Ethical Dimension of Killing in order to Stop a Murder

Ethical Dimension of Killing in order to Stop a Murder Machiavellian, Nietzschean, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir’ Perspectives

Ethical Dimension of Killing in order to Stop a Murder
Ethical Dimension of Killing in order to Stop a Murder

These are Philosophy essays. Below are the 4 questions that need to be answered. The answers will be in essay form. You may need to use lecture notes. Please make an offer if you are knowledgeable in the area, it is an important paper.

Question 1: You have the opportunity to go back in time to stop a murder. However, in order to do so, you have no choice but to kill the murderer yourself. Putting aside any other problems with time travel, and just assessing the particular ethical dimension of killing in order to stop a murder, contrast a Machiavellian and a Nietzschean take on the matter, and argue for one as your actual position.

Ethical Dimension of Killing in order to Stop a Murder Suggestions:

The Machiavellian perspective: Machiavelli would probably endorse killing the murderer before he/she commits the murder.

However, you have to keep in mind that for Machiavelli that would not be done on purely moral grounds; there will have to be a different type of incentive for someone to commit murder in order to prevent a bigger disaster from happening. You have to think in terms of how Machiavelli sees human nature and what he thinks the ruler should do in difficult situations. The Nietzschean perspective: Nietzsche would probably be all right with killing a murder as long as it is done in the name of affirming life and not out of sense of some type of duty which requires self-sacrifice or anything like that. You need to explain, however, what would motivate both Machiavelli and Nietzsche to suggest what they suggest (it’s not enough to say it, you have to actually explain it!). As for choosing your own position, it will depend on how you understand ‘to kill in order to stop a murder’. You can get creative and try to play with different possibilities here: what kind of murder, who is the murderer, etc.

Ethical Dimension of Killing in order to Stop a Murder

Question 2: Friedrich Nietzsche, in Beyond Good and Evil, makes a distinction between what he claims are the two ‘types’ of morality. Saying that there are “certain traits regularly recurring together”, he proceeds to describe them, and classifies previous systems of morality into those categories. What are the two types? Describe them. Finally, using examples from (a) previous theorist(s) in the course, make an argument either for or against Nietzsche’s distinction.

Suggestions: the two types of morality are ‘slave’ and ‘master’ morality. Note that when you compare Nietzsche, you have to compare him to someone who’s lived earlier than him (so, comparing him to Sartre or de Beauvoir wouldn’t work.) Possible points of comparison: Aristotle, Plato, or Machiavelli, for example. I suggest you pick someone whose moral theory we’ve studied. But this doesn’t exclude the possibility of you getting creative. Then ask yourself this: would Aristotle, or whoever else you pick, accept Nietzsche’s theory of morality? Aristotle probably wouldn’t accept it. Why? For Aristotle, for example, community is very important. So, the isolated individual cannot possibly survive on his/her own. After the analysis, you’ll have to say whether you think that Nietzsche can sustain such a morality or not. Suggestions in favor of his morality: the individual has only him or herself and his or her life power/will to power, so it makes sense that everyone would want to be a master of one’s own destiny, etc. Suggestions against his morality: it leads to extreme individualism.

Ethical Dimension of Killing in order to Stop a Murder

Question 3: In Existentialism is a Humanism, Jean-Paul Sartre writes, “And at the point of departure there cannot be any other truth than this, I think, therefore I am, which is the absolute truth of consciousness as it attains to itself. Every theory which begins with man, outside of this moment of self-attainment, is a theory which thereby suppresses the truth, for outside of the Cartesian cogito, all objects are no more than probable, and any doctrine of probabilities which is not attached to a truth will crumble into nothing.” Explain how Sartre understands and subsequently, modifies, Descartes’ cogito argument. Why does Sartre do that? In other words, why is Sartre not entirely happy with the way Descartes develops the cogito argument? And finally, if Descartes were to respond to Sartre’s modified understanding of the cogito argument, would

Descartes agree with it or not?

Suggestions: in order to answer the question, you have to read carefully the passages that lead to the quoted sentence above, as well as the paragraph that follows it. Sartre’s modification of the cogito argument has to do with the emphasis on self-awareness as opposed to on the process of thinking as Sartre interpreted the original argument to be. It also has to do with Sartre’s preoccupation with the place of the other in one’s self-awareness. As for how Descartes would have responded to it, it could go either way, depending on how you interpret the original cogito argument. You just have to go with how you understand the original cogito argument.

Ethical Dimension of Killing in order to Stop a Murder

Question 4: In the Introduction to The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir writes, “She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the

Subject, he is the Absolute – she is the Other.” Explain what de Beauvoir means by the statement that woman is the other. (As part of your answer you should explain what he dynamics between the One and the Other is.) Then explain what solution to the woman not being the ‘other’ she proposes.

Suggestions: again, this question is based off the text. Keep in mind two things: for de Beauvoir the dichotomy one-other in principle is not a problem, but when it comes to the two genders (male and female), it becomes a problem in the sense that the one becomes the ideal, the absolute, the paradigm, the privileged and the other becomes the relative and secondary, the unimportant.

Don’t forget that her solution is what she calls “existentialist ethics” which preaches that women should not seek happiness but liberty.

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