Lesson 6: Assignment 2

1.)    I follow an Indian culture. Being raised in an Indian household, my parents have imbedded many Indian values in my which are very different from other culture. Yet at the same time, I have had an influence from the Western values. In the Indian culture, we have a different set of language, rituals, beliefs, food and ideas. I am bi lingual in the way that I speak both the Indian language as well as English. We have a lot of different beliefs and ideas. I speak another language called Gujarati and we eat food that’s very different from American cuisine. Also there are different cultural parts. For example, family is very important. In majority of Indian culture, we live in joint families. While growing up, I lived with my grandparents (my dad’s parents), my parents and brother. It was very normal to have grandparents living with us. Although, in my case since I was brought up here I would not go for something of that since I follow a more modern point of view.

2.)    The three most important values I have learnt are family and friends are everything, respect is key and you must forgive and forget. These are the three important values I live upon. I make my friends and family my motivation for succeeding as well as always being there for them when they need me. It’s best to surround yourself with people who love and support you. It will keep me happy and successful always. I also feel that respect is everything. In order to be respected, you must be able to respect yourself and others around you. Everyone deserves respect regardless of age. Third, you must forgive and forget. There is no need to cry over the past or fight over it. We must make peace with our past for our own sake. It will let us to live happier. These values are based upon my culture. Family is a key part of my culture which is why I value it significantly and so is respect. The last value has been my own creation through my own experience.

3.)    My ethics, are my way of life. It is the codes I follow in order to be the best person I can be. I believe in loyalty to everyone. If someone has done no harm to me then I feel like I should be nice and respectful to them. To the people who have hurt me, I learn from it and just move on. I never try to spend time wasting over being sad or mad. Life is not worth it then. Also, I follow an ethical key point of trying to live in the present and not to dwell in the past or think too much about the future. These are important ideas I keep in mind in order to be happy. I fall a little bit with each philosopher. But I definitely agree with Aristotle 100%. We should strive to follow personal happiness, it is very important in life. 


Final Project- Part 4 (Actual Essay)

Sajani Shah

9 December 2013


Professor Torok


Final Paper


The novel, How to Get Rich in Filthy Asia is written by Mohsin Hamid. Throughout this novel, there are many moral concepts that can connect to our daily lives today. These concepts connect well to the philosophers analyzed in class. Using the philosophers way of thoughts and beliefs, the moral concepts can clearly be analyzed and understood much better. The concept of happiness, personal desire, wealth and family are all major themes in this novel that can be understood clearer with the ideas of the philosophers learnt in class.

This novel tells the story of a young man who moves with his family from the slums to the city. His goal is become rich and climb the success ladder. However, while doing so he chases after money and power to the point he is left with nothing. First and foremost, he falls in love at first sight with this “pretty girl” with whom he develops a relationship with and then has an affair with once he is married to a woman whom he does not love. He does not support his wife through her hardships especially when she has a painful childbirth. The wife ends up leaving the man and going off to Canada subjecting the man to becoming lonely.

The central theme in this novel was happiness. With this being said, many of Aristotle’s ideas were well incorporated in this novel. Aristotle’s philosophy deals significantly with what makes one personally happy and how virtuous they are in doing it. From the very beginning of this novel, there is a moral concept that is revealed that relates to Aristotle’s views. In the beginning, the father makes a major decision. He realizes that the better life for his family will come from moving his family from the village to the city for a better life and more happiness. This shows how virtuous the father is in caring for his family. The protagonist also symbolizes happiness by working hard to get where he wants to achieve. He realizes his personal happiness lies in becoming successful at the beginning of the novel therefore he changes and works as much as can he can in order to get where he wants to be. Climbing the success ladder in Asia is clearly much harder than as compared to United States of America. In other nations, if you are born poor then it’s hard to become rich. This is a cultural idea different from American culture.  Although, this happiness is short lived he still is able to get where he had wanted. He supports his mother and sister by visiting them and being supportive of them showing good morals while he is in search of his happiness.

In this novel, there are characters who goes against Aristotle’s way of thinking as well. One particular one was the teacher. The teacher is unhappy with his job. He is doing something for a living that goes against Aristotle’s beliefs. Aristotle believes you should do something you will feel happy and virtuous out of doing. The teacher is not doing anything to make himself happy. He, on the other hand, is giving misery to his students. For example, when the students knew more than him he let out his anger and frustration by physically hurting them.

