Module #5 Plante Exercises 1 Paper

Published: 2021-09-02 07:20:13
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Brendan P. Sehgal 10/06/19
Exercise 1.1: Here’s an exercise to help you better understand the influence of your own cultural traditions on your ethical decision making. You may want to write in your journal as you answer these questions.
What is your ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, religious, and geographic identity? How would you describe your background, as well as the background of your family members from previous generations?
Now, what qualities and values would you say are characteristic of people who come from backgrounds like yours?
Finally, how do these qualities and values inform your style of ethical decision making? Are you more individualistic or community oriented, for example? Do you value open expression of feelings and beliefs or a more reserved approach? Do you feel more democratic (let the majority rule) or more autocratic (the head of the family decides) in your decision making?
What have you learned about yourself in this exercise? How does your background influence the way you approach ethical problems? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “not at all” and 10 is “very,” how useful do you think cultural relativism is in helping you make good ethical decisions?
Q: What is your ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, religious, and geographic identity? How would you describe your background, as well as the background of your family members from previous generations?
My ethnic identity is Asian; I am Indian. I come from a middle-class family. Our family is Hindu, but we practice Sikhism as well. My parents emigrated from India, while I am first generation born and raised in USA. My parents and grandparents are from a region in northern India called Punjab.
Q: Now, what qualities and values would you say are characteristic of people who come from backgrounds like yours?
There are many Sikhs in the world. Most of the Sikhs live in the Punjab which is in India.  Sikhism believes good actions are important instead of just carrying out rituals. Sikhs believe that to have a good life, we need to do good deeds in our minds at all times. Also, it is important to live honestly, work hard, treat everyone equally with respect, be generous to the less fortunate, and serve others. They value – Gender Equality, Racial Diversity, Freedom of Religion, Equality of Opportunity, and Community Service.
Q: Finally, how do these qualities and values inform your style of ethical decision making?
Multiple qualities and values inform my style of ethical decision making. i.e.
Moral Standard: Be the morally good person, and rise higher and higher away from ego towards the larger self. Moral standard is based on the following virtues – wisdom, truthfulness, justice, temperance, courage, humility, contentment, and love for humanity.
Duties: Perform all of the duties to the best of my ability depending upon the station of life I am in. The moral duties are right belief, right livelihood and helping the needy, chastity and fidelity, duty of serving others.
Social Ethics: Caste inequality, relation among economic classes, relation among people of different religions and nationalities, and status of women in society.
Q: Are you more individualistic or community oriented, for example?
I am more community oriented; strictly from definition, I focus on promoting selflessness and sometimes putting the community needs ahead my own individual needs. Being able to work as a group and support others is essential. Many people are encouraged to do what’s best for society in general. Families and communities have a central role. Greater emphasis on common goals over individual pursuits is important.
Q: Do you value open expression of feelings and beliefs or a more reserved approach?
I value a more reserved approach, since my emphasis is on the importance of doing good actions, treating everyone equally, being generous to the less fortunate, and serving others.
Q: Do you feel more democratic (let the majority rule) or more autocratic (the head of the family decides) in your decision making?
I feel more autocratic, since my parents in the family make decision and set boundaries for me. This allows me to be guided in the right direction. My parents will never tell me to do something wrong, and I should always obey them.
Q: What have you learned about yourself in this exercise? How does your background influence the way you approach ethical problems?
I have learned about my true roots and why my identity is affiliated with the idea of ethics in everyday life. My background influences the way I approach ethical problems in which Punjabis always talk from the heart. They are sharp shooters; this means they follow a direct approach to speaking rather than behind a person’s back. They like to tell the truth and they don’t like lies. Even if somebody gets upset, they are going to say the truth even if the truth is bitter.
Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “not at all” and 10 is “very,” how useful do you think cultural relativism is in helping you make good ethical decisions?
I think my cultural relativism is a 9, since this helps me know that I should not judge a culture to our own standards of what is right or wrong and instead should try to understand cultural practices of other groups in their own respective cultural context.
