The “Perfect” Family (Evolving Ideas)

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“Stone Soup” by Barbara Kingsolver is a very interesting article about the constructs of societies views on non-traditional families. According to this author, non-traditional can mean anything from a divorced set of parents, to gay or lesbian partners as parents, or single-parent families. Basically it is a term for anything besides the “normal” four person family idea that America has loved for most of its’ existence. Referring to this work the question is: why do people feel the need to scrutinize these families, when at least half of the families today are non-traditional?

Personally, all I have ever known is a two-parent family, I guess if any aspect of my family were to be un-traditional, it would be the fact that my younger brother is my adopted cousin. Besides that I have “normal” parents and a younger, biological sister. Kingsolver’s article caused me to analyze my family, as well as those of my closest friends. In reflection, it seems that her claims are completely true in that most of American families are extremely diverse. In my circle of friends alone there is a single parent home, a family with separated parents and two separate homes, a traditional four-person family, and one similar to mine with three kids and married parents. Never have I personally felt the need to judge one of my friends for their un-traditional family. Matter of fact, un-traditional has become the norm for my generation I feel. Most of the time no one thinks anything of these situations, unless they are actually being talked about in conversation. When one of my friends was going through the process of her parents deciding to separate, she spoke little about the situation and if it did come up, she would be very short and to the point. It wasn’t until she and her family moved out that some of our friends who knew about her parents. This was probably to avoid judgment, but anyone who was judgmental has obviously lived an extremely sheltered life.

Half of my formal education was in private school, until sixth grade. The rest, seventh through college, has been at public institutions. I do notice a difference in the level of acceptance between these two environments. Whether this is because of location, or financial statuses, I’m not sure, but I feel that public schools do a better job of representing diversity because of the different types of students that attend them. This then leads certain kids to have a better association of the word family.

A point in the article is made that marriages that end are referred to as “failed” instead of finished. This places a lot of pressure on couples to be perfect, and this pressure alone could break a couple. My hopes for the future are that society will understand that a “perfect” family comes in many, more practical forms, and I understand the frustrations of the author. The perfect traditional family had many behind the scenes problems and pieces that made it appear as perfect as it does. This is not true of every four-person family, but certainly past research and examples in the article prove that this may be the case. As of now America is headed into the right direction, and hopefully with time ideas of the American family will reshape itself for the better.

Is Hunting for Sport Ethical? (source 4)

Source: Gunn, Alastair. “Environmental Ethics and Trophy Hunting.” Ethics & the Environment 6.1 (2001): 68-95. Indiana University Press. Web. Oct 20. 2014


Slob hunting is a term referred to as killing simply for the sake of killing something. This is the most uncivilized form of hunting and it is usually avoided in sport hunting. The article talks about “charismatic megafauna” which refers to the western mammal population that is extremely prized to both environmentalists and hunters for different reasons of course. These major target species are the key areas for lots of debate and ethical argument amongst the hunting community. These animals are mainly at danger in sport or trophy hunting, because of course dead carcasses or some part of the animal is needed for the sport. Another interesting argument in this article is that “sustainable hunting kills only animals that would die anyway”. In my opinion this argument is not really justifiable, because in theory every living thing will die eventually. Hunting interrupts the natural circle of life in nature by causing premature deaths in groups of animals. One specific animal was talked about in the article; the whale. Whales are a good example of animals that suffer due to their size. Animals that are uncontrollable due to size are often handled more roughly, because of the need to hunt them quickly and in large numbers. Marine mammals are special cases in themselves and scientists explained how no marine mammal could be ethically hunted in a way that does not cause suffering to the animal. Once you determine which animals can only be hunted with suffering it may be easier to determine what should and should not be taking place in the hunting community. Hunting animals that cannot be afforded to be lost is a huge problem.


Angus Taylor explained how “having a flourishing natural environment” is essential to the well being of our existence. I believe this because so many people today have spiritual or cultural ties with nature. Even though hunting will not completely annihilate the environment, large portions of it can be taken out because of sport hunting. Sometimes hunting balances out species that are over populated due to a decrease in their natural predators. When I read this I decided that hunting should only be accepted under these circumstances. When hunting like this takes place it is more natural and can be appreciated because it is more practical. Overall I think this source did a great job on explaining how different types of hunting affects the environment. Once I understood how other types of hunting affected nature it is easier to determine if sport hunting has an unacceptable affect on nature itself.