Through Aristotle’s way of thinking, the main character strives for happiness as well. This is through love. While working his first job at a DVD store, his eyes are caught by this beautiful young girl, “pretty girl”. With this girl, he starts a relationship with her and is caught with an affair with her. He falls for her and is happy with her however he still marries a woman he does not love. This does not stop him from his personal satisfaction. He still maintains relations with his first love because of him striving for his personal happiness. The pretty girl also strives for her own personal happiness by fame. Her goal in life is to become famous and rich. With this being said, she goes to great measures to make sure she gets her fame for her own personal happiness. Clearly these are all points of Aristotle regarding personal happiness.

The ideas of JS Mills are also clearly depicted through the moral of this novel. Mills ideas revolved greatly on human pleasure and the desires which is what much of this novel revolves around. Mills has a philosophical idea of high and low pleasures. The high pleasures are more defined and impacted as compared to the lower pleasures faced. The protagonist in this book does everything he can for his own pleasures. A high pleasure in this book was how the protagonist climbed the success ladder from the bottom to the top. His one greatest demand in life was to be successful and rich and he was able to attain. Although, he did not end up enjoying it when he got it later. He enjoyed it significantly for a greater portion. A low pleasure is defined as when he fell in love with the girl but it was not everlasting since he got more caught up with the pleasures of being rich and powerful. Another low pleasure was when the pretty girl slept with the guy for her own pleasures and to get further in life. She did not sleep with him because she loved him but more for her own satisfaction. It was a low pleasure because it was not everlasting. Also, another high pleasure was towards the end. The protagonist found much joy when he was able to share his wealth and be giving. Clearly, high pleasures can be characterized by family support, true love, wealth and happiness which is all shown clearly in this novel.

          Kant’s philosophical values focused greatly on happiness and doing something if they want or if they are forced into doing it. This is a moral concept that is shown a lot in this the idea of the protagonist doing what it takes to be successful after leading a life in poverty. Another idea of this is the protagonist love for his family. When his mother was very ill and his sister was pregnant. He did what he could out of his love for his family to visit them and spend time with them. Also, another idea Kant reflects on in his beliefs are how humans can be corrupt and wrong as part of human nature. This goes in hand with the brother in law and how he stole the money from the business. He also ran away with it leading the protagonist to having to deal with it. This shows how humans can be corrupt and wrong. Also, the pretty girl’s father was an alcoholic who took advantage of her and her mother’s money. He used it to gamble which is very wrong and clearly relates to Kant’s beliefs. Many of Kant’s ideas can be shown through the morals of this novel.

All in all, this novel had many moral concepts that can go hand in hand with the lessons of the philosophers. This novel was amazing on letting us understand moral concepts and giving us a reality check. Through this novel, it was easier to gain knowledge about reality. Sometimes money is not everything and even if one gets to the top it is nothing without love and support. Family and friends are an important part of life which is also stated by Claudia Card. Being happy is what should be strived and along that motivation is what keeps us successful. This novel was very interesting and very happy to have read such an amazing story filled with so much depth that can be related to my own personal life. 

Final Project: part 4

How to Get Filthy Rich in Asia by Mohsin Hamid is an extraordinary novel filled with many life lessons and moral concepts. These are all related the philosophers we covered in class. It was very interesting in finding moral values and being able to connect it to everything we learnt through the semesters. One of the major things I learnt from this novel was definitely that money and wealth is not important. It’s not the true path of happiness. Having great family support and love is what makes life so special and happy. Therefore, do not let the good people step away from your life, admire them. Also, don’t become greedy after money because at the end of the money is temporarily. 

Continue reading

Final Project: Part 3

How to Get Rich in Rising Asia written by Mohsen Hamid is filled with many morals. These were morals that we could connect to our daily lives however more important these values. One of the major values in this book that I was able to learn from is personal happiness. This book is all about doing what it takes to be happy. The protagonist of this book comes from a poor family and for his personal happiness he does what it takes to get out of the poverty he lives in order to live a better life. With this being said, the philosophers this greatly relates to is Aristotle. Aristotle’s philosophy was to achieve personal happiness. This is what the protagonist and many other characters in this novel do; they do what it takes to make them happy. The main character climbs the ladder of success to get to the top and get the money and power he wants to be happy. However, this all comes with a hefty price. Instead of being happy, he realizes that material isn’t what makes one happy. He loses his riches  and ends up with no love and family either. In this case, he learns the harsh way that money is not the only thing that matters in life. Aristotle’s philosophical vales were greatly portrayed in this book.

