Hey everyone! I can’t believe it’s already the third week of classes! In this post, I wanted to talk to you about a rather interesting class I am taking this semester. I am a biological sciences major, so I certainly have a plethora of science to trudge through. However, I wanted to explore other realms. I, for one, have always wanted to explore philosophy. It is a subject in which one widens horizons of the mind and learns to look at the world with a new perspective. You discover who you are and what your own philosophy of living life is. As a result, I am considering minoring in philosophy. I registered for the Intro to Ethics class this semester, and let me just tell you, it is quite fascinating already!
My professor’s name is David Rose. He is really great. The class I am in meets once a week on Wednesdays from 9:50 am to 12:50 pm. Each week, a reading is assigned and students are asked to write a brief one page, double-spaced, summary. In class, Mr. Rose further elaborates on the reading to emphasize the key points and clear any doubts. Afterwards, we have discussions about the reading, like professional philosophers, which can get fairly intense.
One interesting discussion we recently had involves moral relativism. Moral relativism is a concept that states that there is no single true morality; something that is “wrong” according to one person moral standards might be right in standards of another. A very controversial question arose in this week’s reading titled, “Who’s to Judge,” by Louis Pojman: if in fact everything is relative to context and person, then can’t one say that Adolf Hitler was not wrong according to his own moral principles? Of course, then Pojman counters the following question by claiming that every society has a set of ubiquitous moral standards such as nonviolence, respect, and honesty that people are expected to abide by.
Another intriguing arena my class delved into this week was regarding meat consumption. Three scenarios were presented in a video: 1) people in Iceland have no idea that they are fed rotten shark meat in a restaurant; 2) a tribe violently abuses dogs and eat its meat; and 3) another tribe in New Guinea kills other humans for revenge and eats their meat. The question was whether it was ethical to consume these meats. After seeing the first scenario, most students said it was the peoples personal choice what meat they preferred to consume. However, after watching the following two scenarios, you can imagine how the relative morality was challenged because the question became “is it actually still personal preference if dog meat and human meat are involved?”
I discovered that the great part about philosophy is that every argument or statement you make has many facets. Your opponents can and will find a million ways to counter your points, and the strange thing is that you can also find a million ways to fight back because there is always a philosophical theory to support a point. The fun lies in finding ways to twist and turn the points for the argument. Philosophical discussions are very unpredictable and energized.
I really suggest taking at least one introductory philosophy course here at Rutgers! It’s very enlightening, and I guarantee it will play a vital role in shaping your beliefs and view of yourself and your surroundings.