Blog #59: Not your average Grey’s Anatomy episode

–Read pages 205-212 in Wolff

Blog 59–Pick three things from the Ethical Dimensions of Medicine section of chapter 5 and apply them to the covid-19 situation. 

The reading talks about how people in poverty often place themselves in danger in order to save their families. The rich are privileged and able to care of themselves just fine.

This relates to Covid-19 because impoverished people are disproportionately affected by the disease. For example, wealthier families are able to stay home and live off their savings. They are able to order groceries on Amazon and work from home. They are able to drive to test centers and afford the test kits. People living in poverty are endangering themselves by taking jobs at grocery stores in need of workers or continuing to go to work in public places in order to keep their families afloat. Lots of people have lost their jobs. They can’t afford medicine or fresh produce. They don’t have hefty savings to live off of. They have no place to put their children who were supposed to be at school eating reduced-price lunches so they could remain healthy. They’re unable to get their groceries using their food stamps because everyone has selfishly taken everything off the shelves.

The reading discusses the idea that doctors need to inform their patients of what is going on, even if it’s bad news

Many hospitals in Italy and other places unable to handle the influx of patients with Covid-19 are forced to tell their patients they will not receive treatment because their likelihood of survival is low. The elderly with pre-existing conditions are at the highest risk of dying from the disease and are often being told they can’t receive treatment such as ventilators because there aren’t enough available for everyone who needs one. As difficult as it is for doctors to tell their patients they’ll die and that there’s nothing to be done about it, doctors are committed to honesty and efficiency so that they can treat as many promising people as possible.

The book also discusses how medical ethics is very situational

Things are being dealt with on a very situational basis. Doctors are having to split ventilators between two patients even though the effects of doing so have not been studied. They are sending sick people home and asking them not to come in because they can’t fit anyone else into their hospitals or into their schedules. They are delivering care without proper protective gear because if they don’t act immediately more people will die. These decisions are made quickly and go against traditional approaches. However, in a crisis like this, people need to act and make decisions situationally.

Blog #58: LeT mE OuT

Blog 58–How are you doing reflective blog part II. What is the hardest part of social isolation?

It hasn’t really hit me yet that senior year is over for good. It’s not just that this year is over, but high school is over for good which is a huge bummer. I’m really upset that I won’t get to say goodbye to my teachers or peers. Chances are I’ll see some people during the summer once this quarantine stuff is over, but a lot of people I won’t. I wish I knew my last day at Washington-Liberty was the last. I miss being in the classroom and I miss GP. The only reason I’ve ever been okay with school and all the work we have is that I got to see my friends and teachers every day. Now all I have is hours of pointless work to do alone in my room. I miss people a lot.

It’s been hard for me to be optimistic about really anything lately. There is so much uncertainty about grading and senior experience. I don’t even know when we’ll all be allowed outside again. I have very little motivation to complete assignments because I don’t see the point. I don’t particularly care about physics class or Spanish class so why do I still have to do work for the classes. This is a whole other level of senioritis. I feel bad saying that, but the truth is I just want to spend my time on things that I care about. Luckily, I still care about philosophy though!

I’ve also been trying to fill out all these forms for government background checks for my FEMA internship. It is a whole new level of tediousness and torture typing every little detail about my past. I’m hopefully going to be working with the FEMA office of external affairs and doing communications work for my senior experience. I’ve recieved the tentative internship offer, but it’s not official yet. It’s hard to balance my FEMA work with my school work. However, I guess teachers assume that all I have right now is schoolwork.

The hardest part of isolation is looking on the bright side. Being stuck inside with literally nothing to do but chores and homework can get depressing. Obviously though, I know I am extremely privileged to be in the position I am. I am healthy, I have food to eat, and solid wifi. There are so many people who have it so much worse. However, this all still seems kind of shitty. Being a very hyper and outgoing person, social isolation has proven to be very difficult. I just never expected this to happen and I don’t particularly like it, but there’s nothing I can do.

Blog #57: Girl Power <3

Blog 57–Feminist Ethics. What are your impressions of the arguments of Jaggar? Make specific connections to the readings. 