               The people in this book are all about gaining happiness which is what Aristotle’s philosophy is. Do what makes you happy. The protagonist becomes happy when he climbs to the top of the ladder and falls for the Pretty Girl. The Pretty Girl self satisfies herself with happiness by letting go of her unhappiness which was living with her parents and going on doing what was going to make her happy which was fame. The wife leaves the man for her own happiness after realizing the man is not doing what it takes to keep her happy. This book revolves around the happiness of the characters however it also shows that sometimes what we think can cause happiness does not really which is very similar to Aristotle’s ideas of happiness.

               I really liked the writing style of this book. I am not much of a reader therefore this book was a quick and easy one. The great part about this writing style was that it was unpredictable. I never knew what was going to be said or done while I was reading. Sometimes I would read it and the writing style would be all satirical and another page It was serious and tear filling. Also, this book was a self book which is very interesting. It was my first time reading a self book and I really enjoyed it. It was not just a how to but it gave me a connection on more of a personal level because I felt like I could relate to the protagonist and the problems he faced. It was very realistic.

               Often times people fall into situation where they think what they are doing is for their own personal happiness however come to realize it’s not actually what makes them happy. This is true for this novel. Many of the characters battle with themselves in order to be happy however they have a change of mind. Money and power are not the only things subjected to happiness and without love it is very hard to be happy too. 

Final Project: Part 2

Morally Right

–        How the father works day and night to provide for his family. It shows how he is responsible enough and caring enough to provide for his family. Even though he barely makes minimum he has good morals to work this hard for them.

–        The decision to move to the city was a better decision. The father made a better decision to move to a place where more opportunities for him and his family to grow and live a better life.  

–        The main character attending school is morally right. He could’ve sat at home but he took advantage of the city life and went to school for better opportunities.

–        The mother was medically ill and not feeling well and the sister was pregnant. With this in mind, the protagonist went home to care for them. It shows his love and care for his family which is right and how it should be.

–        It was morally correct of how the matriarch helped the man’s family pay for the mother’s medical bills and expenses. It shows how one should be helpful to others in need.

–        The ex wife was morally correct when she came home and looked after the man after he had a heart attack.


Morally Incorrect

–        It was morally incorrect for the parents to give false hope to their daughter. They should not have told her it was okay for to go back to school but then to get her married instead.

–        The teacher should never have punished his students for being too smart. If he is unhappy being a teacher then he should not vent out his unhappiness on his students for their right answers. It is also morally incorrect for the teacher to be doing something hes not happy with.

–        The education system in rising Asia is morally wrong. Cheating will not get anyone anywhere. The corruption is horrible there, it is morally wrong to allow students to pass by paying their way.

–        It was wrong for the protagonist to work for a company where they took off expired stickers off food and replaced them with new ones.

–        It was wrong for the protagonist to steal DVDs for the girl. Stealing is morally wrong even if the girl was pressuring him he should have known better than to actually do it.

–        It was morally wrong for the guard not to let the man in at the hotel in because of his looks. Looks should never be a factor in judging someone that is morally wrong.

–        It was wrong for the pretty girl’s father to gamble his wife and daughter’s money like that. They worked for it and he should not take advantage of it like that.

–        It was morally incorrect for the man to marry his wife whom he did not love. Love is an important factor in marriage and its morally wrong to marry someone who you do not love. It’s leading the other person on.

–        It was morally wrong for the brother in law to take off with someone’s money like that and ruin the business. That was very wrong and horrible.



–        Father: The father is a very virtuous character in this novel. He does his utmost best to ensure his family is in good condition. He makes sure he can do is best to supply for his family. He even moved his family from the village to the city in order to ensure a better life for them. The amount of love and affection he has shows how virtuous he is.

–        Matriarch: The matriarch is very loyal and valued. She is very helpful. When the family did not have money to pay for the mother’s medical expenses, she was virtuous enough to pay for the expenses. She was very helpful in supporting the family during their rough times. 

