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Marijuana Use: An Ethical Examination

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Works Cited Missing Instead of addressing the tiresome argument about whether or not marijuana should be legalized in the United States, I would like to examine a much more fundamental question: whether or not it is right to use the drug. This problem is strictly an ethical one. If we are to examine only the moral implications of the action then we must discard governmental laws from the equation, for this decision could be made anywhere, at any time, under any sort of governmental regime, under any set of laws, which after all are only that particular government’s best guess at morality and who’s to say their judgment is any better than yours? Knowing that this decision is a rather daunting one, I’ve enlisted the help of three friends, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill, to aid in the decision making process. It just so happens that they are experts in the field of ethics.

Aristotle is an ancient Greek philosopher, really the first philosopher to use the word “ethics”. His major book on ethics is titled Nicomachean Ethics (Bostock 1). In order to understand Nicomachean Ethics and apply it, we must first understand how Aristotle viewed the world. Aristotle sees the world in terms of ends, purposes, and functions. In nature, the end of the acorn is to become an oak tree. In human affairs, the end of architecture is to produce buildings; of shipbuilding, to produce ships; of medicine, to promote health. Humans too have a function, an ultimate end; this Aristotle calls eudaimonia. The traditional translation is happiness, but this translation is misleading. To put it most aptly eudaimonia “connotes overall success and prosperity and achievement, though it also connotes something that we may call...

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... the world would most likely be made up of people enjoying pleasure, something that can not really be considered bad. Many would argue that the world would be full of drug addicts, but this is not the world that we have set up. According to our perceived duty, all must use marijuana in moderation, and to use it to excess would be just as offensive to the duty as would be not using it at all.

We have now heard from three very distinguished Moral philosophers, and all have said that moderate use of marijuana is not a bad thing, one even calling it our duty. The most common type of actual moral reasoning is a loose combination or confusion of methods (Sweet 4). So, if we combine all that we have heard, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the use of marijuana, as a bodily pleasure, is morally justifiable, probably more so than not using the drug.

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