Ethics-Siying Chen

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

In my opinion, I think it’s more important to perform good acts and I believe that ends justify means. Although virtue ethics and action ethics are usually bound with each other, action is the ethic that would make a difference in the end. For example, some people would do philanthropical works to make themselves famous, regardless from what their original purpose is, the action itself actually help people in need. On the other hand, some people can just talking about being an environmental-friendly person all the time without actually doing anything, and this would not benefit the environment.

However, there’s always exceptions. In most cases, people with good virtue ethics usually have good action ethics too. Environmentalists are always the people who are concerned about the environment, and those who have no concern about the environment usually just live their own ways. But in the rare cases, I think action ethics are more important than virtue ethics.

  • Does the process by which decisions are made matter more than the outcomes of these decisions (procedural justice vs. distributive justice)?

Being a realistic person, I always value the outcome more than the mean. In the case of dealing with environmental problems, we can only see the result, not the process. For example, when government is dealing with water contamination, all we know as citizens is that whether the water source is treated or not, or whether it is usable. Even if we know the process itself, it wouldn’t be much help since it’s already in the past, and only the outcomes matter to us as consumers. In the recent Flint water crisis, people are more concerned about if the problem is treated properly, not many are concerned about how the decision was made.

However, we still cannot neglect the process of how decisions are made. For example, when dealing with water pollution problem, we have to make sure that everyone who is affected has a say, not just those people with power. Just because someone is less powerful doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to stand for themselves.

  • Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to the extent that they impact humans (ecocentric ethics vs. anthropocentric ethics)?

Since there are so many unseen connections within the ecosystem, I think we should see the ecosystem as a whole, not just the parts where human race is in. To me, I think ecocentric ethics “contains” the ideas of anthropocentric ethics, being ecocentric means you want to benefit the whole ecosystem, and since we are living in this system, so we’re potentially benefited. But being anthropocentric doesn’t usually mean is good for the environment. For example, if we’re anthropocentric, we would consider our own benefit versus the cost to the ecosystem, it’s like the supply and demand relationship in economics, we need to find the equilibrium to make both sides happy, but so far the human race is still favoring its own benefit over the ecosystem.

Even though we are trying to protect the environment for its own sake, it’s hard to achieve ecocentric ethics in a short time. But I believe that we are all working on it, and one day we can sustain the ecosystem without compromising our needs.

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 Questions – Kyle Hoke

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

I believe it is more important to be a good person. I think that to be labeled a good person, you ultimately have to perform good acts. It is like the reading states, the two are not mutually exclusive. A true ethically good person will most likely take the actions that show their ethical beliefs. However, it is impossible to ask of someone to always perform good actions. A person may sincerely care about the environment, but may not have the means to take actions to help. Therefore, it isn’t fair to judge someone’s ethics by just the actions they take, rather they should be judged based on their virtues and beliefs. If a person’s beliefs of who they are match what is commonly held as what they should be, then that should be enough to be a good person. Also, someone can donate to charity or another action that is seen as ethical, however in reality, they could have stolen that money from their family members. It is an extreme example, but further proof as to why it is more important to be a good person at the core, than to just perform good acts.

  1. Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to the extent that they impact humans (ecocentric ethics vs. anthropocentric ethics)?

In today’s society, I believe that ecosystems matter for their own sake. I think it is important to understand how they impact humans anthropocentrically, but ultimately ecosystems themselves are more important. The natural ecosystems allow life to prosper, and not just human life. Speciesism is important in this topic, because as the reading states, we already live in a world where speciesism exists, and we humans believe we get special treatment. However, humans depend on wildlife for numerous reasons including food, and these animals depend on the ecosystems that humans may destroy for a perceived benefit. To an extent, anthropocentric is necessary to sustain human life, and a topic from Module 2 can even be discussed along with this topic. The carrying capacity of our planet is possibly being altered by humans cutting down forests to make more room for humans to live or travel through. Ultimately, I believe that a sort of “selective ecocentric” view needs to be taken. As shown in the “Hetch Hetchy Valley” essay by John Muir, lands in protected areas such as National Parks need to be protected. Not only for their natural beauty that can be enjoyed by millions, but so that there is always the underlying idea that nature and the vast, diverse ecosystems come first.