Exercise 1.2: Here’s an exercise to highlight how important egoism might be in your life. Again, you may want to write in your journal as you answer these questions.
What makes you feel good? Do you pride yourself on being a good parent, an employee who is honest and fair, and a generous person with others? Do you volunteer in some capacity? If so, how does volunteerism make you feel? What do you get out of selfless, generous, or kind acts? What do these questions tell you about your motives? Do you act in an ethical manner for the benefit of others, for yourself, or for all parties? Be honest with yourself. Are you likely to behave in an ethical way only if it benefits you? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “not at all” and 10 is “very,” rate how useful you think egoism is in helping you make good ethical decisions.
Q: What makes you feel good?
As an egoist, happiness is regarded as ultimate and intrinsically valuable insofar as it is pursued for its own sake and not for the sake of something else. In my opinion, a person is selfish if and only if a person pursues self-interests without regard to the interests of others; ethical egoism does not say to be selfish in this way. Furthering my own interests and happiness often depends upon furthering the interests of others. For me, happiness of other people matters, but only insofar as it factors into promoting my own happiness. Ethical egoism does not say that you should pursue only your basest, immediate, and most sensual wants and desires. Some actions are good not because they are done for self-happiness, but because they benefit someone else, i.e. they promote another’s happiness.
Q: Do you pride yourself on being a good parent, an employee who is honest and fair, and a generous person with others?
I am not a parent, nor do I have experience with kids yet. I do pride myself on being a good employee. Gratitude, compassion, and pride makes me more willing to cooperate with, and invest in others.
Q: Do you volunteer in some capacity? If so, how does volunteerism make you feel?
Yes, I had been volunteering since my childhood and I continue to devote time at my church as well as different organizations. Volunteering makes me happy, increases self-confidence, and brings a positive view to my life and future goals. The most valuable assets I earned by volunteering are compassion, open-mindedness, a willingness to pitch in wherever needed, and a positive attitude.
Q: What do you get out of selfless, generous, or kind acts?
Giving to others helps me protect my mental and physical health. It reduces stress, combat depression, keeps me mentally stimulated, and provides a sense of purpose. Besides that, it helps to connect to others, and brings fun and fulfillment in my life. One thing I have learned is that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience. Volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment nor take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. By taking the time to give in through even simple ways, you can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.
Q: What do these questions tell you about your motives?
Self-interest motivates many of our behaviors, even our gracious and generous ones. Sometimes, altruism really is in the service of narcissism. For example, I donate money to a worthy charity to feel less guilty about not helping out more. I just don’t want to argue with the person making the request. I volunteer to help others in need.
Q: Do you act in an ethical manner for the benefit of others, for yourself, or for all parties? Be honest with yourself.
I act in the ethical benefit for all parties. Participation on volunteer practices is a “selfless service”, performed without any thought of reward or personal benefit. My parents always encourage me to perform selfless voluntary services. This is not only good for moral uplifting of the person, but also is good for a community.
Q: Are you likely to behave in an ethical way only if it benefits you?
No, I am not likely to behave in an ethical way that only benefits me. As an ethical egoist, I view everything I do as an extension of a desire to live at peace in a society that respects all; every positive action I take is actually a selfish activity, so that I can make a better society to live in. In this way, I can be positive in my actions making what are apparent good and ethical decisions.
Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “not at all” and 10 is “very,” rate how useful you think egoism is in helping you make good ethical decisions.
I behave ethically all the time. I would rate my egoism as 9. Another way to demonstrate egoism is to place myself in a situation in which I see someone who requires help. Suppose I decide that not assisting would cause me to feel guilty, thereby troubling myself. As a response, I assist the person. From an outsider’s perspective, I was acting selflessly and in the interest of the person who was requiring assistance. The end result of my actions, though, was twofold:
My actions assisted the person in need.
My actions made me feel good, allowing me to rid myself of that troubling feeling resulting from guilt.

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