It is clear that Jaggar believed women had a far more difficult time than men incorporating their ideas into the world of philosophy. In her “Feminism in Ethics: Moral Justification” she outlines how the basis of philosophy was based off of a “western male head of household, upper or middle class, [who was] therefore probably white.” This argument brings up the idea that there was a uniform perspective that famous philosophers like Hume, Berkley, ect. held. Because those philosophers and their ideas are the basis for philosophy (even still today), ideas from women and from the female perspective are often deemed outrageous and ill-thought-out. Jaggar makes a great point. People from different backgrounds have different ideas. Men have different perspectives than women on a lot of things. Since philosophy was, and really still is, such a male-dominated field, feminist ideas can sometimes be difficult to articulate. However, in the past it was a lot more challenging for female philsophers than today. The feminist vocabulary had not yet been established, especially not in the world of philosophy. A lot of moral ethics involved male dominated societies in which women were of less importance. Therefore, when a woman expressed her ideas, particularly philosophical ones, she was often ignored.

–RE–Read pages 181 to 186 in Wolff’s About Philosophy, and the Catherine MacKinnon article link from the NYT. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/books/review/metoo-workplace-sexual-harassment-catharine-mackinnon.html

What are your impressions of Mackinnon’s arguments?

Mackinnon makes great arguments that actually mirror a lot of Jaggars’s points about the struggles women face trying to articulate feminist philosophy. Mackinnon discusses the importance of a unified front with a name. For example, she thought that the #Metoo movement allowed for sexual assault, especially in the workplace, to be taken more seriously. Before all of the large scale movements, women often did not have the means to express that they felt uncomfortable with the assault they faced. It was morally acceptable at the time for women to be mistreated and sexually abused, especially at work. Some victims were taken seriously, unfortunately though, most were not. It was not until well-known feminist movements, that the vocabulary and credibility of women were established. The widely accepted ideas and arguments that came along with these movements allowed people to better understand female ethics and rights. Now when people hear about sexual assault and rape it is taken seriously (at least in most cases). The MeToo movement has shed a light on the problems with male-dominated societies and forcefully putting women down. Due to the MeToo movement, there is now a wider variety of feminist language and rhetoric available. There are more tools available that people can use to describe feminism and explain female ethics. Although there is still a great deal of work to be done in furthering the feminist agenda, society has come a long way, especially in the United States. I, however, understand that I am privileged to live in a place where women are given the rights that they are. Many communities are still oppressive patriarchal societies where women possess no worth as human beings. It is very important to take into account culture when discussing these kinds of issues. For the purpose of this blog post I related feminist ethics and the points Jaggar and Mackinnon make to where I live.

Blog #56: It’s not the same :/

Blog 56–How was the Google Meet chat as an education experience? What did you think of the format? What did you think of the discussion? Did it feel like school? General impressions. 

Discussion #1: The Google Meet chat was a nice way to reconnect but I didn’t feel like I learned anything. The lack of intellectual conversation was partly due to the technical difficulties of having 25 students on a video chat, but we all clearly just wanted to catch up with each other. Plus it felt good to talk to people I hadn’t in a while (and we got to wear pajamas). The format was okay, but would definitely be better in a smaller group. Our discussion was nice because we got to hear how everyone was feeling about school being over (and no more senior year *merp*). I really miss my classmates so that was a nice goodbye. It didn’t really feel like school though. I miss being in a classroom and being able to talk to people in person. Online discussions feel kind of ingenuine and it’s hard to hear people. I’m trying to make the best of this though, this whole online learning thing. I actually don’t know how online school students do this everyday, it’s kind of depressing, this lack of real human contact.

Discussion #2: That discussion sure went better than yesterday’s (lol). At the start of the call, we discussed how Kant’s traditional ideas juxtapose Jaggars radical which was very interesting. It became clear that Kant had a more man driven agenda whereas Jaggar based her philosophy on the struggles that women face and how it makes it more difficult for women to articulate their ideas. Everyone made great points about how a limited vocabulary and radical ideas can be shocking to the philosophical world. We talked about how the basis of philosophy is very uniform and was often driven by the white upperclass men, making it harder for women’s ideas to permeate. My favorite part of the discussion was the respectful disagreement that allowed us to push each other and further develop our arguments.