  1. Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?

This is a question that can be quite controversial. At risk of sounding like a monster, I say the pleasure and pain of humans matter more than non-humans. As with all ethically issues, there is no solid line that can be drawn between the two options being discussed. Obviously there are non-human animals that have been domesticated. Cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, and other house pets have found their way into our families on a deep emotional level. The death of a family dog is treated like a lost child or sibling to most, and can be an extremely upsetting event. However, nothing can compare to the emotional pain felt when a loved one or even fellow human is lost or seriously injured. Humans also rely on animals as a food source. Millions of cows and chickens give their lives every day for human consumption (this itself is an issue all on its own). For the most part, this goes unchallenged, and chicken is still one of the most widely eaten foods. For human life to be sustained and continue, the pleasure and pain of us humans is more important.

Module 3: Ethics

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

This question takes into consideration virtue ethics and action ethics. The differences between these two ethical categories are what we should be and what we should do. The virtue ethical properties pertain to the thing we care about; whereas the action ethical property describes the actions we take regarding the virtual ethics. An example provided within this weeks reading; is it more important to be someone who care about the environment, or someone who takes action to help the environment. I think that virtue and action ethics are intertwined; in a perfect world people take care about the environment should and usually do take action.

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

The core question with in action ethics is whether the ends justify the means. To determine if the action meets the means is the importance of action itself, or the consequences of the action. In order to make this discuss is to apply justice ethics, which consist of two major principles: one (1) distributive and two (2) procedural. Distributive justice focuses on the consequences of our actions. While procedural ethics focuses on which actions that are opposed to the consequences of the actions.

  1. Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to the extent that they impact humans (ecocentric ethics vs. anthropocentric ethics)?

Anthropocentrism and ecocentrism essentially focuses on the view that humans are ultimately important and the ecosystem is ultimately important respectively. These two types of ethics are very important to understand sustainability. In order to fully understand sustainability we must understand the other ethical concepts described in the blog and in this weeks reading, Sustainability will have a different definition depending on an individual ethical viewpoint. My definition on sustainability is for current generation to leave the world in better shape than the way we found it.


Module 3 – Nick Tomaine

1. It is more important to perform good acts than be a good person. These both can be related to each other as described in the reading. The good actions that one performs are what others are able to see. They are then able to perceive this person as being good. Also, from the good actions, there is usually some kind of benefit. When thinking of this topic, politics come to mind. When a candidate is running for a position, it is their actions they perform is what gets them elected. Their certain actions can be giving speeches, vowing to do something when elected, and the past actions they performed. These actions are what make the candidate the right choice to do the job. This example shows how performing good acts have positive benefits. Another example that comes to mind is the spontaneous acts of kindness movement, paying the bill for the person in front of you at a checkout line. This hopefully leads to more good actions from more people and shows the good in people.

3. The process decisions are made does matter more than the outcomes of these decisions. Everything we do is a process. When that process changes, the decision changes. The process is what leads a person to a rational decision which leads to the outcome. The outcome is reinforced by the process that was taken. Democracy is a great example of how decisions are made. It shows there are processes that need to be fulfilled to achieve the best outcome. The process has multiple aspects and steps to ensure the best outcome is obtained. The process for making a decision can be simple or complex depending on the outcome. During the process one should think about what is going to happen when the process is complete and if it is going to produce the desired outcome. Another aspect to consider is the impact that the decision is going have from the process.

5. I believe the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter almost much as the pleasure and pain of humans. The concept of speciesism, which is the view that some species are more ethically important than others, can be debated for and against. Human welfare and the welfare of non-human animals should be equal, but it is not. Our society thieves on the sacrifice of other animals for such as food, enjoyment, and goods. Also, our society, at least in the United States, does not have the same punishments for harming animals as harming humans. This concept can be related to the food chain, by it is the way of life. Domesticated animals are seen closer to humans by the way they interact with us. People treat them almost like humans and view them as part of their families. Our society values these pets as a higher standard as other animals and treat them differently.

