Adam & Eve Discovering the Body of Abel


PHL 126 Conference Program (Spring 2003)

Current Crossroads:
Which Way
to Go?


Colloquium I (Tu 5/20:
9:00 am)
Human Obligation and Animal Rights

James Hunsanger, “The Purpose of Life: Why be Moral?”: My argument best follows the Divine Command Theory. I argue that there are certain good moral traits that are accepted in every culture and generation proving there is a universal moral code or law in all men. This leads to the argument that with every law comes from a lawmaker and this lawmaker hold men accountable to hold these morals. An argument that can be made is that we can never know that a higher law or lawmaker exists, but I would say that this argument can be followed through to rationally come to the conclusion that such a law maker exists and men are accountable to him.

Mari Stewart, “Animal Testing”: Animal testing should be limited to pharmaceutical and disease research. Products, such as cosmetics, hygiene products, and cleaning solutions should not be tested on animals. Current science is advanced enough to know what chemicals interact with each other, and what chemicals cause adverse effects when applied to the skin or ingested. Testing should be limited to pharmaceuticals and disease research simply because scientific research depends on it. It is not practical or even possible to perform disease research on an agar plate or with computer simulations alone. We need to learn how the disease manifests, and the only way to do that is to watch it in vitro. Guidelines have been set for animal testing by the Animal Welfare Act of 1966, which try to eliminate as much suffering as possible. By following the guidelines set by the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and limiting animal testing, much suffering can be alleviated.


Kristi Trinkle, “Animal Testing is Not Helping: An Exploration of the Practice and Why it Must be Stopped: Most animal testing is unnecessary for the advancement of science and the improvement of human lives, yet it is always harmful to the animal, so our moral obligation is  to limit testing dramatically. Based on Utilitarian principles, because animals can feel pain, the only way the suffering experienced by animals through testing can be justified is if the sacrificial pain of the animal causes more happiness for humans. In fact, animal testing is not helping humans, or causing more happiness, yet it always harms and creates unhappiness for the animal. For these reasons most animal testing is immoral and must be limited to only the justifiable tests in which pain and suffering experienced by animals through testing truly provides benefits for humans.


Commentator: Miriam Zinger

Colloquium II (Tu 5/20: 10:30 am)
Killing and Letting Die

Mathew Lambourn, “Laying Down the Law”: People largely view the death penalty as the proper punishment for somebody who has committed a crime considered to be the worse possible crime committable. It is believed that the death penalty is a deterrent to this crime by forcing would be criminals to consider their actions more carefully. My paper will explore why the death penalty does not do what it is intended to do. It is only a way for us to extract vengeance. Any kind of killing is bad even if it is the killing of somebody that we may consider to be deserving of death. The death penalty should be done away with completely as a possible punishment in today’s society.


Gregory Nelson, “Increase Immigration … Are You Serious?":  Increasing immigration poses many problems for the U.S., taking jobs away, increase in population, possibility of diseases, and increase in poverty;  not to mention the events of Sept. 11th,. I think that we have enough problems of our own to deal with and I don't think that we need to encounter any more.  Just because we are the best country, I don't think we need to be penalized for it by bringing in more people.


Carlton Hill, “Euthanasia as Suicide”: Euthanasia and assisted suicide are related and should be legal. I don’t think that assisted suicide should be legalized in general, but just in cases severe medical cases where a patient is in pain and has no chance of getting better. Also if a patient is a “vegetable” and has no chance of improving their state of being and a close relative could make that decision.


Christopher Walker, “Murder is Wrong”: In this paper I am discussing euthanasia and whether it morally right or wrong. I go in depth about the many different aspects that are in euthanasia. Through my discussion we find out what these are; active euthanasia, passive euthanasia, assisted suicide, and involuntary euthanasia. I find that some of these types of euthanasia are nothing more than murder. I prove my point by referring to our country's laws that are already in place that state in short that murder in wrong. I also shine light on the current trend that is happening where people feel that they must press their religious views onto our laws in trying to ban all forms of euthanasia.


