Friday, March 20, 2009

Ethics & Andrew

Yes, I have mo' TX pictures & adventures to post but didn't want to forget to do this.

I finally snagged Andrew's Trees Tick Me Off Ethics paper so I could share his professors non-technical comments.
Note: Andrew's paper was read aloud - this NEVER happens in this class.

"I loved it! Not only is your paper witty, but it is a fine argument! Very well done! Thank you for such a pleasurable read!!"

There were a number of positive technical comments complete with !! awa suggestions for improvements. Andrew was pleased with his A-.

So many seemed to enjoy Andrew's essay that I thought I'd share his newest assignment which had the similar purpose of creating a sample argument using one of the definitions of morality.

Wallet Slapping is Immoral

Wallet slapping is immoral because it produces more unhappiness than happiness overall. According to utilitarianism, morality is about making the world as happy as possible. Happiness is the ultimate goal for everyone and each person’s interests (happiness) is equally important. This means that when faced with an ethical decision, everyone should choose whatever action will have the best overall consequences for all involved. Deciding which option has the best consequences has been compared to balancing outcomes on a scale on which one side is placed happiness and/or pleasure and on the other side unhappiness and/or pain.

First, for the few who do not know exactly what a wallet slap is, from the Andrew’s Universal Dictionary it is defined as: The taking of a wallet (bifold or trifold) and while gripping one fold by the edge, bringing the farthest fold, by a rapid swinging motion, into contact with another persons cheek in a slapping action. This is usually accompanied by a popping noise. Wallet slapping is most often observed taking place among young males attempting to assert dominance. After looking at the definition, it sounds as if one can write this action off as bad already, but one can’t just skim the surface of a moral issue. After examining what utilitarianism says morality is, it is time to look at the happiness and unhappiness caused by wallet slapping and to “weigh” both sides to see where this action sits on the moral scale.

Starting with the happiness caused by wallet slapping, the slapper gets a small amount of happiness from slapping another person. If the slap is retaliatory for some perceived wrong done by the slappee, it may cause the slapper a higher degree of happiness. If there are people gathered around, they may laugh at another’s misfortunes and get a little happiness out of it also. Wallet slapping therefore, only has the potential to bring a little happiness overall and it is not lasting happiness. It can bring more pleasure than happiness but it is the perverse pleasure of seeing another suffer.

On the other fold, wallet slapping can cause a good deal of unhappiness. Thankfully, the pain is minimal but this is not where the true unhappiness is incurred. Not only does the slappee feel insulted and possibly betrayed, but he is left embarrassed by the laughter of others that usually accompanies wallet slapping. This embarrassment has been known to last for hours or in some extreme cases much longer. There is the account of the teenage boy who after being wallet slapped in the middle of the school cafeteria was constantly ridiculed by the other kids who called him “fold face” which lead to a significant grade drop and ultimately his dropping out of school entirely.

Now to weigh the issue. The side of happiness seems to rise in comparison to the weight of unhappiness. While wallet slapping undeniably brings some happiness and pleasure, it clearly causes much more pain and unhappiness. By the theory of Utilitarianism, this is an immoral act and should not be done.

Want proof? See the wallet held by Andrew slapping Caleb? Do either of them look happy?

There you go.

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