Ethics Views – Sebastian Hollabaugh

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

In order to answer this question, the use of the word “important” needs to be defined. In general, being a good person is more important, because the good acts should come from a naturally good person based on their desire to want to be good. Thus being a good person covers both aspects. However, a bad person may choose to perform good acts based on societal values, while still not being a good person at heart. In this case it may be seen that performing good acts is more important in order to maintain social normativity, or advance the society in general. This bad person may not enjoy doing good acts, and may in fact do them for selfish reasons, such as to give off the appearance of being a good person. Regardless of the reason, the act of bad people performing good deeds, alongside all of the good people who inherently perform good deeds eventually helps maintain and advance society. There are obviously many counter arguments that could be applied here, but in general this is a universal idea that would hold true regardless of time period or place.

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

For this question I would like to respond with another question. Would going back in time to kill Hitler as a innocent child be okay? You already know that he will start a genocide in the future, but at the time he hasn’t committed any crime. Would killing an innocent child for his future actions, just because you have a time machine (the means) be worth preventing the holocaust (the ends?). What if you were sent back with no knowledge of who he was, and were told that killing this child would help mankind? This question epitomizes the question of “does the ends justify the means.” There are many options to consider with it. Maybe someone else would rise up, and be worse than Hitler, and the ends you aimed for were actually worse than expected. There is no way to definitely know, but you just have to hope that the moral idea of preventing the holocaust is enough of an end to justify killing an innocent child. I personally believe that one must act ethically at all times, including in the means. There are always other options, and most would agree that killing a child is a very unethical action, which means a different way of achieving the end would need to be considered. Throughout history, there have been many arguments where people have made an unethical decision in order to provide an ethical outcome, but I truly believe there is always a right way to handle something, without compromising morals. This of course would differ from culture and time period, because humans develop different morals in different places and times, but for the most part I believe that the ends do not justify unethical means.

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

Life is completely about the meaning you bestow upon it. Logically that would mean my life is more important than others, because I work hard to give my life meaning to myself. The same goes for the meaning that my friends have to me. Thus based on this tiny scale, yes, my life means more than the life of others to me. On a larger scale, my life probably won’t have a significant affect the advancement of humanity, the same as most of the other 7 billion people currently living, as well as the majority of people who came before or will come after us. At this scale we are comparatively all the same. Thus, life’s individual worth falls to a matter of scale, and does not change relative to time period or place. Due to these aspects, I believe that all lives are actually equal, and to an extent one should be altruistic in order to improve the lives of everyone, but not at any great expense to themselves.

Module 3- Jonah Kim

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 for a person to perform good acts. I think people who do good things make things better. Now I didn’t say people who do good things ARE good people. That is because you don’t have to be a good person to do good things. Personally, I’d rather be a friend with a crook that does charity work and other good deeds than a person with good virtues but stays inside their home and never does anything in the world. So for example just because a person goes to church every single Sunday doesn’t guarantee that they are a good person. My answer might change if we were to look at for example in a monastery. There are monks and nuns, some of the most religious and good people in the world and because of their faith all monks and nuns are good people. They do all sorts of charity work and good deeds.

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

I do not think the ends justify the means. When I think of means ethics, I think of the process, and included in this is intention. One good example is a lumber company cutting down trees. Now obviously lumber companies all want to make money from trees chopped down, but they could take additional steps to help the environment. If a lumber company’s intention is just to make money, when chopping down trees they may destroy a forest. Whereas if a company does care about the ecosystem in a forest they may plant more trees than they chop down, making sure not destroy the ecosystem. A circumstance where ends might justify the means is in war/battle. To stay alive and to win a fight some nasty and dark things may need to be done. However, your survival is all you care about not so much as to how you stay alive.

4. Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to the extent that they impact humans (ecocentric ethics vs. anthropocentric ethics)?

