To me, philosophy is the search for the meaning of life. Its constantly asking the question “why?” and contemplating the world around us as well as, the nature of human thought concerning concepts of right and wrong behavior and deciding the principles of right conduct.
This definition connects to Mill’s theory of utilitarianism because it focuses on the foundation of morals, and the correct ways to live focusing on happiness and pleasures. This relates to my personal definition because I believe philosophy focuses on concepts that revolve around the meaning of life and the correct ways in which you should live it. Although Mill’s theory of utilitarianism focuses on what is for the benefit of the majority, this should be a guiding principle for each individual. Mill’s states, “Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” This is an effective way to determine what the right decision to make is, and way to contemplate and consider the world around us.
An activity I chose, is one I’m involved with at UBC which is track and field. Based on my personal definition of philosophy this activity would qualify because it challenges individuals morals, ethics, and integrity. Not only does it call into question morals and ethics on a personal level, it opens up the discussion to the public surrounding issues regarding morals and ethics in sport. For instance, performance-enhancing drugs is often a heavily debated topic within the sports community and is not an unfamiliar one within track and field. This violation of the “spirit of sport” calls into question the ethics behind fair play and honesty which can result in unhappiness and dissatisfaction for teammates, fans, competitors, and the individual themselves. The ethics that are ingrained in our laws and the ones we abide by in our daily lives carry over into sports, it is how we ought to be and should not to be compromised. It becomes a philosophical question when a predominant majority is using performance-enhancing drugs, is it okay if the individual partakes as well. This raises doubt in individuals moral principles because they are deciding whether or not also artificially increasing physical capabilities to be equal to competitors is right or wrong. Of course, the answer would be that it is wrong to partake because it is unfair, this is a perspective Kant would share because regardless of what the others are doing, it is still a direct violation of the rules of conduct. Despite how much personal gain the individual will obtain, the act is unjust. Shafer-Landau Exalaims in a Kantian perspective: Fairness and Justice “When we make an exception of ourselves, we are acting as if we were more important than anyone else, and going on as if we were exempt from rules that others must obey. But we are not more important than others, and we are not exempt from these requirements.” This can be applied to the situation even though others are using performance-enhancing drugs, neither they nor the individual is exempt from following the rules.