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  #1  
Old 3rd June 2008, 01:30 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default moral question

this article
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...,1504092.story
describes a soldier who received the Medal of Honor for
throwing himself on a grenade in order to save four fellow soldiers.

1. Was his act moral? Why or why not?

2. Apply the three fonts of morality to his act.
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  #2  
Old 3rd June 2008, 01:46 PM
St. Thomas More St. Thomas More is offline
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Default St. Maximilan Kolbe

This reminds me of St. Maximilian Kolbe. He was a priest, dedicated to Our Lady, imprisinoed in a concentration camp during WWII. When another prisoner, married with children, was chosen by the Nazi's for execution, St. Kolbe stepped forward and asked that he be executed instead, and that this man's life be spared. And so it happened.

He died a cruel death, after being deprived of food and water for weeks. Yet I bet that his death was filled with grace and joy.

Anyway, I'll take a stab at applying the three fonts:

The intention here is a good and noble one - protecting others from death and disaster.

The act is more controversial. He's giving up his life. It sounds like suicide (which would be wrong), but it's not. He's giving up his life to spare others. As Jesus said, "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

The circumstances certainly tilt in favor of a selfless act whereby one gives up his life to save others.

So, this act is morally good and courageous.
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  #3  
Old 3rd June 2008, 01:59 PM
daytonafreak daytonafreak is offline
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Default

Lets see. The first font is the Intention, which is good-saving the life of his fellow soldiers.

The second font is the object of his intention. the act itself is throwing himself down to cover the grenade knowing that he would definitely be hurt. The meaning of the act is that he thought that doing this would prevent other injuries.

the third font is the circumstances. The circumstances were that a grenade was thrown, people were going to get hurt. He was just trying to minimize the damage.

It seems to me that this act is morally good.
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  #4  
Old 3rd June 2008, 03:27 PM
VKallin VKallin is offline
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Default It is moral

The intention was moral
The act itself was moral
The result of the act wasa moral

It is moral
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  #5  
Old 3rd June 2008, 04:10 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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the term circumstances is used in moral theology in a way that is different from its secular dictionary definition. It is anything that pertains to the morality of the act, other than the first font (intention) and the second font (the act itself and its inherent meaning). Principally, this would refer to the consequences of the act.

1. intention: to save others from death
2. act itself: an act of commission, implementing the positive precept to love your neighbor, preventing their deaths at the cost of his own life, but without violating the negative precept against suicide. His act of throwing himself on the grenade had the inherent meaning of directly protecting others from injury and death, and indirectly resulting in his own death.

3. good consequences, four persons were saved from death or severe injury, outweigh bad consequences, one person dies.

If the situation were that he would have to put a gun to his own head and kill himself directly in order to save a large number of persons, it would not be moral. One cannot directly do evil so that good may result.
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  #6  
Old 4th June 2008, 01:43 PM
St. Thomas More St. Thomas More is offline
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Default Finis

Ron,

Can the intention be separated into two parts: The intention of the act (finis operis) and the intention of the actor (finis operantis)? So, the intention of the act is to smother the grenade and the intention of the actor is to save the lives of those around him?
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  #7  
Old 3rd June 2008, 01:49 PM
Brother Brother is offline
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I think I know the first one:

The act is moral as long as the intention of the man was to sacrifice his life in order to save the life of others. For what I've read, it really was. "There is no greater love for those who give up their lives for their friends".
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  #8  
Old 10th September 2008, 06:55 PM
Shane Shane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
this article
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...,1504092.story
describes a soldier who received the Medal of Honor for
throwing himself on a grenade in order to save four fellow soldiers.

1. Was his act moral? Why or why not?

2. Apply the three fonts of morality to his act.
1. Intention - to save the lives of his four comrades = good

2. Object of intention - throwing himself on a grenade to take the damage = bad

3. Circumstances - one death vs. four lives saved = good

If the second font is bad, then technically the act should be immoral, but since the third and first fonts are good, i.e. he did not willingly throw himself on the grenade to selfishly end his own life but to save the lives of four others, so I would think the act was moral?

(I still have some work to do on this).
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  #9  
Old 10th September 2008, 08:49 PM
Rob Rob is offline
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All three fonts must be good in order for an act to be moral. If even one if immoral, then the act alltogether is immoral. The act of throwing himself on the granade to save others is not intrinsically evil per se.
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  #10  
Old 10th September 2008, 08:53 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane View Post
1. Intention - to save the lives of his four comrades = good

2. Object of intention - throwing himself on a grenade to take the damage = bad

3. Circumstances - one death vs. four lives saved = good

If the second font is bad, then technically the act should be immoral, but since the third and first fonts are good, i.e. he did not willingly throw himself on the grenade to selfishly end his own life but to save the lives of four others, so I would think the act was moral?

(I still have some work to do on this).

The first font is good.

The second font is good, since he is acting to protect his comrades from the explosion with his body. The harm done to him is not moral evil, but only physical evil (i.e. harm).

The third font is good.

All three fonts must be good for the overall act to be good.

Whenever the second font is bad, the act itself is intrinsically evil and always immoral. Thus the second font is the nature of the act itself, i.e. whether the act itself is inherently ordered in accord with the will and nature of God.
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