income. One thing that the reader should take into consideration is that
the inequality is only just, when the more fortunate one improves the situation of
the less fortunate others.

Rawl discusses his theory clearly and could be understood easily compared to
other theory that takes more than one reading for the reader to absorb the essence
of the idea. Like the Nowheresville of Joel Feinberg, Rawl also presented a scenario
or another world that serves as an example and basis for discussion which
effectively aids in the reader’s understanding. All in all A Theory of Justice is an
interesting and mind enriching topic.

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I’ve learned many things like the two principles of justice, and the original
position which was the basis of the concepts that are discussed in this reading and
also the implication of this theory on some of the modern issues.

Integrative Questions
1. Do you think it is possible to apply Rawl’s principles of justice in our current

2. Is it possible that by having inequalities in the distribution of wealth and

income that all people concerned could benefit equally?

3. Do you agree that all people should have equal rights and duties?

4. Isn’t that equality in wealth and income an obvious answer in having equal
rights and duties?

5. Does Rawl’s theory portrays a kind or a modified theory of Utilitarianism?

Review Questions
1. Carefully explain Rawl’s conception of the original position.

Rawl explained the conception of the original position as a purely

hypothetical situation which is characterized to be able to facilitate
conception of justice. The conception of justice in this situation is possible
because there is a veil of ignorance that makes a person unaware of his own
social status, strength, weaknesses, and such. In this original position, all
persons seem to be equal and the agreements that are made within it are

2. State and explain Rawl’s first principle of justice.

The first principle of justice stated by Rawl is that “each person is to have an
equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar
liberty for others”. This simply means that all persons should have the same
rules and liberties should be applied equally to everyone.

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3. State and explain the second principle. Which principle has priority such that
it cannot be sacrificed?

The second principle of justice is “Social and economic inequalities are to be

arranged so that they are both reasonably expected to be everyone’s
advantage, and attached to positions and offices open to all...”. This second
principle states that everyone should benefit from the inequality in wealth
and income such that the more fortunate ones should improve the situation
of the less fortunate.

The first principle of justice is prioritized and cannot be sacrificed because the
equality of liberty and opportunity should also apply in the social and
economic inequalities to be able to make it an advantage to all.

Discussion Questions
1. On the first principle, each person has an equal right to the most extensive
basic liberty as long as this does not interfere with a similar liberty for others.
What does this allow people to do?

Does it mean, For example, that people have a right to engage in

homosexual activities as long as they don’t interfere with other? Can people
produce and view pornography if it does not restrict anyone’s freedom? Are
people allowed to take drugs in the privacy of their homes?

The first principle allows liberties and rights that are defined by the given
rules in the first place. What they are allowed to do is limited by the rights
and duties that are established and followed in major institutions of the
society. It does not mean that people have the right to engage in homosexual
activities just because they don’t interfere with other people’s rights, they are
not allowed to engage in this kind of act because there is a moral rights that
are violated by this kind of activities. People could not also produce and view
pornography even if it does not restrict anyone’s freedom because in the first
place, the essence of freedom is doing what is right, by producing and
viewing pornography, freedom is already violated in such acts. And also in

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the issue of taking drugs in the privacy of their homes, this also does not fall
under the first principle because this activity goes against the law which
prohibits the use of drugs and is already established and followed by major

2. Is it possible for free and rational persons in the original position to agree
upon different distribution of wealth and income rather than an unequal
distribution? That is, why wouldn’t they adopt socialism rather than
capitalism? Isn’t socialism just as rational as capitalism?

It is not possible for the free and rational persons in the original position to
agree upon different distribution of wealth and income because everyone’s
well-being in that situation depends on the cooperation the people involved.
That cooperation is brought about by the inequality in the distribution of
wealth and income, and that those who have the greater benefits would
improve the situation of the unfortunate persons. If they adopt socialism,
then the cooperation of the people would not exist because all of them are
given equal wealth and income. In my opinion socialism is not as rational as
capitalism because in capitalism, people who are wealthy are those who are
compensated because of their hard work, while in socialism, there is no
difference between the compensation because all people are treated equally
and are given equal wealth and income regardless of the effort exerted by
different individuals.

