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Andrew Slaughter

Mr. Buescher

Intro to Philosophy

9 May 2017

Words To Live By

A young man stands with a knife in his hand. He has committed what law classifies as

murder; yet, the validity of the guilt is up in the air. He carried out said action through self-

defense. At times like these we must ponder the functionality of our minds. What makes an

action correct within morality? Regardless of the reasoning, many cannot justify murder. Others

argued it was in ones best interest to retaliate. Our reactions to such situations are animalistic in

nature. Still, defining our morality remains an important construct.

If I were to find myself in such a situation, I would be able to discover my personal

solution. I often live by eudaimonism. This involves my consciousness attempting to achieve its

best state. It's process is the direct retrieval of virtue. The brain receives praise or righteous

recognition for actions I carry out. Because of the deliberate manner, I am able to justify my

label as a good person. These ideologies spread into a deontology mindset. It is in my best

interest to carry out duties that would further prove me to be an upstanding individual. These

obligations take an uplifting role. It does not burden my decision making skills. In my mind, the

rights of individuals outweigh the needs of the many. There is an underlying belief that every

individual has a moral duty to aid fellow life. Second chances should be more available and

acceptable in the eyes of the hurt. Rehabilitation is a considerable replacement for strict

punishment. To live life to the fullest, one must view the the aspects of a habit as equal to their

own autonomy. My second chance mentality would rule the act of murder in defense as skewed
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Ethical principles develop through experience. I have seated myself in the place of

several experiences to build my ideal individual. Trauma has picked apart those experiences that

caused me to reach such a realization. I have firsthand experience with what to be dangerous

individuals. From this, I have built a code that will prevent myself from descending into the same

ranks. I have seen a tyrannical nature between both leader and citizen. I can situate myself within

the fifth rank of Kohlbergs theory of moral reasoning. My strong belief in right to life causes my

moral judgement to surpass legal principles. Having seen holes in legal theory, humanity should

redefine process of punishment. I can trace my realization of the functionality of this mindset to

a single moment. I had seen my once-abusive mother in the grasp of corrupt legality. While she

never stood as an ethical role model, there was injustice in the way the law treated her. No matter

how much she had hurt me, injustice projected unto her would not make her any more good, nor

any more bad. The exact same concept applied for myself, as well as those who perpetrated the


These experiences not only redefined ethics and morality. They gave me a clear

consensus on civic virtue. A honorable citizen practices forgiveness. This forgiveness does not

have to be immediate. They should keep it in mind as they make decisions in bettering the lives

of themselves and others. A perfect balance of selflessness and selfishness should be achievable.

Not in a superficial level, but interpersonal one. If not immediately so, we should expand on its

accessibility. Ideals such as these not only benefit oneself, but society as a whole. It is likely that

humans will consummate problem solving with far more efficiency. Its educational properties

cause for individuals to practice preventative methods. True civic virtue allows for a community

to discover a niche. In an ideal world, humans discover such a niche regardless of disability or
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social status. Productivity spikes with such a thing in place. Civic virtue defines enlightenment.

On a personal level, ethical scenarios riddle my life. For example, toxicity in

relationships had been a regular experience. When I was eleven, I met a young man I will call B.

B was two years older than me. At the time of our introduction, I had began to have

complications with my personal image. Mother raised me in a household oblivious to the world

of sexuality and gender. The queerness within my identity was not easy to understand. B

experienced an uncanny similarity. Together, we bonded over our shared interest in men and

confusion with self-presentation. As a unit, discovered ourselves. At the time I believed myself

to have made a wonderful friend. What I had ignored at a constant was the underlying abuse and

manipulation. B had habits of dehumanizing me. He lashed out, struggling with masculinity on a

personal level. We had began to date in a desperate attempt of intimacy. Such complications with

our relationship beforehand intensified without delay. I had to leave, or the dynamic would cause

more damage. Yet, he needed aid in recovery. His identity stood on thin ice, and his support both

at home and within the range of our town was close to nothing. I struggled with identifying what

the correct thing to do was. If I had left, the possibility of his mental health collapsing grew. If I

stayed, I feared suffering the same result. It ended with complete separation. This experience

caused me to ponder my own values. I can say with confidence I have grown as an individual.

For this reason, discovering ones own code of ethics is detrimental to his own health.

One can avoid situations of abuse with a defined set of what makes a person good. It allows for

individuals to take preventative measures, while still benefiting both parties. In the abusers case,

the chance of them correcting past misdemeanors grows. For the victims, they live with less fear

of future danger on their shoulders. They will now recognize red flags before the danger is

headstrong. We expand universal trust. In my case, my decision making skills allowed me to

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weigh both positive and negative. The result built my own character, and allowed me to identify

unhealthy behavior. Such behavior was now identifiable in my own life, as well as the lives of

those I loved.

While writing this paper, I had a personal epiphany. I illuminated the reasons why I have

reacted as I have over the years. I have now achieved a thorough understanding of myself. From

this experience, I will likely expand further. It helped me recognize the beauty of Ethics. Like the

Earth itself, the properties of the concept develop with time. Human impact will continue to

redefine and shape what ethical principles mean. Through defining our own, we further relate

them to the experiences of millions. Traversing life becomes euphoric.