Blog #55: Olivia made a sweatshirt!

She recently finished designing a “Loded Diper” sweatshirt from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. To make it, she painted the logo on the back by combining fabric medium and paint. She then iron pressed it to make sure it stayed when she washed it. It came out really great. I was very impressed. I pasted in a picture below.

She also went through old shirts that she wasn’t wearing regularly and reinvented them by stitching them or cutting them. She is currently tailoring a pair of pants right now so that they fit better.

Although she’s making good progress with her tailoring and upcycling, she is experiencing a few minor difficulties. Since she doesn’t have her own sewing machine she has to do all the stitching by hand which is probably very tedious and hard to do. However, being able to hand-sew is a very handy skill (no pun intended) and it’ll help her in the long run.

It’s been super cool to see how her creativity is driving her techne and I’m excited to see her future creations!

Blog #54: Full Circle

  • Blog 54: Why is the concept of “virtue” in virtue ethics circular reasoning? Cite from the Wolff book. 

“We acquire intellectual virtue through the teaching of others, but we acquire moral virtue by doing virtuous things until they are habitual; and Aristotle’s ideal person is one who makes the right choices by habit, or one for whom making the right choice is second nature.”

(168, Wolff)

The logical form of “circular reasoning”:

X is true because of Y

Y is true because of X

It is the right choice because it was made by a virtuous person

The person is virtuous because they make the right choices

This is circular reasoning because it can be assumed that virtuous people will do virtuous things regularly once it becomes natural to them. Therefore, we do not have to question whether the actions of a virtuous person are right or wrong; it can be assumed that they are right.

According to the Parts of Natural Law Theory, we have the tools we need to know what is good. Therefore, everyone is capable of knowing and doing good. If we assume that everyone is capable of knowing the difference between good and bad and right from wrong, then we can assume that those who consciously choose to be virtuous can be so eventually.

Blog #53: Too Real

  • Blog 53: Read up to page 5 of the following pdf stopping at “Bentham’s Panopticon…” How does this reading connect to the world’s response to covid 19? What ethical system, if any, is at work? What imperfect society is best equipped to carry these procedures out and why? https://muse.jhu.edu/article/252435/pdf (Links to an external site.)

How does this reading connect to the world’s response to covid 19?

“First, a strict spatial partitioning: the closing of the town and
its outlying districts, a prohibition to leave the town on pain of
death, the killing of all stray animals; the division of the town
into distinct quarters, each governed by an intendant. “

Page 1

The response to Covid-19 has also been to close things down and have people remain in their respected quarters. In addition, people’s identities are now often defined by their disease. The stigma that surrounds lepers in the reading surrounds people with Coronavirus as well. When somebody even suspects that their peer may have the virus, their perspective on them shifts to a negative and fearful one. People are so scared of becoming sick that they don’t see those infected as people. They simply see them as diseased.

What ethical system, if any, is at work?

“The registration of the pathological must be constantly centralized. The relation of each individual to his disease and to his death passes through the representatives of power, the registration they make of it, the decisions they take on it.”

Page 2

This is a form of Classical Utilitarianism (in any given situation, you should choose the action that produces the greatest good for the greatest number). Society’s rulers are trying to contain the virus and ensure the safety of the majority, even if that means outcasting those who are infected. They are also sacrificing some small parts of everyone’s freedom (keeping people inside) so that everyone can receive more important benefits in the long run like good health.

What imperfect society is best equipped to carry these procedures out and why?

“Inspection functions ceaselessly. The gaze is alert everywhere:
‘A considerable body of militia, commanded by good officers
and men of substance’, guards at the gates, at the town hall and
in every quarter to ensure the prompt obedience of the people
and the most absolute authority of the magistrates, ‘as also to
observe all disorder, theft and extortion’”

Page 2

Timarchy is best equipped to carry out these procedures because they are the society most focused on utilizing military strength to enforce rules. They are driven mainly by spirit and courage which is what is being shown by the militia in the reading. People are not only supposed to fear the virus, but they are meant to fear the consequences the military will impose if they are not compliant with quarantine regulation.