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The Need for More than Justice
Annette Baier

“The best moral theory is one that harmonizes justice and care”

Learning Expectation
• To learn why Annette Baier asserts the need for more than justice

• To discover what other things are needed besides justice

Annette Baier presented a theory that attacks the patriarchal theories namely
Kant’s and Rawl’s justice perspective. She states that the care perspective is also
needed besides justice. Her theory somewhat defends women and other oppressed
people that are left out from other theories concerning morality. One thing that I
liked about this reading is that they effectively defended the woman’s side which is
the care perspective and asserts that even if women are less irrational than men,
that they do not possess “a legal sense”, this is not because they are mentally
inferior, it is just because women views things differently from men because of their
experiences and their duties that are different from men who were offered a
privileged role in the society. As other reading, Baier’s The Need for More Than
Justice is not easy and yet not hard to understand, in reading this theory we need to
concentrate and picture a scenario on our imagination which Baier portrays to fully
understand the concepts.

I learned how Baier and other moralists defended that there is a need more
than just justice, which is the care perspective in which the people who were not
included in the justice perspective should be included in the modern moral theories.

Integrative Questions
1. Do you agree with Baier’s theory that there is a need for more than just

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2. In what way does Kant disregards women and others who are not privileged

3. In your opinion, is justice and care enough for our society to be peaceful?

4. What is your position regarding “reason over emotion”?

5. Do you think that male and female wisdom could have a union or be

Review Questions
1. Distinguish between the justice and care perspectives. According to Gilligan,
how do these perspectives develop?

Baier argues that the justice perspective is not enough to be a moral theory
because it overlooks inequalities between people, has an unrealistic view of
freedom of choice, and it ignores the importance of moral emotions such as
love, while the care perspective is a felt concern for the good of others and
for community with them.

2. Explain Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. What criticisms do Gilligan

and Baier make of this theory?

Kohlberg’s theory of moral development has three stages; the first is the pre-
conventional level in which what matters is the pleasing of the parent or
authority figure. Second is the conventional level, which the child already
tries to fit into a group and follows its rules and standards. And last is the
post-conventional critical level, in which those rules are put to the tests like
that of a Utilitarian or Kantian kind. Gilligan says that Kohlberg’s stages of
moral development are more of a progression of mutual respect and not of
mutual care. Baier says that the care perspective in Kohlberg’s theory of
moral development would only be an option and is not included on the
“minimum” which is justice and rights, so the care perspective is left only as
an extra for those who are willing to proceed to responsibility and care.

3. Baier says that there are three important differences between Kantian
liberals and their critics. What are these differences?

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The three important differences between Kantian liberals and their critics are
the following, the relative weight put on relationships between equals, the
relative weight put on freedom of choice, and on the authority of intellect
over emotions.

4. Why does Baier attack the Kantian view that the reason should control unruly

Baier attacks the Kantian view that the reason should control unruly passions
is because reason is not the basis for becoming the person that we should be,
be it the role of a parent, or want in any relationship. Like in the case of
parenting, as Baier’s example, a father should let his reason preside over his
emotions when their children enrage them, but in mothers, emotions should
preside over reason because they have to love their children and not just to
control their emotions.

Discussion Questions
1. What does Baier mean when she speaks of the need “to transvalue the
values of our patriarchal past”? Do new values replace the old ones? If so,
then do we abandon the old values of justice, freedom, and rights?

Baier means by transvaluing the values of the patriarchal past is the use of
the values of the patriarchs in asserting the claims of women and other
unprivileged people. The new values do not replace the new ones but is
rather used to defend the right of the oppressed. Also, we do not abandon
the old values of justice, freedom and rights, we just modified and added
some essential details to it that would include the women, the black, the
children, and those who were marginalized in the traditional theory of justice.

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2. What is wrong with the Kantian view that extends equal rights to all rational
beings, including women and minorities? What would Baier say? What do you

The Kantian view dictates that women are incapable of legislation or

formulation of law, also could not vote, and needs the guidance of men who
are considered as “more rational” as to women. To quote what Baier said to
this view “so much the worse for the male fixation on the special skill of
drafting legislation, for the bureaucratic mentality of the rule worship, and for
the male exaggeration of the importance of independence over

3. Baier seems to reject the Kantian emphasis on freedom of choice. Granted,

we do not choose our parents, but still don’t we have freedom of choice
about many things, and isn’t this very important?