–        Man’s wife: The man’s wife symbolizes the role of a woman in this book. She is classy, confident, caring and trustworthy in everything she does and how she portrays herself. Even when the man did not love her, she still came back and took care of him after his heart attack. She is very virtuous because she also does a lot of charity work and tries her utmost to help others in need.

Not Virtuous

–        Pretty girl: The pretty girl was not virtuous. She first pressured someone to steal for her. She should not even be thinking of doing something like that let alone having someone steal videos for her. She also showed lack of care for her mother. Her mother was sick and she should not have just left her with her father who was a drunkard and gamble addict. She should have been selfless enough to stay back and care for her mother. She slept with a man not because she loved him but because of her own personal motives which is very unvirtuous.

–        Brother in law: The protagonist’s brother in law was an unvirtuous man. He stole money from the business and ran away with it. Stealing is very wrong and unvirtuous. He should not have done something like that because it led to the protagonist in trouble with the police.

–        Teacher: The teacher was not virtuous either. First and foremost, he was in a job that he was not happy with and due to this he let his anger out on his students. When the students were right and he was not he got very angered and would take it out on the students who did nothing wrong.

Virtuous & Non Virtuous

               Protagonist- the man: The man was both virtuous and non-virtuous. He was virtuous when he had a strong desire to work for his money and be successful. Also when he took care of his mom and sister. He was very caring and showed the valued in embedded in him. However, he was equally non virtuous as well. First and foremost, he stole those DVDs which was wrong and morally incorrect. Also, he was not loyal to his wife. He did not love her and was not supportive of her. When she was pregnant and giving birth, he was absent for it. He should have been more up front and honest about his past. For example, he should have told his wife about the pretty lady however he chose to hide such information instead. He became greedy after money which is wrong. It’s good to be motivated but not to the point where money is the only thing that matters. However, towards the end he realizes and becomes virtuous.

List of Pleasures

–        Moving to the city was full of measures. The family got to upgrade from their lifestyle in the village to something better. It must have been very exciting because there were no opportunities and everyone was going to live a better life.

–        The pretty girl having sex on the rooftop was something pleasurable. In which satisfactions for both the pretty girl and man were met.

–        The money the man started to gain from the business was pleasurable because it was the first time in his life he had been around with so much money.

–        The man falling in love with the pretty was enjoying and sought him happiness for the time being.

–        The matriarch paying for the mother’s medical bills. It provided the family with happiness and a burden of relief since they were unable to pay for it.

–        The pretty girl’s father was a drunkard. Him drinking excessively gave him much pleasures.

–        The man’s son ends up visiting gave the man pleasures to see his son after so long.

–        The man helping those in need at the end probably was a pleasure since he was able to help those in need and make them happier.

List of Sufferings

–        -When the teacher pulled on the man’s ear, the man suffered in pain both physically and mentally.

–        The death of the man’s mother prompted suffering since it was mother who died he felt sadden.

–        The man was suffering when the motorcyclist beat up the man just because he worked for a competing company.

–        The pretty girl probably suffered a lot because of her family. Her father was gambling with her money as well as her mother’s and he was an alcoholic. Her mother was very sick. All of the suffering she went through regarding her family is why she left home.

–        The pretty girl’s mother suffered when her daughter ended up leaving her to become famous. This is because it basically left her alone since her husband was a big alcoholic.

–        The man suffered when he did not attain the rights as most people because of the poverty he lived in during the beginning

–        The man’s wife went through a lot of suffering when her husband was absent during the time of her childbirth and during the times she needed him.

–        The man was probably suffering when he was married to a woman he did not even love.

–        The pretty girl underwent much suffering when she was diagnosed with cancer.

–        The man suffered when the pretty girl died as that was his love. 