I think that ecosystems only matter to the extent that they impact humans. Whenever I hear people talk about the ecosystem there tends to be some correlation with global warming. Global warming is a problem for the world, but people only care about global warming because they’re scared about what’s going to happen to them rather than what’s going to happen to certain plants and animals. I am not filled with cynicism rather I just think it’s the truth and people are too scared to admit it. Ecosystem’s are only seen as tools, good and valuable natural resources. On the contrary, ecosystems may matter for their own sake if scientists discover how to live perfectly symbiotically with the ecosystem and earth. People would have to start looking at the ecosystem almost as like another limb. The ecosystem will be a part of everyone and everything and so the ecosystem may matter for their own sake and humans. Not just humans.


My Ethics Views- Katy Bordt

Question 4: Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to the extent that they impact humans (ecocentric ethics vs. anthropocentric ethics)?

In my opinion, I believe as a culture humans have an anthropocentrism view. Anthropocentrism puts humans at the top of the food chain, so to speak.  Humans are only worried about themselves and how they can use other things for their own gain. I believe ecosystems do matter for their own sake. Ecosystems were here long before we were, however since they do not have a voice we use and abuse them as we see fit.  We as humans are depended on ecosystems to survive, yet we abuse them. I believe if we started to change our views more towards ecocentrism, the ecosystems would be better off in the long run. Ecocentrism puts ecosystems as most important instead of humans. I believe for the world to have sustainability we as human will have to have more ecocentric ethics and less anthropocentric ethics. I believe we need to be cautious of what we do to the ecosystems for our own gain. If the ecosystems are taken away we will not survive.

Question 5: Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?

I believe speciesism is the human way of life, we value our lives and those alike us more than “animals”. Speciesism is when one species is deemed more valuable than another. I believe humans view themselves like a god, they are the only one that matters and will do anything if it helps them.  I do not believe humans are more important because we have reasoning, and other abilities. Research shows more and more animals have these same abilities as human do, such as dolphins and monkeys. Animal Cognition is the study of mental capacities of animals. Furthermore, there are the animals we use to help us in everyday life, such as guide dogs and police dogs. I believe their lives should be worth just as much as our own. I believe if someone was to harm or kill a police dog (K9), they should be charged will killing a police officer in the line of duty. On the other hand, we put down dogs or other animals after they harm us, such as a dog biting a child. I believe rapist, killers, etc should be given the same treatment and be put to death. I believe humans and animals, especially the ones we view as pets should receive the same treatment and we should value their welfare.

Question 6: Is my own life worth more than the lives of others, the same, or less (selfishness vs. altruism)?

I was think of this question when I started watching Z Nation. Z nation is a show about getting a specific person from upper New York to a lab in California to make a vaccine to save the world from a zombie apocalypse.  You can imagine there are many lives lost to save one person along the way. They all believed they were doing the “right” thing and sacrificing their lives to save humanity.  They were sacrificing their lives for more than just one live. This show made me think what I would do, would I pick to save myself, and be selfish or help for as long as I could, and be altruistic. I believe my life in this scenario would be worth less than the person who could potentially save humanity. I believe if there were emotions involved I would not choose myself, just as with a family member, significant other or friend.  On the other hand, I believe I would choose myself if there was nothing known about the other person and no emotions involved.

A Conversation on Ethics

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

It is my summation that it is more important to be a good person than to perform good acts. However, it appears to me that this is only the case by hedging virtues on the basis of a definition. Undoubtedly virtue and action are interconnected. If one holds a certain virtue the person will act according to their virtue. For example, the honest person will tell the truth, the conservationist may compost their leftovers at home, and the courageous may face bold tasks without hesitation. The problem with valuing action ethics is that actions are subject to review by our peers. One may value the virtue of honesty and always tell the truth, however the act of telling the truth may get you into trouble by hurting someone’s feelings, o revealing a telling secret of a guilty friend, which may lose that friend’s trust. The courageous virtue may catch one being foolhardy upon review of one’s actions. There is no measure of perfect virtue when it comes to the critiques of our actions. Therefore, I think that it is more important to be a good person and act closely to the virtue, than to be held accountable for the action.

Do ecosystems matter for their own sake, or do they only matter to the extent that they impact humans (ecocentric ethics vs. anthropocentric ethics)?