We have a freedom of choice about many things, which is very important

because by deciding things for ourselves, we would learn lessons from the
mistakes that we’ve made from bad decisions rather than having a parent or
someone else who decides for us. We should be the one who has the decision
because we are the ones who would suffer the consequence or the result of
that decision and no one knows ourselves better but us.

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Copyright Receipts

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Use Case Diagram of Existing

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Copyright Registration System Use
Case Narrative
Fill-up Copyright Form
Identification summary

Title: Fill-up Copyright Form

Summary: This use case allows the applicant to fill-in the needed information on
the form

Actors: Applicant, Copyright Staff

Creation Date: ??? Date of Update: ???

Version: ??? Person in Charge:

Flow of Events


1. The National Library should be open

2. The material that to be copyrighted is finished

3. There should be an applicant

Main Success Scenario:

1. The applicant gets an application form from the Copyright office

2. Then the applicant should fill-in the information on the form

3. The applicant should purchase a stamp

4. The affidavit should be notarized

5. The applicant gives back the form to the Copyright office

Alternative Sequences:

1. The applicant already has a form

1. The applicant has already completed a form which is downloaded from

the Library’s site

2. The applicant should proceed in purchasing a stamp

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Error Sequences:

1. The affidavit hasn’t been notarized

a. The affidavit isn’t notarized because there is no notary public available

b. Use case ends

2. There is no stamp to be purchased

a. There are no stamps available in the store

b. Use case ends

3. There is no form to be given

a. There are no forms to be given to the applicant

b. Use case ends

Pay Copyright Fee

Identification summary

Title: Pay Copyright Fee

Summary: This use case allows the applicant to pay the copyright fee needed to
proceed in registering

Actors: Applicant, Copyright Staff, Cashier

Creation Date: ??? Date of Update: ???

Version: ??? Person in Charge:

Flow of Events


1. The cashier should be open

2. The copyright office is still open

3. The applicant should have a filled-up form

Main Success Scenario:

1. The copyright staff signs the form and indicates the amount to be paid

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2. The applicant pays the copyright fee to the cashier

3. The cashier issues a receipt to the applicant

Alternative Sequences:

1. There are some fields needed to be filled-up

1. The applicant has left a blank field

2. The applicant fills up the blank and submits the form back to the
copyright staff

Error Sequences:

1. The cashier is closed

a. The cashier closed before the applicant could pay the copyright fee

b. Use case ends

File Copyright Request

Identification summary

Title: File Copyright Request

Summary: This use case allows the applicant to file a copyright request to the
copyright office

Actors: Applicant, Copyright Staff

Creation Date: ??? Date of Update: ???

Version: ??? Person in Charge:

Flow of Events


1. The material should have two copies

2. The applicant have paid the copyright fee

3. The form is verified by the copyright staff

Main Success Scenario:

1. The applicant submits the form, material, and receipt to the copyright staff

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2. The copyright staff files the form and material to be copyrighted

3. The copyright staff returns the receipt with a claim stub to the applicant

Alternative Sequences:

1. The applicant has only one copy of the material

1. The applicant has one copy of the material

2. The applicant should provide one more copy of the material

Error Sequences:

1. The copyright office is already closed

a. The copyright office is already closed when the applicant returned

b. Use case ends

Ask Copyright Information

Identification summary

Title: Ask Copyright Information

Summary: This use case allows the applicant to ask for information from the
copyright staff

Actors: Applicant, Copyright Staff

Creation Date: ??? Date of Update: ???

Version: ??? Person in Charge:

Flow of Events


1. The copyright staff should be present

2. The national library should be open

Main Success Scenario:

1. The applicant asks a question to the copyright staff

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2. The staff answers the applicant

Alternative Sequences:

1. The applicant has another question

1. The applicant asks another question to the copyright staff

2. The staff answers the applicant

Error Sequences:

1. The copyright staff is not present

a. The applicant goes in the copyright office and the copyright staff is not

b. Use Case ends

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Activity Diagram of Existing

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Use Case Diagram of Proposed

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