Is Hunting for Sport Ethical? (source 3)

Source: List, Charles List. “On the Moral Distinctiveness of Sport Hunting.” Environmental Ethics 26 (2004): 156-69. Print. 19 Oct. 2014.


“What makes this a question worth pursuing is that the very practice of sport hunting is a matter of moral debate, unlike tennis or basketball.” This quote explains how hunting for sport is a topic that must be debated a lot differently than other sports. This article summarizes the basics of the question at hand. What exactly is hunting for sport and why is the killing of animals considered a sport in the first place? This article claims that hunting has the same purposes as other arts or hobbies, and can therefore be considered a sport. The idea that people have “ritualized” hunting since the beginning of time allows for the debate that there is more of a purpose to the sport besides for goods or mindless killing. Sport hunting is generally the act of hunting with a “morally relevant difference” than other types of hunting. For example, when one hunts for goods they are shooting with the intents of a slaughter to use the animal for some sort of award. Subsistence hunting is also varying different from hunting from sport because the act of hunting for substance is used for survival in most cases. In this article the author says how hunting for sport was originally used to relieve stress and develop character among a community.

This article gave me a better look as to what exactly hunting for sport is and why it was originally used. As far as using hunting for sport as a “developer of character”, I find that to be a little ironic. Since when does slaughter become a morally acceptable determinate of character? I guess this is the moral the difference that sport hunting has when compared to other types of hunting. The article also talked about how different cultures adopt rules when hunting that make the situation seem less savage and more appropriate, but these rules were usually adopted when hunting for subsistence. I think this is because cultures that hunt for substance have an appreciation of the animals they hunt since they will need them for survival for future generations. This is also where ritualized hunting comes in to play. Once you have a better understanding of different types of hunting it is easier for one to understand what sport hunting lacks as far acceptable ethics in today’s society. This article helped me to understand the origin of the sport, and how overtime the original purpose has been taken for granted for money or trophies. The author had an appreciation for hunting that I have yet to see from my other sources. Personally, I do not understand how sport hunting is ethical, but he helped me to understand a different point of view while researching.


Analysis of “The Case Against Free Will” from Evolving Ideas

“Actions are caused by forces beyond our control” was the main idea of the article by James Rachels and Stuart Rachels. When placed on trial for murder, Clarence Darrow defended two young boys who seemed like the last people to be involved in a murder case. The boys were eighteen and nineteen at the time, and they said that their only motive for the murder was to prove that they could actually carry out their plan to society. As their lawyer, Darrow stated that he personally did not believe in crime. According to him, the actions carried out by individuals have nothing to do with their personal choices. Nature is the main determinant when it comes to the way life plays out according to this theory. Because of this idea, Darrow believed that the two boys were not guilty of a crime, but rather victims to nature. When seen by psychiatrists, the boys were in fact diagnosed as sociopaths due to behavior that had been occurring all their lives. These findings somewhat supported Dawson’s case, because even though the boys killed a man, it was not their choice to seemingly have the genetic makeup of a psychopath.


Even though the claims made by this lawyer can seem a little far-fetched, this was not the first time man has given credit to nature for the way life is carried out. “Nature consists of particles that obey the laws of physics, and everything that happens is governed by the invariable laws of cause and effect.” Personally I find this claim to be true in nature, and if humans are subject to nature then I can see where a claim can be made to prove a human innocent. Genetics are of course a major factor in one’s behavior, but the nature versus nurture debate seen in psychology shows how genetics should not be the main advocate to one’s behavior. In fact, it is usually a person’s environment that yields a specific personality. In the article I think that the two young men were completely responsible for their actions. Most of us are equipped with at least basic morals that can differentiate between right and wrong. Even though the men were seen as psychopaths to doctors, they should still be held accountable because they completely understood that they took a life just for the heck of it. Thankfully the judge understood this as well and the men served their time, but I think today this idea is becoming more and more acceptable. Of course there are laws that prevent certain ill people from being guilty in the eyes of the court, but there are some cases where a person may not be diagnosed and yet something seems “not quite right” compared to the rest of society. These cases are hard to handle, because you don’t want to abuse a person who is “at the hands of nature’s fate”, but at the same time justice must be served especially when lives have been taken.



Is Hunting for Sport Ethical? (source 2)

Source: Patrick, Bateson. “The Ethics of Hunting.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (2005): 392-97. Ecological Societies of America. Web.

