Baruch Spinoza's Ethical Dilemmas

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When faced with an ethical dilemma, many people, look to their faith in God for guidance. It is quite understandable that the defined moral characteristics that religion provides helps individuals see through the uncertainty of life. The great philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, was a fervent believer of the almighty, and even argued that God predestined everything that happens to you. However, he encouraged his readers to not blindly worship the text. Instead, he advocated for the use of philosophical thinking to decipher God’s meaning. I commend Spinoza’s idea of worshipping beyond the biblical text, but my main criticism is purely subjective. I am not a heavily religious person. Therefore, when faced with a ethical dilemma, I choose to look for…show more content…
Next, Epictetus inches closer towards my preferred mode of thinking. Epictetus was a stoic philosopher who preached the value of free thought. I found his approach to life to be more laid back then the other two philosophers mentioned so far. Epictetus mentions very early on in his writing “Encheiridion”, that he doesn’t believe in material importance. To him the only thing we can control in life are our “...opinions...impulses, desires, [and] aversions” (Cahn, line 2). Basically, anything that was not of our own doing does not belong to us, nor is it apart of one’s true self. His rally against materialism is probably a nurturing of his time spent as a slave. Most of his philosophy in the “Encheiridion” actually seems to stem from his enslaved lifestyle. One of his main points revolves around the fact that it is our judgements about things that affect us. “For example, death is not dreadful, but instead the judgement about death that is dreadful” (Cahn, pt. 5). His message here is intense but the point he is communicating is that if you view everything as “not yours” than you cannot be upset when it leaves existence. A particular message Epictetus presents is his realism. I can identify with that half heartedly but his logic is sound. “Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well” (Cahn, pt. 8). In short, don’t live life wanting fame and fortune and you won’t feel despair when you never…show more content…
Lastly, Aristotle’s Teleology philosophy, as he describes in his writings of “Nicomachean Ethics”, seems to fit me best when I approach a ethical dilemma. Aristotle believed every action and decision aimed at achieving some form of good. Aristotle outlines what that good is in categorization of three conceptions. It is described as an achievement of happiness through “gratification, of political activity, and, third, of study” (Cahn, pt. 5). However, Aristotle describes the life of gratification as the most vulgar of the three, citing it as an indulgence in pleasure. This bleeds into my next major point I agree with Aristotle on. His belief in the idea, and presence, of virtuous men. He outlines the steps to becoming virtuous as basically not being extreme. He argues that the appropriate action for situations, or character traits, lies as a medium between the two most radical options. I consider myself a semi-rational guy. I do not jump into problems head on, but instead like to reflect my options and determine which one will aid me the most with achieving a favorable outcome. Another point Aristotle presents as a pillar of becoming a virtuous, and consequently happy, is his encouragement of self-improvement and increased wellness. However, Aristotle argues for experience as the best teacher of these traits. This makes perfect sense regarding his virtue theory revolves around acting virtuous in specific situations. “That is why a youth is not a suitable student of political
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