View Full Version : Where do our Perspectives Come From?

July 20th, 2011, 9:36 PM
In my Philosophy course, we discussed the many forms of authority of which we believe we formulate "rights" and "wrongs".

So which forms of authority do you think we should adhere to, if any?

- Divine (Religious)
- Legal/Lawful
- Parental (Upbringing)
- Inherent Beliefs
- Societal (Peers, media, adult-figures)
- Analyzing and Reflection upon life experiences.
- Other authorities you can come up with.

I am one to talk, I think that we should try our best to not get so heated about this discussion. I want everyone to gain some incite about how we as different people formulate opinions. So I want you to apply this discussion to Capitol Punishment, since it's a subject that is a bit less heated than discussion directly applicable to race, religion, sexuality, etc. (Not to say they do not apply at all)

1) Explain what your beliefs are.
2) List which forms of authority have effected your opinion.
3) Figure out why you believe the way you do.

My Example

1) I believe that although crimes may be heinous, we should not have capitol punishment. Also, those on death penalty serve a double sentence; they wait in jail for decades, and then they are punished by death. There have been some instances where inmates were so old that they were rolled in on their wheel chairs for their execution. I also believe that a death does not justify another's death.

2)Parental, Societal, Divine (indirectly)

3) PARENTAL AND DIVINE AUTHORITY: My parents are not religious, but their parents are. Anyway, my parents have taught me that "two wrongs do not equal a right." Although they may have been taught this through religious doctrine. They taught me in a secular fashion.

SOCIETAL: As I analyze other countries with the death penalty and often exercise the death penalty they seem to share a common trait. The top ten countries for most executions exercised are as follows: China, Iran, North Korea, U.S., Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Bangladesh, and Somalia. Generally, these are countries that are oppressive to their people. Although it is not 100% logical, I believe that the United States should not follow suit with these oppressive countries. The Americas and Europe, for the most part, have few nations that exercise Capitol Punishment. It alludes to me that the process is a bit barbaric in nature.

July 21st, 2011, 12:29 PM
1. As the death penalty does not apply to where I am, I do not have to deal with it. However, my opinion is that we are not ones who are allowed to play God in regards to death. Death is something that should occur naturally, not forced upon as a punishment. A life sentence is the punishment for such a strong offence. We shouldn't be allowed to decide who lives and who dies.

2.Inherent beliefs, parental (to an extent), divine (to an extent)

3. Inherent- We are no better than one another. And as such, we aren't allowed to play God. We do anyways. -.-

Parental and Divine- Religion has taught me that the gift of life is sacred. My upbringing has also caused me to value the gift of life.

July 21st, 2011, 12:36 PM
I hope this doesn't get too long.

Using your example of capital punishment I go about my views of it like this:

1) Think about what it is, what it means, what its purpose is.

It's a punishment for people who commit really bad crimes, usually murder, with the idea behind it that it makes them unable to hurt any more people, that it's a fitting punishment for the severity of the crimes they committed, and that it serves justice and brings closure to victims' families.

2) Question the reasoning behind assumptions and the established purpose or view of something.

Does it stop people from committing more crimes? Is there another way that could be done? Does a violent crime warrant more violence? What is justice? How do people find closure?

3) Try to come up with answers. This, I suppose, is where that list of authorities can come into play. Some of them are ones that I'd turn to in trying to find answers.

- Divine (Religious)
- Legal/Lawful
- Parental (Upbringing)
- Inherent Beliefs
- Societal (Peers, media, adult-figures)
- Analyzing and Reflection upon life experiences.
- Other authorities you can come up with.

In this example I'd look at things like: what the law says about crime and appropriate punishment, what kinds of statistics there are about the death penalty, and other 'facts' based sources. Then I'd look to my own moral compass and see if there is a justifiable need for something like capital punishment. I look at it as, well, killing someone and killing people is a bad thing so there needs to be some good reasoning behind doing something bad. If there is good reasoning and no alternative then it's probably okay to go ahead with something like capital punishment, though in my view there are better alternatives.

There's a lot of philosophy involved with the things I believe in, by which I mean that the topics surrounding my beliefs (regarding capital punishment and other things) usually have lots of people talking about them a whole bunch. I pretty much look at what they've said and find an answer and reasoning that I agree with and adopt that.

Depending on the issue I'd look to society and see what they feel, but often I think I'm thoughtful enough to come up with an opinion from the other kinds of sources I've mentioned.

July 21st, 2011, 4:07 PM
Well this is way too tough for me to think about, but I will try anyways!

1) I think that the death penalty's purpose is to ensure that criminals that commit horrendous crimes cannot commit any more acts against society. But isn't there are more humane punishment than death? I think life imprisonment is a better alternatives, to death row.

- Legal/Lawful
- Parental (Upbringing)
- Societal (Peers, media, adult-figures)

3) Legal: Well, the constitution states that we should not have cruel and unusual punishment. Inmates on death row suffer from "Death Row Syndrome". In which the inmate is in a constant state of anxiety of death. They deserve one punishment for a single crime, that is life imprisonment.

Parental: My parents do believe the same way. Do I believe in the "legal" portion of authorities because of them? I think I do to some extent.

Societal: Similar to what -Ty- said, when I see the other countries that still utilize the death penalty, I wonder how we can fall into the same category as them. These countries oppress their people; surely the U.S. is not nearly as oppressive as North Korea, and various North African and Middle Eastern Nations.

July 21st, 2011, 8:27 PM
It seems your teacher assumes everyone has a bias and there is no room for objectivity. But morality makes the most sense when it's studied as a science (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_of_morality) to find the universal morality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_universalism).

July 21st, 2011, 9:56 PM
1. I believe that the death penalty is an easy way out. Many murders feel great amount of remorse, I feel like they should have to live the rest of their lives doing that. Now, for the psychopaths who don't feel remorse, put them in solitary confinement for their entire lives. Much worse than dying. Them being people have nothing to do with it for me.
2. Inherent beliefs; Analyzing and Reflection upon life experiences; Parental influence
3. Well, I believe the way I do because I know how people think and I know the general "norm" among murderers. My parents are against it for religious reasons, I'm not religious but I'm sure that's a factor somehow.

July 21st, 2011, 10:02 PM
It seems your teacher assumes everyone has a bias and there is no room for objectivity. But morality makes the most sense when it's studied as a science (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_of_morality) to find the universal morality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_universalism).

I believe that "universal morality" is covered underneath inherent beliefs. Which is the belief that we are naturally born with a set of moral ideals as humans.

Here is an excerpt that addresses the meaning behind "universal morality". "The source or justification of this system is variously claimed to be human nature, a shared vulnerability to suffering, the demands of universal reason, common themes among existing moral codes, or the mandates of religion."

Don't worry, our course included both Moral Relativism and Moral Universalism. Thanks for the input! You should try filling out the rest of the prompt; I would be interested to hear what you have to say.

July 22nd, 2011, 2:54 AM
These are really useful thoughts as far as perspectives concern, some are really interesting and do make sense too. Mind blowing information though. Thanks for sharing.