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Is Missing Class Morally Permissible? Essay

1648 words - 7 pages

Oliver James Savenor
5/5/15
Dr. Thaddeus Ostrowski
Social Ethics
Is Missing Class Morally Permissible?

While most schools have an attendance policy, many students feel that missing a class for any reason is morally permissible for the betterment of the student. Morally permissible can be proven by the three approaches to ethics as defined by Michael Sandel, which include: maximizing welfare, respecting freedom and rights, and cultivating virtue and promoting the good life. Maximizing welfare would be seen as an approach to the ethics of utilitarianism and John Stuart Mill; respecting freedom and rights is seen as an approach of Kantian deontology and Immanuel ...view middle of the document...

Another part of utilitarianism that Mill would use to show that missing class is morally permissible is by the use of higher pleasures. Mill would state that the pleasure the students in the class, as well as the student who skipped, had was intellectual pleasure. The reason why it is intellectual pleasure is because of fact the students were able to learn in happiness and as well as the student who skipped because he was studying the material for the test. This is unlike Bentham, who viewed that all pleasures can be measured and compared on a single scale and that the only basis for judging one experience better or worse than another, is the intensity and duration of the pleasure or pain it produces putting them as either as a higher or lower pleasure. Mill believed that it was possible to differentiate between the two, assessing its not the quantity but the quality, of our desires. One flaw to this argument is while you might be gaining happiness by not going to study for the class, by not being there, you are ultimately still causing pain to yourself by not learning the information and to the class as well who loses another perspective in the class.
Mill would also argue the missing class for any reason would not be morally permissible. Mill would argue that “The ends justify the means,” but in the case of skipping a class, while a student will skip for the pleasure of not being there, it’s not justified. The reason why is that by skipping the class the student doesn’t learn the information which in the end can cause the student to fail the test. In the case of skipping a class, he argues through the greatest happiness principal, which is “We ought to do what which produces the greatest amount of happiness or pleasure (for the greatest number of people)”. What is being stated is that while the student gains happiness by skipping, overall the greatest numbers are not happy. The reason being that while the student is happy he also feels pain by not learning the information, the class loses a perspective which hurts (causing pain) their learning, the teacher might feel that by not having the student it is a waste of time to be teaching, and the students parents in how they are mad that they wasted money on a class that the student skipped. Also, Mill would argue that by skipping class you are only feeling a base pleasure. The reason why is that while you do get pleasure you really don’t gain anything from it, it’s not a higher pleasure, such as an intellectual pleasure, which you would get from being in class.
According to Kant, who is deontologist, he would agree that missing class for any reason is morally permissible. Kant backs this up by saying, “Act out on duty because it’s the right thing to do, not because it feels right”. In the case of missing a class because you are sick, Kant would say that your duty is to you body and your class. The reason being that you ought to not go to class because it’s the right thing to do by...

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