Commentator: Anne Westerman



Coloquium III (W 5/21: 9:00 am)

Jaqueline Marlink, “The Right to Kill and Be Killed”: In this paper I examine the issue of euthanasia, while trying to show that some forms, such as involuntary and most types of nonvoluntary violate certain moral codes. To begin, definitions of the important terms are given. The three types consist of involuntary, nonvoluntary, and voluntary. These types can further be broken down in to two more specific forms, active and passive euthanasia. Physician assisted suicide is also discussed. Next, the legal issues surrounding euthanasia are addressed. Euthanasia is examined from a historical perspective and current laws and statistics are listed. Furthermore, moral issues such as quality of life and personal dignity are discussed so as to give a more in-depth look. Finally, the flaws of euthanasia are investigated. These include any pressures the patient might feel, questions about the state of mind of the patient, and religious objections.

Ben Zilz, “Live Your Life, Not the Life of Others": Euthanasia is something that all of us will either encounter or have cross our minds at some point.  If we have ever seen a loved one suffer from a terminal illness such as cancer or Alzheimer's disease, of course we do not really wish that this person die, but when it is inevitable there are several choices to be made. Can we see fit to let them end their own life and suffering? In the end the decision lies with the person who is suffering and not with us, but whether the majority of us can see fit to allow euthanasia influences whether it will ever be legal. As for the actual person suffering who must make the final call to terminate their own life, this should be their call, it is a decision of their life and death and suffering that should be left to them.  It should not be our choice as to who wishes to be a vegetable and who wishes to end it.

Rebecca Kinney, “Mercy Killing?”: Passive euthanasia is widely accepted while active is not, and I am going to be looking at why this is so.  There are a number of countries that have legalized euthanasia and I want to know how it has affected those countries in both positive and negative ways.  I will also look at the current laws and regulations in the United States and decide if there is a chance of these being changed any time in the near future.


Commentator: Mari Stewart

Colloquium IV (W 5/21: 10:30 am)
Abortion & Contraception

Ashley Borcherding, “The Right Approach to Abortion”: In my paper about abortion I am going to explain my thoughts on the right approach we should take toward abortion, and explain why I feel a fetus becomes a person at the moment of conception. This topic is very controversial in our society today, and I am going to point out the facts about abortion that seem to make it so controversial. I am also going to display my arguments against Singer's views on this subject (there are several that I have), while trying to back up why I feel my views are the correct ones. Abortion is very serious, and is nothing that should be taken lightly. That is why I wish to explore it more in depth than I already have.


Miriam Zinger, “Abortion: Rights vs. Responsibility”:  Morality is  the effort to guide one’s action by reason, and humans learn how to reason by evaluating the consequences of their actions.  For them to do this, they must take responsibility for their actions they have performed willingly, and because abortion does not require individuals to take responsibility for their actions, it is morally impermissible.  When an individual knows the consequences of her actions and chooses to carry the action out, that individual freely accepts the consequences of that action and takes responsibility for that end result.  While conception will not occur with every sexual encounter, it follows naturally from the action, and there is with every action of sexual intercourse, the chance of achieving pregnancy.  Because a woman must accept these responsibilities and choose her course of action based on the consequences, only a woman who has conceived because of rape is morally entitled to make the choice of abortion. 


Anne Westerman, “Contraception and the Culture of Death”: This paper will discuss both the religious and ethical argument against the use of contraceptives.  With rising acceptance of abortion, divorce, euthanasia, the death penalty, and embryonic testing we are creating a culture of death that must be stopped before it gets out of line.  This paper regards contraception as one of the roots of the problem of lack of respect for human life on this slippery slope. 


Commentator: Kristi Trinkle




PHL 126 Conference Program (Spring 2003)

Current Crossroads:
Which Way
to Go?