Culturally, I find it almost impossible to separate anthropocentric ethics from ecocentric ethics because we are humans and have a human understanding of the world. To act in an ecocentric fashion and think in an ecocentric manner seems to mirror the virtue vs action dilemma. As a species we think about our own survival first. In addition to this survival mechanism we have an expansionist quality to our actions that sees us using the Earth as it belongs to the human race above all else. We refer to nature as “resources” for our use, and other species as beneath our own species, and rendered for our use as food, labor, and companionship. However, I think that opening up the door to an ecocentric philosophy would feel most unnatural to human kind. Regardless of feeling superior to other animals or to nature, it seems to me that acting with an ecocentric view would itself go against the nature and cycle of the ecosystem. The hawk does not consider it’s food a lesser species, it is simply feeding. The bird does not consider the trees and branches of which it makes its nest, it simply is building its home. Maybe as a species of advanced understanding we could act more sustainably. However, I think that an anthropocentric view is an of itself part of an ecocentric view and hard to separate, because it is a humans way of acting naturally, not unnaturally and against the universe, but simply as another species surviving, expanding, and reacting to the world around us.

Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?

I would like to combine this question with the previous question, as I find the theories intermixing and controversial to one another. I find myself evolving on the issue of speciesm, and I am not even sure how my feelings align with my thoughts on the other areas of ethics we have discussed. In my condensation, I find that other animals emotions, thoughts, and feelings are just as important as humans. With the reading and extra research throughout the week, I am really inspired to try a vegan diet in an effort to help end animal suffering inflicted by factory led suffering of animals bred for food consumption. I also would like to see a world where zoos exist as a compassionate sanctuary for animals that is in fact a better more rich life experience for the animal than would be a wild led life. However, I also think that this moral obligation led by humans to end specieism is at its core both subject to the critique of action ethic and anthropocentric ethics. How can one value an ecocentric viewpoint, and the natural cycle of life, and ignore our own species history of a carnivorous diet. One would in fact become even more anthropocentric by saying we have the compacity to control our diet based on moral regulation and therefore become more aware of other species “otherness” by handing them more respect and avoiding their suffering. At the same time, I think that it is important to avoid the suffering of all species, so I am both a proponent of avoiding the suffering of other species and respecting their oneness with us, but I think that this makes me MORE anthropocentric than ecocentric, even though ecocentric views consider our oneness with the ecosystem. This is definitely an enlightening conversation and has me constantly considering right and wrong philosophies. I think my views will continue to mold and evolve.

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.

Ethics – Tim Granata

For question one, I believe it is more important to perform good acts (action ethics).  My reasoning is because a person who performs good acts is actually making a difference, where as someone who is a good person, could be a good person but does not do anything to be better.  Moreover, I believe if you perform good acts, you naturally are a good person.  I suppose there are certain situations that could otherwise sway this reasoning.  One example I can think of is someone or a group of people who take the initiative to eliminate all the mosquitos in the world, since they can carry the disease malaria.  By eliminating all the mosquitos, you can nearly eliminate malaria, and in turn, prevent many deaths.  On the other hand, by killing off the mosquito population you shorten the food supply of other animals.  This could lead to the deaths of one species, to another species, to eventually a species that maybe humans rely on hunting for food.  Thus, by killing all the mosquitos and eradicating malaria, you are performing a good act by saving the lives of other humans.  At the same time, you could be making life harder for other humans who need the natural food chain to remain intact to survive.

In response to question two, I think that both the ends and the means must be considered.  Like my mosquito example for question one, you are given a choice to eradicate a deadly disease and save lives, but possibly kill off another species which in turn could change the lifestyle of others.  A more easily understood example, and probably more commonly heard would be sacrificing the life one person to save the lives of 1,000 others.  Depending on the situation, I think other concepts like wildlife management and nature conservation can affect how we make these decisions.  If I had to choose which is more important, I would have to choose the means.  I think it is more important to consider the consequences before taking an action.  After all, the consequences do (or at least they should) influence the actions we take living our everyday lives.  It only makes sense that they are the main reason for our actions.