“A stalker shoots an animal in the expectation that death will be instantaneous.” (Bateson) This idea is one that was not expressed in the first source summary. Basically when faced with the argument that “anyone who participates in hunts should be aware that they are involved in a sport that causes unnecessary suffering” the article discusses this point of view. Hunting with dogs has been illegal, and therefore the hunter can hope to ensure the deaths of the animals they hunt are quick and not long-suffering. Another point in the article claims that “high levels of unsustainable wildlife exploitation is occurring in Africa. With this idea in mind the reader can assume that some aspects of hunting are ethical especially in non-urban locations. Even though this is true, some animals are still being hunted for unethical reasons. In the past, as early as the 1900s, safari hunting in Africa was a lucrative sport that can earn one up to fifteen thousand U.S. dollars, which is worth even more in certain foreign countries. So with this incentive, of course hunting will be hard to restrain on the boundaries of ethics. Many do not see the harm in killing animals, especially with large sums of money in mind.

Personally, I can try to understand the difference in culture when it comes to valuing animals over money. The activity certainly is not ethically appealing, but to some it’s a way of life. The problem is when trophies and money blind so many people that large numbers are being killed at alarming rates. Unfortunately certain countries are not as enforcing on their laws preventing the quick extinction of animals. On the idea that some hunters hunt with the hopes of an instantaneous death, I feel that this is a good hope to have, but realistically the hunters have to know that certain weapons do not yield instantaneous deaths. Unnecessary suffering will happen, because simply causing the death of animal for sport is unnecessary suffering for nature nearly every time it happens. It is a good thing that hunting has laws have been enforced in certain areas, but in some regions of the world that were talked about in the article the laws are not so enforced. Killing animals like elephants and jaguars, or prized trophy animals, should not be legal anywhere. Their beauty should not be taken for the sole purpose of receiving large sums of cash or shiny trophies. I agreed with the article when it stated that cases can be made for hunting for food since sometimes it is necessary, but besides that hunting should not be acceptable.

Is Hunting for Sport Ethical?

Source : Davis, Bill. “Does Hunting Help or Hurt the Environment?” Scientific American (2009). © 2014 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. Web.


In several countries hunting for sport is a popular activity, but with this hobby or sport come many debates on ethics and overall morality of the sport. Killing animals is something that, if proven correctly, can seem natural. Seeing how humans use to survive solely off hunting animals you might think it would not be a big deal. Hunting merely for sport is when the ethical gears shift into a different direction. Bill Davis talks about how “hunting for pleasure” is what differentiates the morals of certain levels of hunting in his article, “Does Hunting Help or Hurt the Environment?”. Basically the difference in hunting now, and with our ancestors is that they had to hunt in order to live. The reality for most humans today is that hunting is not necessary to sustain life when it becomes a sport. In this article, the debate is also made that hunting balances out the overpopulation of certain species, whose numbers in population could increase at a dangerous rate. According to this article “78 percent of Americans support hunting today”. This is certainly an increase from past statistics involving hunting.

In my opinion, there are ethical debates on both sides of this spectrum. Personally, I have a few friends who engage in hunting for sport, and even though I would not personally participate I certainly do not think they have malicious intentions when engaging in hunting. Guidelines have been set for hunters, for example certain animals can not be hunted at certain times of the year. Culture certainly comes into play when deciding if hunting is a moral right. Certain cultures appreciate and value animals when hunting. Instead of just killing for bragging rights they make economical materials from their kills. The article explains how some hunt for “therapeutic” purpose. This is where I feel the line should be crossed. Killing or taking the lives of animals is something that should be taken seriously. By making it a sport it becomes about what is important to the hunter rather than what is best for nature. There will certainly always be advocates for the rights of animals and nature as a whole, but I feel as if hunters should have a better understanding of why taking animal lives should not be seen as such a casual thing.

The article represents a few justifiable arguments for hunting as a sport. In conclusion, I believe that hunting is just not ethically okay. Humans should not kill unless there is a clear and morally right purpose. Of course, each person has a different ethical approach, but most people understand that killing is not necessary in most cases therefore it should be a last resort and not a sport. Bill Davis ends his article by talking about the medium hunters and environmentalists are trying to come to as a people. Oddly enough fewer Americans are hunting today, and hopefully those who do wish to hunt will consider the effects of their sport morally and appropriately before participating.