Throwing Away Perfectly Good Meals- Julie Cardillo

In the United States, people tend to take their meals and food for granted. Based on my experience of seeing my friends and others eating at restaurants or at home, it appears that it is a social norm to not finish your whole meal and then just have it thrown it away. Personally, I do not like to waste food, so whenever I do not finish my meal, I ask for a take out box or I will save the food for later. This does not affect my food choice, but it does for many people. This social norm connects to food choice because people think that it is “okay” to order/cook and not finish any kind of meal (whether it may be a sandwich or a chicken dinner with various sides) and just aimlessly throw away a perfectly good meal. This also connects to food choice because if someone knows they are not going to eat most of a big meal, then they should order/cook something small, so they don’t waste any food.

The main societal issues that this connects to are food waste and environmental issues. People tossing out meals causes environmental issues since the leftover food is being thrown into landfills, where it decomposes and produces gases that are bad for the environment. Also, when people throw away perfectly good meals, they are being altruistic because there people from other countries starving to death and would do anything to have even a fraction of the thrown out meal. Just as the module states, “If we care about distributive justice, then we may choose foods that leave more food available for others.” Wasting food also causes money to be wasted since the food cost money to be put on the table. Thus, in my opinion, I think that the social norm should be that it is “not okay” to toss out the rest of your meal, rather that that the norm is to save the food for later or not order/cook more than you can finish.


Ethic Views

  1. Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?
  • I think it is more important to be a good person than to perform good acts. I think if somebody is truly a good person, their natural intuition would be to do good acts. Somebody who does good acts might not have the right intentions behind that act. They might only be doing it for attention, or for some anthropocentric reason. Virtue is greater than action because virtue ethics determine what we should be and it is better if a person is doing an action genuinely because they are a good person, not just because they feel like they should or have to – it is more important to be a good person than to simply do good things. To be a good person means that someone is performing things due to his or her moral values. Like the module states however, actions and virtues can go hand in hand, and in order to be a good person, you have to perform good actions and vice versa. Like Aristotle once said, the origin of action is choice and that of choice is desire. Good actions begin with who we are, which is why I feel it is more important to be a good person.
  1. Do the ends justify the means (ends ethics vs. means ethics)?
  • I do not believe that the ends justify the means, because no matter how good of an intention a person has, this intention cannot justify actions that are immoral and unethical. Though there can be a right way of doing things that has a positive payoff in the end without committing evil acts, this is only one instance of when the ends could possibly justify the means, but there are too many evil actions that could be taken with good intentions that hinders this claim. The more important thing is the action itself, not the consequences, because even if the consequences yield something good, if the actions were bad, the entirety of the situation is a bad situation. This reminds me of something Hitler would have said to justify his actions – murdering millions of Jewish people to achieve the end goal of “unifying” Germany. These morally wrong actions were not necessary in order to achieve what Hitler believed to be a morally right outcome. By saying that the ends justify the mean, Hitler could say his actions were morally right because of the virtue of the morality of his outcome – which was a unified Germany. This is why I do not believe that the ends justify the means.
  1. Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?
  • I believe that my own life is worth the same as others. This belief stems from attendance at a Catholic school for my entire life outside of college. Here, I was taught to believe that everybody is made is the same image and likeness. Though this is not the common belief of everybody, I see that we are all made of the same DNA and there is nothing that sets anybody apart than physical appearance, because inside we are all the same, which is why all lives matters. However, if it came down to it, I would sacrifice my lives for somebody else because I believe in altruism and putting others before yourself. However, the life I would have sacrificed would have had the same value and worth as the one I saved. I also believe it is responsible to take care of my own life, but also to take care of others in the same way – following the belief to treat others as the way I would like to be treated. When looking at equality, I find it important for everybody to see that they are important individuals with the same dignity and right as others.

Ethics – Syed Amirul

  1. Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?

Ethic itself is a subjective term, just like the term ‘good’. Being good can be defined in so many ways, it does not hold a single definition and can vary according to different viewpoints such as religiously, culturally, or personally. We would all acknowledge that human should be a good person AND perform good acts-but that’s not how everyone is. I personally think that virtue ethics and action ethics are two elements that should go hand-to-hand; they complement each other. However, upon reflecting towards myself, I’m a little inclined to say that it would be more important to perform good acts rather than to be merely ‘good’ in the eyes of other people. With the definition of virtue (what we should be) versus action (what we should do), I strongly believe that taking ‘good’ actions are more impactful than being a good person alone. Taking myself as an example, I am not necessarily the most organized and neat person you might know, but I do not mess up my house because I know there are other people living with me and they would not feel comfortable with what I am comfortable with. Consequently, although you’re not ‘good’ person to begin with, performing good acts will make you appear good at least at the eyes of people who matter. A killer (by instinct) is not a criminal until he kills.


  1. Do the ends justify the means (ends ethics vs. means ethics)?

I was raised as a Muslim, and one ethical philosophy that I learned is Islam was “Intentions does not justify means”. This saying, although slightly different from the question, has the same core value. Even though most of what people want are ends that are ethically accepted, the mean at which it should be achieved should be ethical as well. My way of thinking are mostly molded by the system that I was raised in, and this system-Islam as a way of life-has provided guidelines to its followers to achieve a goal ethically; that is least harmful or best suited to a given situation. Although, I have to admit that life isn’t as simple as we might say it is. There are more complex situations in real life, one that might lead to an ethical dilemma. To this, I take the stand that most of the time, means ethics are more essential. I tend to accept that not all goals should be reached if it means the means to achieve it is not ethically sound.


  1. Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?