My answer to question five is that the pleasure and pain of non-human animals should matter as much as humans.  As the course lesson discussed, if we care about human welfare, then we should also care about the welfare of other species.  Obviously, as a human who lives in a developed society, I know that we do harvest animals for a food source.  At this point in time, it would be impossible to treat all species equal to humans.  Society would not be able to function as it currently does.  I think it is important however that we consider the limits of how much we can harvest a species for our own welfare and also that we respect all animals.  A rather sad example for when humans lacked the respect for a species is the dodo bird.  Native to a small island called Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, these birds were killed off by humans during the 17th century.  Although not all the dodo birds were killed by humans directly, by introducing other animals to the island (especially pigs) and destroying the habitat in which the dodos resided, they eventually went extinct.  The lack of respect for the dodo bird is ultimately what lead to its demise.

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.

Getting to Know you – Syed Amirul

Salam Sejahtera!

My name is Syed Amirul, I am currently a Senior majoring in Economics (BA). I have now lived in State College, Pennsylvania for four years, but I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (which was why I greeted you in Bahasa Malaysia- it means hello!). I have a keen interest in photography so I might pursue a career in doing commercial photography while helping my family run our business. My interest in this course is to generally learn about the Earth. I’m always interested in learning about the nature ( I took meteorology and astronomy classes) and I think learning geography will help me connect the dots between human and environment interaction and its effects towards one another. One fun fact about me- I can solve a Rubik’s cube in 40 seconds. If anyone could solve it faster, please teach me!

Now that we’ve been introduced to some perspectives in the field of geography, one example that came in mind was an issue that’s becoming a national controversy in my country. In Pahang, the largest state in Peninsula Malaysia, the government are being condemned after active bauxite mining that has turned into a harmful economic activity to the locals of the area. Many reports have address the issue and its negative impact, one coming from Malaysian Society of Marine Sciences chairman Dr Harinder Rai Singh who said the contamination would be fatal to marine life. The coast of Pahang are mostly contaminated and is bound to be ‘dead sea’ within three years. This issue is important to be scrutinized on, mainly on how the human-environment interaction caused these harmful conditions, and how that in turn will affect the lives of humans living in the vicinity of the polluted area.

Getting to Know You

I am a senior here at Penn State at the Worthington Scranton campus. I live in Archbald which is a small town near Scranton, PA. I also lived there all my life. My major is Information Sciences and Technology: Design and Development with a minor in Security Risk Analysis. I would like to do software developer in my career. I am interested in this course because I want to expand my knowledge of geography with this being my first geography course in my college career. When not doing school work, I maintain and do small jobs around different properties my family owns. I also like to watch television, some of the shows I like are House of Cards on Netflix, and I recently finished season one of Mr. Robot on the USA network.

While reading the first module, the topic that interested me the most was the human-environment interactions section. Today I read an article that stated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in terms of weight in the world’s oceans. This is a startling prediction that was made by the World Economic Forum. This ties into this section with the concept of sustainability. If we do nothing and let this happen, undesirable consequences will occur. Counties have to do more by recycling more plastic, preventing plastic from entering the oceans, and make more environment friendly alternatives. There are simple steps that every day people can do like using a reusable bag when going to the store. Ethics also ties into this by having different people or counties having different priorities or not taking this issue seriously.

Module 1: Getting to know you

My name is Jason Brown, but I like to go by J.R. I am a freshman here at Penn State University. I am originally from Canton, Ohio, but moved to McMurray, PA when I was three years old. I’ve lived there my whole life basically. McMurray is about 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh, PA. I am currently pursuing a degree in marketing and someday hope to obtain a job with an NHL teams’ marketing department. This course interests me because I have never gotten to take an extensive geography class before. I want to learn more on the subject and see its impact on our lives. Also, I thought it would be great to take this as an intro to my first online class at PSU because of its different components. Other facts about me are that I love hockey and grew up playing the sport and someday hope to be able to travel to all of the 50 US states.


