- To what extent must math fulfill a purpose?http://www.ircps.org/publications/aestimatio/pdf/Volume2/2005-02-01_Symons.pdf
- To what extent can morality be defined?
3. To what extent is morality malleable? (Look at all sites)
- The first knowledge issue deals with a simple idea. Why do we value math so much, what purpose does it serve? The first site is a document published by Cambridge University concerning Mathematics and Architecture in Ancient Egypt. Math was a tool used by the ancients to try and control their environment. They used mathematics to manipulate stone, sand, and gravity itself in order to build unbelievable monuments. Monuments such as the pyramids at Giza, the Sphinx, and even the simple wonder of the Obelisk, were manufactured because of mathematics. As such math was needed to make life easier, and to an extent better.
2. The second knowledge issue, questions how we can truly define morality. What are the qualifications that make something moral? There was once a man by the name of Immanuel Kant that tried to answer these very questions. He was a philosopher that held to the ideals of an…. idealistic view of the world known as deontology. Kant created what is known as the Categorical Imperative, which defines the requirements for moral actions. First formulation, an action is moral if it is universal. In other words, it’s moral if the action can be applied in any circumstance, it will always work, and it can always be agreed upon. (As you can see Kant’s ideas are idealistic, and cute, but difficult to adhere to!) The second formulation is that an action is moral if it treats people as ends, never the means to an end. In other words you can’t use people for your own purposes; your purpose must be to benefit people. The final formulation is that an action is moral if it adheres to all aspects of the Categorical Imperative. The action cannot pass one level but violate the other. To be moral it must follow these rules.
3. Now the final knowledge issue, to what extent is morality malleable, means can the term morality be manipulated. Is morality something which can be made to fit an agenda? There are three sources which I use to examine this thought. The first is more for entertainment, but it raises the idea once again of what is moral. It is a clip from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. In it a pirate claims that the only rules which matter are, “What a man can do, and what a man can’t do?” In other words, if a person has the capability to act, nothing can stop them if they choose to act. This includes the law, or the rules of society. The second source is a website of quotes. The specific quote is from Gaius Julius Caesar, the perpetual Dictator of Rome. “If you must break the law, do it to seize power: In all other cases observe it” (Brainy Quotes). Both of these cases explain the idea that if a person has a cause, an idea, or a need, they will justify it. Society may not condone, but they will justify it in some way or another. As such the answer to the original question is reached. Morality can’t be defined as easily as math, merely because we use morality the same way we use math. To fulfill our own purposes, and desires. We justify actions with morality as a way of, consoling our own faults and human desires. The final source, describes the life and death of Gaius Julius Caesar. Caesar was in his life a Soldier, a Lawyer, a Consul, a Senator, and a Governor. As he advanced in life he grew more popular and beloved by his constituency and soldiers. However, he became more feared by the Senate. The Senate claimed he was a dangerous man, and tried to banish him. However, he was only a danger to their power and control of Rome. Caesar acted by conquering the city, starting the First Triumvirate, and becoming the sole harbinger of Power in Rome. All the time claiming it was for the good of the people. He passed laws which can be considered very just and moral. He expanded the senate, allowing for more senators to hold office. He also included all inhabitants of lands ruled by Rome as citizens with rights. This included the right to vote. Before Caesar, only those born in the Italian peninsula could vote. After Caesar, all freemen had the right to vote. This has the appearance of being an act to defend human rights, when in fact it only cemented his power. A larger senate was weaker because there was more squabbling and less authority. As a result, Caesar’s power was unquestionable. However, he justified it all because he was popular, and the masses loved and justified him because he gave the common man a voice and a life which they had never known.