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Many states require that motorcyclists wear helmets while operating their vehicles. This is not like forbidding the use of cell phones or intoxicants, which might impair the rider and endanger other people on the roads. The helmet laws impose a governmental regulation that can, at most, be held to protect only the individual citizen whose behavior is being restricted. Why should the government be able to tell individuals what to do while riding their own motorcycles?

Write a paper assessing these helmet laws in terms of the social contract theories of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Support your assessment with research on their social contract theories. You may begin your research with suggested Resources, but you are also expected to conduct your own independent research into the scholarly and professional resources of the field.

Consider the following in your paper:

  • Should the government provide security by overcoming the selfish desires of the individual citizen, or should citizens cooperate voluntarily in service of the general welfare of all?
  • What justifies the imposition of governmental authority on individual citizens?
  • Are individuals always obligated to obey the dictates of their government?
  • Which elements of the traditional theories are relevant to this case?
  • Is it unethical for individual citizens to ignore this governmental requirement?
  • You may also wish to apply other conceptions of the basis for social and political order.

Philosophical Approaches to Ethical Issues in Society

Every philosophical approach to situations in sociology is of necessity in regard to decisions process about ethical issues that arise in a society. There already existing philosophies that have to define the general considerations that need to be employed while assessing the moral and ethical weight of any particular matter in the society. A productive societal life must pertain the aspects that define the reason for existence, the essence of life and all moral and ethical implications that hold the society into a cohesive union.  Existing in any community explicitly displays a need for moral standards that protect the individual from the unbridled selfishness that exists in different individuals.  Philosophical reasoning about human conduct is intended to bring a standard gauge for right and wrong. It is upon this standard that judgments can be made while moral reference is done in the light of attaining truth as pertains any situation requiring such moral evaluation (Murray,2008).

The case in question in this address involves a 53-year-old lady JoEllen who was admitted because of taking an overdose. The case has moral and legal implications because it could legally be categorized as an attempted suicide case. According to the categorical imperative, this case could be evaluated on the aspects of its implications to the individual involved.  A deeper look into the issue brings aspects of examining the clarity in the motivations of this action earlier taken by the lady.  In consideration of the first form of categorical imperative, it was, therefore, a misplaced action for the lady to do an overdose against the prescription done. Empirically, the society has outrightly defined the ethical boundaries that pertain to the sanctity of life and all the issues surrounding to it.  While personal decisions may affect moral standings and ethical practices of health professionals, it is important that there be no compromise in the situations that need ethical intervention.  Legal actions are always taken against any case that defies societal codes of living (Elwy et. al, 2012).

Many schools of thought exist in the light of ethical dilemmas that remain a challenge to health professionals and other aspects of the society. It is therefore wise to consider these different views in any situation like the one in question.  According to Hobbes, the faculty of willing is very adamant in determination as long as it is unbiased by any external pressures beyond itself.  A moral decision requires a ground that favors the decision-making process and gives a clear direction on the aspects of objective considerations in any situation (Hobbes, 2016).  The situation in question has three aspects that could give a proper ground for a fair moral judgment. The action that by JoEllen, the availability of a written advance directive request against being placed on life support. The production of the written by her son is also an element that needs consideration in this regard. Those features are crucial and could be used as a springboard in making a fair moral decision in JoEllen’s case. The philosophical view gives a chance to relate as determined by one’s will.

The Case of JoEllen and its Moral and Legal Implications

The moral view that regard the meaning of life cannot be reinvented to take different stages than ones existing. However different people have different approaches to these aspects of morality. Life is a factor that is universally objective in its value. The contribution of an individual in the matter of handling a life-threatening situation should be weighted in the balance of the views held by society. Thus, an individual’s decision to end their life or to diminish their survival’s capacity is a subjective view and cannot be final in that regard (Alexander, 2016). The society takes precedence in matters of life and protects the value placed on human life. Although an individual can make a decision on their private issues, any decision that could transcend the value of human life in a malicious effort to diminish its sanctity needs countering.  The most familiar aspects of such decisions are incorporated in the regular societal laws in many communities. Hence, any member of a society definitely owes the society a sense of responsibility and accountability in all issues that pertain to the philosophy of reasoning (Bhaskar, 2014).

