1. What does Epicurus means by saying that pleasure is our ‘primary native good?
When Epicurus writes that pleasure is our “primary native good”, he is implying that what is pleasurable is also ultimately a good thing. Epicurus is referring to pleasure as a state of well-being and not as a temporary state of excitement and sensual stimulus. In other words, to dwell in a tranquil state of mind that is devoid of pain and fear. Epicurus uses our choice/aversion . . . Read More
Right from the publication of his first major work “The Selfish Gene Theory”, Richard Dawkins is never free of controversy. While Dawkins is impeccable as a scholar and an academic, most of his detractors are from the religious and conservative sections of the population. Over the years, Dawkins’ works on evolutionary biology have drawn equally vociferous applause and protest. The last in the sequence of his seminal works is “The God Delusion”. In this book, Dawkins strings . . . Read More
Thesis statement: Capital punishment proves ineffective as an instrument of deterring violent crime on political, ethical and theological grounds.
The American public has long been supportive of capital punishment for convicted murderers, and that support continues to grow even today. In a Gallup Poll conducted in 1981, two in three Americans expressed overall approval for the death penalty. That support rose to three in four people in 1991, and to four out of five in 1994. Although these polls need to be interpreted with careful attention, it is obvious that there . . . Read More
Hindus believe that the death of a human being only extinguishes the bodily form of existence as the soul reincarnates in another life form. The exercise of Sanatana Dharma (the central theological system) is to gain the favor of the powers of creation so that the soul finds a happier and an elevated existence in its next life-episode. A failure to live a virtuous life would demote the human soul to find the body of a lesser animal in its next life. These reincarnations are not meant to go on in never-ending cycles. The purpose of a Hindu’s life is to aspire for the ultimate experience of Absolute . . . Read More
Hinduism places emphasis on worship of nature. Indus Valley was the cradle of the religion. Hence, the way of life afforded by its geography holds religious significance as well. The Indus River was vital to the survival of its surrounding inhabitants; so worship of river god is a basic tenet. This also explains the reverence accorded to river Ganges, the dependents of which refer to it as Ganga Mata (Mother Ganga). The plains on either side of these rivers provide the necessary fertile grounds for growing subsistence crops. And at the time of composition of the Vedas, . . . Read More
Hinduism as a term was first coined by British colonialists to facilitate the process of census taking. Although the word Hindu derives from the river Indus and the civilizations that grew along its banks, Hindus form the majority in the Indian subcontinent and are settled across the length and breadth of the Indian landscape. Also, those who are categorized as Hindus have diverse ethnic, racial, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The concepts of the deity and philosophical . . . Read More
The Profession of Faith is Rousseau’s attempt at analyzing God and Religion. It concerns the Priest’s (the narrator) introspection of what his duties are as a human being. In particular, the Priest attempts to learn what mode of conduct God prescribes him. To decipher the “rules I ought to prescribe myself in order to fulfil my destiny on earth according to the intention of Him who put me there”. Consistent with the rest of the text, Rousseau emphasizes the significance of honest sentiment and its . . . Read More
Mythologies as Information Dispensers:
In the ancient world as is so in the modern world, myths have been an essential component of religion. In ancient societies, word of mouth stories were very significant because they explicated human and divine nature. In an era when the written script was not yet invented, this was a valuable method of information. The myths, packaged into stories, communicated history and preserved the past. Elements of intrigue and exaggeration were deliberately induced to make the assimilation and transmission more interesting. In other words, it could be asserted, that the Greek Mythology was the forebear for all subsequent performance arts. In the primitive world, mythology served as a primitive form of theatre. But this is only one side of the truth. Myths were cleverly used by the religious leaders to impose their authority on the unsuspecting masses. This was . . . Read More
Euthanasia is deliberate killing of a seriously or terminally ill human being, apparently for his/her benefit. The important word here is “deliberate”, meaning, to act upon a conscious decision. Euthanasia is also referred to as “mercy killing”. Euthanasia can be either voluntary or involuntary. Euthanasia is usually applied for terminal patient cases where there is no or little chance of recovery. Unfortunately, the recent times had seen euthanasia being interpreted in various and confusing ways, not all of which are agreeable to ethical codes of life.
Euthanasia is applicable for “terminally ill” patients, who have no scope of recovery and the rest of their life is bound to be full of suffering. However, in some conditions like comatose where there is a possibility of recovery, the decision to terminate life is not straight forward. So, it is argued, . . . Read More
Let us analyze the ethical aspects of human genetic engineering from a utilitarian view point. The practical implications of utilitarianism can best be conveyed in the context of recent advances in biotechnology. Now that the human genome has been decoded, the ramifications of a utilitarian ethic go far beyond socioeconomic and legislative reform. In a period of post-genomic medical progress, they extend to the influence of the pleasure-pain axis itself. By unscrambling the molecular substrates of emotion, biotechnology allied to nano-medicine permits the magnitude, value, duration and allocation of happiness and misery in the world to be controlled eventually at will. More controversially, the dilemmas of traditional casuistry will lose their relevance (Utilitarian Bioethics). This is because our imminent mastery of the reward centers ensures that everyone can be heritably better specimens – a utopian-sounding prediction that currently still strikes most of us as comically . . . Read More