Precis of the lecture, including careful presentation of any explicitly formulated arguments.
The main topic of the January 22nd lecture was Ashley’s case. Ashley was a girl who was born with low mental capacity. Her condition made her family concerned that they wouldn’t have been able to take care of her if she continued to grow at such a rapid rate. In response to this concern, Ashley’s family gave her a high dose of estrogen to limit her growth. They had Ashley undergo a hysterectomy as well as have her breast buds removed. The way Ashley’s parents handled her condition raises a serious moral question of right and wrong. Were Ashley’s parents right to do what they did and was it even their decision to make in the first place; or was what they did wrong for mutilating Ashley’s body when she had no say in ...view middle of the document...
You could also argue that the decision Ashley’s parents made to give her the surgeries was morally wrong. Some might say that the decision to keep Ashley’s body small didn’t benefit Ashley at all, but rather was entirely beneficial to her family. Other arguments are that there were other options to take care of Ashley and that her disability didn’t justify the decision to mutilate her body.
Whichever way you view Ashley’s case, it brings up some issues about morality and tough moral questions. Moral questions cannot be answered by what the majority of people believe. Majority belief doesn’t always mean it’s the right answer. Legal arrangements also don’t determine what is morally right and wrong. People will always question what the law ought to be pertaining to certain situations. The answers to tough moral questions depend on what the facts are as well as what the consequences and alternatives are. While facts never vary between people per situation, consequences and alternatives do. These varying consequences and alternatives between people is what can cause people to have different moral views from one another. In this case, Ashley’s parents’ consequences and alternatives to not have the surgery for Ashley were much different from everyone else’s consequences and alternatives, including Ashley’s. It’s this difference that causes peoples’ views and beliefs on morality to vary from person to person. The answers to moral questions are not all equally correct. The fact that moral questions can be “real questions” with very different consequences and alternatives for every person is what makes people have different moral beliefs from one another. Sometimes people judge the rationality of their decision by weighing competing answers to the moral question. In other words, moral questions are “rationally resolvable”.
1) Not all moral answers are equally correct- there are “real questions”
2) It is possible to judge rationally between competing answers- “rationally resolvable”