Many of the world’s major and powerful cultures have not only permitted suicide but actually condoned acts of self sacrifice—Ancient Egypt, Classic Rome, China for almost three thousand years, Japan from pre-history into the 20th century, and Moghul India are but a few examples. Several major religions, including Islam and Hinduism, approve of suicide under certain conditions. On what basis have we the right, then, to say that suicide is wrong? Using the articles and media from the week, examine instances in which you believe that it is acceptable to kill oneself or to sacrifice oneself and then explain instances in which you think that it is not ethically permissible to do so. Be sure to include reasons that support your claims.
- Goodman, L. (2010). Some moral minima.Good Society Journal, 19(1), 87-94.
- The fulltext version of this article can be accessed through the EBSCOhost database in the Ashford University Library. Goodman examines some universal moral minimum standards and argues that others should accept those standards.
- Rachels, J. (1999).The challenge of cultural relativism. InThe elements of moral philosophy (pp. 15-29). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Retrieved from http://faculty.uca.edu/rnovy/Rachels–Cultural%20Relativism.htm
- In this article, Rachels argues against relativistic positions by examining logical inconsistencies in those positions and then explaining the outcomes that result from those positions.
- ABC News. (2010, August 26).Nightline from ABC news: The mind of a psychopath[Video file]. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/mind-psychopath-11492876
- Many ethicists argue that ethical principles are universal or ought to be universal. However, it appears that some humans do not experience the pull of ethical conscience. The interview above demonstrates one such individual. Can ethics be universal? Are there universal principles that govern human ethical behavior?
- Harvard University. (2009).Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 01[Series episode]. InJustice with Michael Sandel. Retrieved from http://www.justiceharvard.org/2011/03/episode-01/
- Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel uses an illustration to draw out what it means to engage in moral reasoning, and why it’s important. This is the introductory lecture to his popular and excellent course “Justice.”
- MarkLegg87. (2011, October 18).Child of rage the full documentary[Video file]. Retrieved from http://amara.org/en/videos/FgXd7l2wkX2a/url/294893/
- This documentary examines the relationship between abuse and psychopathic behavior in humans. This relates to ethics in that there appears to be a relationship not only between brain structure and ethical beliefs but also between past human experience and the development of ethical attitudes.