Baumans Self Preservation and Moral Duty and William C. Levins Ideology - Assignment Example

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This paper tells that in his work, Zygmunt Bauman details how a man may choose self-preservation over his moral duty to others. To do this, Bauman talks about ownership. For Bauman, man’s desire to own goods is connected to a person’s need for self-preservation…
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Baumans Self Preservation and Moral Duty and William C. Levins Ideology
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1. The connection between Bauman’s “Self Preservation and Moral Duty” and William C. Levin’s “Ideology”.
In his work, Zygmunt Bauman details how a man may chose self preservation over his moral duty to others. To do this, Bauman talks about ownership. For Bauman, man’s desire to own goods is connected a person’s need for self preservation. This good is not always a consumable, but it can also be related to security, etc.
Ownership, according to Bauman is one way for a man to interact with another – in his words “it strengthens our ties with other people; it makes us dependent on other people’s actions and motives which guide them” (Bauman, 2006, p. 126). When a man says “this is mine”, it essentially implies “this is not yours”. Hence, ownership is a social affair, the owner can deny access to a property while a non-owner has to ask for permission. Ownership allows the owner to become independent of another’s power, hence it is perceived as an enabling faculty. “It extends one’s autonomy, freedom, action and choice” (Bauman, 2006, p. 128).
Connecting this with ownership and self-preservation, Bauman says that man’s ultimate goal is to eliminate the competition and to gain control of goods. Because such interaction is a zero-sum game, the winners get to dictate the rules of the game while the losers suffer. In this view, the poor are viewed as “lazy, slovenly and negligent…[they are] lacking in character, shirking hard labor, and inclined to delinquency and law breaking” (Bauman, 2006, p.130). In this view, there is no room for moral duty which “finds its expression in the consideration of the needs of others” (Bauman, 2006, p. 131). If man were to fulfill his moral duty, then he will have to exercise self-restraint or voluntarily renounce his personal gain. The bureaucracy which was supposed to ensure that resources are allocated wisely are neutral, according to Bauman, hence, it acts based on rationality. It sees that “every person had ‘a job to do’, a problem to be solved” (Bauman, 2006, p.133). When a man does not do his job, then he will suffer because of it.
Because of this view, the bureaucracy is “made to service inhuman purposes…[it has the] ability to silence moral motivations and…[appeal] to the motive of self preservation” (Bauman, 2006, p. 134). By acting rationally, a man can make correct choices that directly addresses his need for self-preservation and self-enhancement.
Levin’s discussion of ideology directly relates to this need for self-preservation. According to him, “ideologies suit to change the times, and people can change the ideologies to which they subscribe” (Levin, 2001, pp. 241-242), depending on a person’s best interest. The changing ideologies are used to justify the actions of a group of people who are actually working to achieve their goals which based on the values that they have.
Works Cited
Bauman, Z. (2006). Self Preservation and Moral Duty. In J. Macionis (Ed.), Society: the basics (11th ed.). Prentice Hall.
Bourdeau, M. (2011). Auguste Comte. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved November 21, 2011, from
Dehne, K. L., & Riedner, G. (2001). Adolescence: A Dynamic Concept. Reproductive Health Matters, 9(17), 11-15.
Levin, W. C. (2001). Ideology. In E. Ksenych & D. Liu (Eds.), Conflict, order and action: readings in sociology (First., pp. 237-242). Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press.
Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral Study of Obedience. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371-378. Read More
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