I believe that human lives are all equal. I do not envy the people who have more than me, but I’m petrified for the ones who have far less. I don’t believe that rich people should have less, but I wish for the impoverished, refugees, and homeless people to live their lives with better quality. My altruism isn’t based on monetary value, but rather on having a utility value that is at least the same for everyone. Humans are all created equally from the womb- all are but a white cloth, stylized within the first few years of living. To say that one’s life is more worthy than other, I question where this worth comes from? A person isn’t born to be a certain color by choice, nor does a disabled person. Should a life’s worth be put upon how people are situationally born into? I think not.

Syed Amirul

Ethics Views- Julie Cardillo

1) Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?

Ultimately, I believe that it is more important to perform good acts and to be altruistic as opposed to just being a good person (virtue). The reason I say this is because one can be a good person, but if they don’t take action, then they’re not making an impact like those who do take action. I have always been a supporter of the common phrase, “Actions speak louder than words,” because it is so true. One can say that they are a good person all they want, but if they felt strong enough about a matter, then they would try to take a good action. When one performs good acts to help others (altruism), as opposed to just being a “good person (virtue),” they are bettering the thing(s) that they feel so strongly about (rather than just having good thoughts about something, but doing nothing about it). Now, I understand that often times taking action can be difficult (i.e. wanting to end world hunger). However, one can contribute in the best way that they can to help by donating canned goods, working at a soup kitchen, etc. Even the smallest good action can make a change. All of these reasons are why a person who performs good acts is better than one who is a good person.

5) Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?
This is a difficult question for me to answer because I am an avid animal lover. However, I do believe in Darwin’s “survival of the fittest,” and it is quite obvious that humans are the dominant species (anthropocentrism). Thus, (all though it kills me to say) human pleasure and pain matters more than animal pleasure and pain. Humans need to do all that they can to survive and live comfortably. That means we needs to kill animals for food, clear animals’ homes (forests i.e.) for homes/stores/etc, and other things that are necessary for humans to live that affect animals’ lives. With that being said, I think that humans go the extra-mile when it comes to contributing to society that animals. Also, we should prioritize taking care of our own kind first (human welfare). For example, if both a school and a puppy shelter were on fire, it would be more ethical to save the children and teachers of the school first than the puppies. However, I think humans should have some governance when it comes to certain things we do. For example, people who kill animals for “fun” take the whole concept of “human lives mattering more than animals’” out of proportion. Just because animal lives don’t matter as much as humans doesn’t mean animal lives don’t matter at all, and it doesn’t give people the right to abuse animals. 
6) Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?
My life is worth the exact same as anyone else’s. No one is above or below me. Often times, many people classify others above or below them due to gender, race, financial standpoint, culture, beliefs, etc. However, at the end of the day, we are all humans. As humans, we are in this together. We need to survive, we need to reproduce, we need to get along with each other. Why should someone be considered to be more worthless than someone else? There is nothing that makes anyone better than the rest of us. No matter what someone’s status is, my life is no better or less than theirs. We, as humans, are all equal, and our lives matter equally. I know that many people will disagree with me, but I think that criminal lives matter too. Sometimes many people are jailed for minuscule reasons. What if a person was jailed for stealing bread for their family? Just because they are considered a “criminal,” does not mean that their life is worthless. Or what if someone committed a small-level crime, but realized that they were wrong? Everyone makes mistakes; no one is perfect. As for murderers and those who commit serious crimes, I still think that their lives are worth the same. Consider this, if someone(rich, poor, white, black, homosexual, etc.) committed a serious crime, they should receive the same punishment for their act because their lives are worth equally. For example, a white man shouldn’t receive less punishment for a murder than a black man.

Module 3-Maura McGonigal

Question 2.

In respect to the question do the ends justify the means; I think this is very situation based. There are cases where the sacrifice of the means is too much to justify the end result. There are also times where the means are a necessary evil to achieve the end. Both ethical ways of thinking exist because they both have merit and are needed for different situations. However, the decision of whether or not an action is justified depends on the individual analyzing the situation. Each individual has different experiences, which lead to different ethical beliefs. There are situations where one-person may believe that the end justifies the means but another individual may adamantly oppose the means to reach the end. As discussed in the module, this is why democracy is important. It is imperative that every individual has an opportunity to have their point of view represented in the governing body.


Question 6.

In regards to the question addressing selfishness and altruism, I personally believe that all lives are equal therefore my life is no more important or less important than any other individual’s life. I believe that every individual’s life is of equal importance. With that being said, I think it is important that each individual finds a balance in helping others and also focusing on their own success. Some individuals live an extremely altruistic life style that eventually wears on them and destroys their happiness, because they never take the time or energy to focus on their own happiness. On the other hand, some individuals live such a selfish lifestyle that they hurt and destroy the happiness of those that care about them. As with other ethical thought processes, I think that it is vital to find a happy medium between caring for others and caring for oneself. I believe that those who make themselves happy by ensuring the happiness of others achieve true happiness.


Question 4.

Question four presents a comparison of ecocentric ethics and anthropocentric ethics with regards to ecosystem’s purpose. Ecocentric ethics is a belief that ecosystems are most important and are what decisions should be made based on. Anthropocentric ethics is a belief system that humans are most important and the center of decisions. I believe that both belief systems are valid, but that neither is independently correct. I believe that both ecosystems and humans are important and are a deciding factor in decision-making and that a certain degree of balance between ecocentric and anthropocentric thought is necessary. With that being said, I believe that ecosystems existed long before humans walked this earth. I feel that ecosystems have their own purpose other than serving human needs; however, I recognize there is an overwhelming overlap between the two. As the population of humans increases, it is hard to find an ecosystem that humans do not utilize for their own purposes.