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Converting Theory Into Philosophy Essay

1216 words - 5 pages

One of the features that determine our humanity is the ability to determine what is right versus what is wrong. The views we as people have on what is right and wrong make up our morality and ethics. In many instances the society and culture in which we live attempt to simplify our decision making by making laws that determine what is right and wrong with regards to that particular culture. Our patterns of behaviors with regard to existing laws as well as circumstances not particularly covered by the laws determine our morality. For many people, the manner of their upbringing shapes their morality. For others it is their religious beliefs. While for many more, significant life events ...view middle of the document...

Taking a utilitarian mindset and examining the issue with more depth, I find that when you torture someone, you either have imprison them indefinitely or eventually release them. When we release the detainee they will share their experience with other in their immediate and secondary environments which potentially can have the consequence of drawing more people to the cause. If we decide to imprison the person indefinitely after the torture, there will be people looking for them that can precipitate retaliatory attacks or raids in an attempt to rescue the detainee. In any instance, we stand to lose more Soldiers than we save as a result of torture or other forms of detainee abuse.
Even though consequentialism and utilitarianism is the basis of the action based portion of my moral philosophy, my relativist thoughts both conform and clash with these beliefs. With relativism, the morality of an action depends on the perspective of the person performing or committing the act. I ultimately want to do the most good for the most people, but there are definite instances when looking at the action from a different lens can change your perspective. Even though stealing is wrong, I can understand why a destitute mother faced with the starvation of her children would steal food from a market. She is trying to minimize the discomfort of her children who are completely innocent to her past decisions that led to their current predicament. Looking at the situation through that lens, the act of theft reduced the suffering of her children and was justified. However, that conflicts with my consequentialist views of doing the most good for the most people, where the act could have the potential to cost several people their jobs and ultimately the business to close if everyone in a similar situation was allowed to pilfer merchandise. In my career the largest clash between these two thought processes occurred during my time as a Police Transition Team trainer in the Anbar Province in Iraq. In this capacity one of my primary roles I had was facilitating pay operations for the police in the Ramadi District. Since the end of the colonial period in the middle east, despots and monarchs have ruled the area, and accepting kickbacks or charging a “tax” on wages is common practice. The political leaders in the area have for several generations accepted this as a common and accepted practice in their culture and to this day there are no laws prohibiting the practice in the country. The local police chiefs took full...

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