Every contemporary issue has an emblem of debate that encapsulates within the moral law and philosophical view. According to Immanuel Kant, any individual in society should do what they would want others to do to them (Kant, 2012).   The extent of the moral law is universally objective and cannot be compromised for anything else. In the light of the categorical imperative, the situation, in this case, would be fully transfigured into a moral form and judged objectively.  Therefore, a deontologist like Immanuel Kant would recommend that the best efforts be made to safe JoEllen’s life. It would be noted that her document does not uphold moral objectivity in regard to the matter at hand. The recommendation would be that the health professionals in handling this case to put efforts and ensure compliance with ethical ideologies (Greene, 2008).

Consequentialists such as John Stuart Mill would give a different opinion regarding the matter in discussion. The moral view of utilitarianism which is encapsulated in consequentialism is based on making a decision whose overall consequences will favor the decision makers. It is therefore important to understand the concept behind John and Jeremy’s ideology of moral consequentialism (Eggleston, Miller, & Weinstein, 2011).  In making the decision on whether to obey JoEllen’s directive and leave her at the mercy of her situation or disobey it and save her from the situation is rational in invoking John’s moral philosophy.  Overly, John Stuart would recommend a decision that according to the medical professionals present would result in beneficence. It is essential to consider the available choice so that the best and most appropriate moral judgment is an achievement. In the case where there lacks moral precedence over the situation, philosophical reasoning would be better placed in analyzing the implications of every available choice and then critically analyzing all the implications (Willaschek, 2017).

Consequentialist and Deontological Evaluations

The case of JoEllen’s is a deeply moral issue that not only requires the borrowing of philosophical ideologies but also an embrace of moral laws in order to broadly evaluate the situation and give an objective directive.  On the thought of consequentialist view, it would be important to understand the essence of what the lady directed regarding her health and in line promotion of her happiness. However, if it is found that the decision of directing not to be placed on life support is a non-issue to promoting her state of happiness, then it could be defined in the anchorage of the moral law.  Philosophical ethics in line with professional ethics could at times allow euthanasia which also a subject of debate in philosophical views. Therefore, in the suppression of moral laws and embrace of philosophical reasoning one’s directive not to be placed in a life support could be obeyed and left to the implications of such a decision (Kant, 2013). In a personal perspective and point of view, this would be the best decision to consider if the son to the lady in the case is in support of her mother’s directive.

Philosophical reasoning is very important in handling moral dilemmas. However, the consideration that should be made is very important in determining the most valid choice. Sociological differences demand different views of moral laws, and this is an essential point of consideration in relation to any moral issue. Matters regarding life and death become too pertinent to be handled lightly in any ethical standings (Macpherson, 2010).  While other situations require totally moral judgments, there are many that need a broad sociological approach.  More importantly, all cases of moral issues that need philosophical reasoning can fit in either consequentialist or deontological evaluations.  The best consideration is when a morally upright and philosophically acceptable resolution is achieved. References on moral and philosophical concepts should be defined authentically so that every ideology is better used in problem-solving. The confidentiality of any patient’s medical information must be maintained always without any breach of ethical laws surrounding health care.

References

Alexander, J. M. (2016). Capabilities and social justice: The political philosophy of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. Routledge.

Bhaskar, R. (2014). The possibility of naturalism: A philosophical critique of the contemporary human sciences. Routledge.

Eggleston, B., Miller, D., & Weinstein, D. (Eds.). (2011). John Stuart Mill and the art of life. Oxford University Press.

Greene, J. D. (2008). The secret joke of Kant’s soul. Moral psychology, 3, 35-79.

Hobbes, T. (2016). Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan (Longman Library of Primary Sources in Philosophy). Routledge.

Kant, I. (2012). Fundamental principles of the metaphysics of morals. Courier Corporation.

Kant, I. (2013). Moral Law: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Routledge.

Elwyn, G., Frosch, D., Thomson, R., Joseph-Williams, N., Lloyd, A., Kinnersley, P., ... & Edwards, A. (2012). Shared decision making: a model for clinical practice. Journal of general internal medicine, 27(10), 1361-1367.

Macpherson, C. B. (2010). The political theory of possessive individualism: Hobbes to Locke.

Murray, M. E. (2008). Moral development and moral education: An overview. University of Illinois at Chicago website. Last accessed on September, 15, 2008.

Willaschek, M. (2017). Why the Doctrine of Right does not belong in the Metaphysics of Morals: On some Basic Distinctions in Kant’s Moral Philosophy. In Immanuel Kant (pp. 49-71). Routledge.

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