The Pursuit Essay

1023 words - 5 pages

Beth ThordsenProfessor Cole WilliamsIntro to Ethics23 March 2014Trees, Deer, and the Little Voice in Your HeadWhy isn't a lumber jack considered an axe murderer? If those trees were humans, lumber jacks would be seen as a hostile gang, like the Bloods. I suppose that trees just don't mean as much to us humans as we do to each other. Maybe it's because humans posses a quality that trees do not: a conscience. We have the ability to be aware of our ethical surroundings and because of this, we believe that aspect separates us from trees. What makes having a conscience so special, then? I believe that whether or not an object has a conscience ultimately decides it's value in comparison to human ...view middle of the document...

This isn't just because they can't speak; trees are unable to feel any emotions towards right or wrong. In the situation, the application of knowledge is, again, missing from the activity. Thus, it has no conscience and lumber jacks are not considered homicidal maniacs. Humans differentiate themselves from deer and trees.Whether the lesson is taught in a Religious setting such as Sunday school or just from personal experience and disciplined actions, humans are often taught at a young age that stealing is wrong. When we steal from someone, we are aware that the property does not belong to us and that we have no right in taking it. This thought is our conscience. It is the idea that tells us to promote the good and avoid the bad. If I were to steal property from my friend, I would most likely try to justify my actions to avoid dealing with my guilt. My feeling of guilt is drawn from my prior knowledge of how stealing is wrong and it is the application of this knowledge to the activity of stealing from my friend that proves I have a conscience. Since I have a conscience, if someone shot and killed me in the woods, it would more than likely draw a bigger reaction from others than if someone killed a deer or chopped down a tree. Trudy Govier believes there is more to the conscience than knowledge.In a short work published in the 151st issue of the Humanist Perspectives journal, Govier talks about how conscience should be seen as a set of beliefs rather than knowledge. She believes that by moving the idea from 'knowledge' to 'beliefs' allows room for debate ("Govier"). Instead of saying, "I know that it is wrong to steal,"...

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