In Module 1, one of the main pages that interested me was human- environment interactions. I want to study more about how human decision making have changed the Earth’s ecosystems. Also, the concepts of governance and ethics stuck out to me. I want to study how humans make these decisions that can highly impact the environment. Geography is interesting to me after reading module 1 because before this I had no clue how much is involved in it. In high school when we talked about geography, we always just learned about the different types of maps and the continents different ecosystems/ features. I cannot wait to learn about this topic and get more info than ever before.

Getting to Know Me!

Hello everyone! My name is Julianna Cardillo (but people call me Julie or Jules for short). I currently live in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, but up until I was ten years old I lived in a near by town called Throop, Pennsylvania. I am a sophomore at Penn State Worthington Scranton, but I will be transferring to University Park in the fall! My major is Early Childhood Education, so I would like to become a teacher when I graduate (preferably  of 1st or 2nd graders). In addition, I would like to specialize in math education by obtaining a Masters Degree. I am taking this course for two reasons: The first reason is obvious; I needed an Economic Geography credit for my major. The second reason is because when I was looking for different courses to satisfy this credit, GEOG 030 caught my attention the most because the topics discussed in this course seemed very interesting to me, since I never knew/learned about the social aspect of Geography. As one to have a major that deals with social science, I felt that this course would be the most beneficial one. Now, some facts about me are I am on my campus’ softball and cheer teams. I am a member of THON and our campus’ Lion Ambassadors, as well. I love meeting and talking to new people, so I am very excited to “meet” all of you!

As I was reading through Module 1, the issue that sparked my interest the most was “Human-Environment Interactions.” I feel that this is well suited to discuss because this is the world we live in, so we should be weary of how we affect it and how it affects us. Moreover, humans are changing the environment everyday (and vice versa). However, when I read through this module, I learned that Paul Crutzen (Nobel Prize- winning scientist) believes that we live in an Anthropocene era, where humans are believed to be dominant over the environment. I can agree with Crutzen because I have noticed over the past decade humans have impacted and dominated the environment more by pollution, deforestation, etc. For example, I live by a small city called Dickson City, where they have had a Texas Roadhouse for many years. However, recently, that Texas Roadhouse was knocked down because it “wasn’t big enough” and rebuilt down the road. In order to build a bigger Texas Roadhouse, trees had to be cleared and the environment was disrupted. That leads me into thinking about ethics, because was it really environmentally ethical to ruin more of the environment to make a bigger Texas Roadhouse? Probably not. Ideas and actions like this are causing our environment to deplete. On the contrary, in this same city exists an abandoned Walmart, and this Walmart is abandoned because it was build too close to a rocky cliff. This resulted in boulders and rocks constantly falling on it. Clearly, the builders of this Walmart did not have much governance when it came to the location of where they wanted to build this Walmart. It is obvious that humans and the environment are constantly affecting each other in many (bad/good) ways. It is important that people consider the environment before they take action in doing something, since the result can be negative. By sustainability, I believe that we and the environment can live in peace without harming each other. Also, by learning about our surroundings and “thinking before we do,” we can avoid from being harmed by the environment or harming the environment.

Jessica Moritz Module 1

Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Moritz and I am studying at Penn State’s Main Campus.  I grew up four hours away in Southampton, PA, which is about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia.  Currently, I am a senior studying Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies.  I plan on going to graduate school next year for Occupational Therapy; my passion is helping people who need the extra support so I cannot wait to start this soon.  My dad has always been a big traveler so I would tag along.  His favorite places to take me were National Parks, so we saw places like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and so much more.  Since he was so interested in the earth and the surrounding environments, his knowledge and teachings sparked an interest in me.  I decided to take this course to learn more about geography and maybe I will be able to teach my dad something he hasn’t already taught me!

After reading module 1, my attention was drawn to the human-environment interactions.  Every action we take can either positively or negatively affect the world around us.  The concept of sustainability is important, especially in our current century, because we all need to know what actions we can perform that will not affect the environment for future generations.  We do not want the world to become in a drought crisis, like California, or pollute the air for the people who come after us.  It is ethically important for our current population to keep the world as natural as possible without purposefully damaging the land around us.  Geography can address sustainability, which will in return teach our people how to keep our world safe for years to come.