1. Outline the categories of violence as described by Jamil Salmi.
According to Salmi, the phenomenon of violence has many characteristics, with particular causes per characteristic and with particular causational agents per cause. Violence also exists in several forms, including direct violence, indirect violence, repressive violence, and alienating violence.
Direct violence is characterized by any physical, in-person act causing intended harm. In this category would be included A) any act resulting in death (homicide, genocide, infanticide); and B) any “coercive or brutal” (Module 6, 44) at threatening or resulting in physical or psychological damage or suffering—including rape, spousal abuse, political imprisonment, for example.
Indirect violence is characterized by “harmful” to “deadly” acts/actions (44) that do not necessarily involve direct contact, or a direct relationship, between the causational agent and the recipient of the violence. Indirect violence can be that by omission or that which is mediated. Indirect violence by omission involves the absence of any action to help the recipient or potential recipient in danger of violence—“criminal failure to intervene” (45) found, for example, in incidents of rape, where onlookers do nothing to help stop it; failure during the Holocaust on the part of everyone from neighboring German citizens to neighboring nations to intervene; and even failure by an employer to provide safe working conditions where danger, harm, or death is imminent. Indirect mediated violence is that whereby the causational agent is taking :deliberate” (46) action(s) which result in indirect, latent or delayed harm to an ecological or social environment—found in several such instances, from deforestation to lead in toothpaste tubes..
Repressive violence involves the denial of any human, social, legal, or political right, for example, and includes every “violent” action of this kind from censorship of the teaching of an elementary school book to imprisonment of individuals speaking opinions on political leaders. And alienating violence is considered to be the act of deprivation of a person’s or group’s “higher rights”— involving the needs beyond those on the Maslovian hierarchy: such as the right to psychological integrity, the right to emotional integrity, the right to social/cultural integrity, and the right to intellectual integrity deprived in workplace disempowerment, in the stifling of an artwork, child emotional neglect, and, again, the Holocaust (whereby beyond murder was the total devastation of Jewish identity).
The euthanasia debate is one which is primed for arguing several of Salmi’s categorical definitions of violence. For example, on one side of the debate is the death with dignity movement, proponents of which would argue that law and law enforcement prohibiting assisted suicide is a form of indirect violence—as such prohibition inadvertently causes harm/suffering to the psychological integrity of the person with stage III cancer. On the other side of the debate is the right-wing/Christian collective, likely arguing that any form of euthanasia (that committed in suicide or that committed in assisting suicide) is 1) direct violence, as it deliberately ends human life and is also indirect violence, and is indirect violence by omission in its failure to stop the “violence". For the latter group, then, it is of benefit to understand euthanasia as the equalent of such forms of violence because understanding would allow for alternatives and thus for proving human dignity can be nurtured and respected in the face of mortality, without violence.
2. Outline the traditional view of ethics.
The traditional view of ethics according to Hans Jonas (Module I, 3) is characterized by four precepts: 1. the neutrality, for humans, toward the human/non-human relationship; 2. the anthropocentric nature of traditional ethics; 3. the premise that the essence of humanness (of humans, of the human condition; see Module I, 4) is unchangeable/unalterable; and 4. The prevailing notion that we are here and now and no future action is of consequence to us, nor should we be held accountable, in the future, for that which we do today. And it is these in combination that make philosophers balk.
Informed by the understanding that, as the slogan goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, the traditional view of ethics, also according to Hans Jonas (and several others ) is subject to problems with technological advancement that seem unsolvable. Take the last precept as a starting point. We are, by traditional ethics, exempt from what happens in the future—even when it is based on, informed by, or a direct r indirect result of what we do today with technological “improvements” we make in the name of “progress”. Then, take, for example, germ-line engineering. We innovate today so parents can browse and choose from a catalog of genetic preferables. The future, therefore will involve political problems (over who gets to control, who has to pay, who is left out); social issues (equality, competitive edge, etc., will take on whole new meanings and dimensions); and other now only conjectured about complications. But for those of traditional ethics, free will is now, determinism is what will be taking place in that future, and ultimately, how we are, who we are, and what we do today is focused on free will and beneficent technological innovation; humanness today as it changes, challenges, or harms future humanness, or, especially irrelevant, non-humanness, will be on account of deterministic outcomes and is not our fault, problem, or responsibility.
3. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the democratic system. How are these related to multicultural issues?
Democracy, by its very definition, is rooted in principles of equality and freedom—freedom to choose (be autonomous), freedom of religion, intellectual freedom, and political freedom. Democracy is also informed by prevailing notions of humans as rational, moral beings who want and aim for the greatest good for all. However, the numbers have it that what is only possible is the greatest good for the greatest number of people, and in a democracy, the weaknesses are spotlighted whenever this greatest number of people—aka the majority—is in competition and/or in power.
In other words, there exist two phenomenon that characterize the downside of democracy: tyranny of the majority and persistence of the minority, or, “the persistent minority” (Module 6, 26). With the probability of the former, the majority sets its own agendas and seeks its own best interests. With sheer the reality of numbers alone, the majority will always have more heads and more power, while the majority (which, wherever there is a “majority” has to result as the minority) will always lose by default to “majority rule” (26).
In other words, this system of government, ostensibly with goals for the good for all, inevitably results in the marginalization of entire (smaller and therefore lesser) populations—simply because of numbers logic and majority numbers largess.
4. Explain the ways in which modern technology is implicated in global poverty. To what extent should wealthier nations be held accountable? If we are morally required to provide aid, what kind of aid, to what extent, and for how long?
There are several ways to view the rich should give to the poor argument—from moral and practical vantage points, for starters, but, in essence, from the core principles of three views combined: From the position of the argument for virtue, as moral, ethical, agents (Module 6, 33), we humans of wealthier nations must avoid falling into a state of apathy. That is, we must start with the very definition of indirect violence by omission as outlined by Salmi, and say that to do nothing is to commit the equivalent act of harming the physical, psychological, and even social integrity of a peoples.
But from the position of the Not Just Bad Luck viewpoint, we must concede that it is not just determinism but—in a context of compatibilism—but free will, the free will of wealthier nations having exploited the less well off nations to become the wealthier nations that has contributed to the cause behind their impoverishment. So, now, we must mitigate, make up for, or balance out the bad we have done with good we must do.
Then, from the place of utilitarianism, if we are as a nation in comparison with other nations wealthy but as a nation in and of itself have only pockets of wealthier groups—and thereby have our own groups of impoverished—we must first help our own groups within. So now, by utilitarian standards, practices, and principles we must 1. first help ourselves to strengthen the weaker parts of ourselves; then2 as moral agents must assist (taking the the most useful action, which is the best action); and 3. as culpable causational agents must mitigate, make up for, or balance out the bad we have done with good we must do (for the act must be equal to all other acts in terms of good-ness it does).
This still leaves the issues of the probability of the extent to which—like going to war does harm but going to war to rescue millions of Jews from annihilation is good—our helping is actually harming, a conundrum concerning free will and determinism to the nth degree.
Authorlast name, Authorfirstname. Contemporary Moral Issues; Modules I-VI. Philosophy 2525e1, College. Date of Publication.