Blog #52: Techne Update (number two)

  • Blog 52: Techne Check in number 2–where are you with your personal techne development?

Where I’m at: One would think that I’d spend my time watching movies over this Covid-19 break to catch up on my Techne stuff, but in all honesty, I’ve really been slacking. I don’t want to be in my room doing nothing and I’ve been in denial about this whole social distancing thing (don’t worry though I’ve been staying home as much as possible). Plus, I’ve had a lot of online assignments to do. I haven’t watched any movies since last week when I watched the Pianist, and I’m a bit disappointed in myself. I also felt kind of self-conscious after hearing the other things people were doing for their technes like gardening or pottery, but I’ve always wanted to watch more movies and I need to learn to focus on myself. Now is my chance to achieve my personal goals.

Where I’m going: I do plan to watch a movie after I finish this blog post. I think I’m going to watch Black Swan (Olivia’s recommendation). Maybe watching movies will help me to keep my mind off of stressful things and enjoy myself a bit more. I still feel a lot of anxiety before starting a movie because of the time commitment, but that is something I am going to work on. I will continue to challenge myself.

Blog #51: Day 2 in Quarantine and I’m already sick of it (no pun intended)

Blog 51: Write a reflective blog about where you are in your life at the moment, concerns and anxieties over covid-19, your future, the future of the world, etc. All the big stuff.

I hate being home because of the Coronavirus. I’m constantly stressed that I’m going to fall behind in the mess of online assignments being posted to CANVAS every hour. I have seven different teachers posting different kinds of homework at different times on different platforms. There is no consistency and it’s very overwhelming. 

I’m also worried that Covid-19 is going to mess up all the fun parts of my senior year. I’ve always been a hard worker, but I need a break. I’ve really been looking forward to the fun more laid back parts of senior year, and instead, this is what I get. This online school thing is stressful and I just want to be in class with an actual teacher learning beside my friends for our final year together. Part of me just wants to ignore all the assignments I have to do, but I’m just not that kind of person. I know in my heart that I’m going to end up doing all the work my teachers are positing because I’ll get too anxious if I don’t. I know teachers weren’t supposed to make things for a grade, but I can already see most of my teachers working around that.

I don’t want to miss out on prom, senior experience, and school sports games because of this disease. I don’t want to have a delayed start to college or a new outbreak once I’m already there. I just wish this wasn’t happening, but these kinds of things are beyond my control. I also hate the idea of “social distancing”. I’m a very social person, and being isolated is going to drive me crazy. I just hope we get to go back to school soon. 

I know this was a really whiny blog, but that’s just how I’m feeling at the moment. However, I have been actively trying to make the best of things. I’ve been staying busy while also making time to go outside or meditate. I hope things turn around soon though. 

Blog #50: Deciding who lives or dies in Italy

  • Blog 50: Read the following article and identify where you could apply Kantian, Utilitarian, and Virtue ethics to what is happening in Italy. 

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/who-gets-hospital-bed/607807/

Kantian: If doctors in Italy were to follow Kantian Ethics, they wouldn’t be able to choose who gets a ventilator and who does not based on age and health. Not giving somebody with respiratory problems a ventilator imposes on that person’s free will and puts one person’s life over another, which Kant would not agree with. 

Utilitarianism: The doctors in Italy are practicing utilitarianism, specifically Classical Utilitarianism because they are trying to choose the action that will benefit the most people, even if that means sacrificing the lives of a few people. They are choosing to use their supplies on people who have a greater chance of survival and leaving the old and very sick people to die.

Virtue ethics: This is being applied in the sense that doctors are doing everything in their power to help everyone possible, but then when they can’t, they are reassessing the situation and recognizing they need to put some lives over others. Doctors are looking for the Golden Mean and assessing their abilities. Since they know that they are only capable of saving a certain amount of lives due to limited resources, they are choosing to save the people who have the highest chance of survival.

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