Final Project Part 1

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia was a very interesting book. I am not much of a reader however this book really caught my attention. Written by Mohsin Hamid, this book basically gives a glimpse of how poverty should not stop one from achieving their dreams. In this book, the basic plotline of it is that a young boy who comes from a very poor family. He moves from the village to a slum in a big city where opportunities expand for him. He becomes more hopeful and motivated about making a better future for himself. He realizes that he needs to work very hard to get to the top. His desire to exceed and be successful and leave the horrible conditions he is living in. With all this in mind, he figures out a way. He starts from the bottom and climbs his way to the top. The way he does this is through opening his own business. He opens up his own bottled water factory and prospers from there. However, this opening up a business was not an overnight process. He sees a lot of hardships through this and is disheartened many times. For example, there was a time when he wanted to gain an education and he was shut down because of his previous lack of education and his background. Being a son of a servant, no university was willing to gain an admittance. The amount of hardships this boy went through is horrible and it’s so amazing how he was willing to still go for his dreams and not give up. His poor mother was sick and suffering from cancer. He had a lot on his plate but at the end he realized he was going to get rich and be successful. He knew it was not an easy process yet this did not stop him. This still does not stop him from becoming successful. He realizes in order to be successful you have to be your competitor and not worry about what others are doing. And through his struggles, he is lucky enough to find true love. Many believe these days that true and success do not go hand in hand however this book shows otherwise. The boy was lucky enough to fall in love with his teenage sweetheart. He falls in love with her through his first job. She becomes rich and famous as well and he ends up marrying her and starting a family with her while being a successful business tycoon.

               The book gave me a new perspective on how to view life. I realized that hard work definitely does pay off. It gave me a reality check as well. Sometimes, I get lazy and start taking things for granted when there’s people who are in a worse situation than I am. It gives me a motivator to succeed as well. I want to go to Physician Assistant school to become a PA and sometimes I forget about my goals and get caught up. The protagonist in this book was in a worse situation than I was and went through so many hardships and still made it to the top. I am blessed with a good environment and sometimes I take that for granted. Hard work definitely pays off and if you are good to others then good will definitely come your way. The more you struggle, the more bless you will when you reach to the top. I was definitely motivated by this. I also realized that my living conditions are so much better than the developing Asia. Things there are very corrupted and political. It is harder to be successful if you have a worse background over there whereas it is easier over here. I definitely was motivated by this amazing story and really made me thankful for what I have. 

Lesson 6: Assignment 1

Absurd consequences follow from Subjective Ethical Relativism. If it is correct, then morality reduces to aesthetic tastes over which there can be no argument nor interpersonal judgment. Although many students say that they hold this position, there seems to be a conflict between it and other of their moral views (e.g., that Hitler is really morally bad or capital punishment is always wrong). There seems to be a contradiction between Subjectivism and the very concept of morality, which it is supposed to characterize, for morality has to do with “proper” resolution of interpersonal conflict and the ameliora­tion of the human predicament. Whatever else it does, it has a mini­mal aim of preventing a state of chaos where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” But if so, Subjectivism is no help at all in doing this, for it doesn’t rest on social agreement of principle (as the conventionalist maintains) or on an objectively independent set of norms that bind all people for the common good.

3.) Subject ethical relativism is followed by absurd consequences. It relates to the ethical moral contexts in which one bases their opinions on. There are many moral views in which one holds their opinions. These moral views come in the view of Hitler or even something like capital punishment. This paragraph also talks about the contradiction between subjectivism and the whole concept of morality. Morality has a lot to do with a person’s personal views and opinions on things. Subjectivism is not based upon social agreement of principle and does not depend at all on the common good of people

4.) I chose this paragraph because it was a challenging one and I really wanted to get to understand it more. I think ethical relativism is very important to our daily lives. It helps us to form better opinions on certain topics. Topics such as death punishment and Adolf Hitler are areas of subject ethical relativism. The term ethical  relativism is applied in this situation because it helps to determine whether or not something is morally right or wrong. Morality has a lot to do with someone’s inner views and conflicts. Many people have different ethical views on certain topics and its important for us to realize that everyone is entitled to their own views. Some people might be against the capital punishment whereas some people might totally be agreeing to it. 


-Yes I agree with this one hundred percent. Culture is all different and there is no right or wrong in a cultural value. People all have different cultural values and we need to understand and respect that. As individuals, we must be considerate and welcome of other people’s values because it is their own beliefs. Culture is what makes up a civilization and as an individual should not judge another culture. It is their belief. One culture might do things differently than another culture is what makes each culture so special and unique. It is a set of values and rituals shared amongst a group of people.  We should not judge one culture the moral values if they are different because it is their beliefs. Even if one feels like something is morally incorrect, we are no one to judge as it is their beliefs and ideas they follow to ensure a productive life. 

– Yes it is convincing to me. Everyone has different approaches and viewpoints on subjects such as God. We as individuals should be very open minded and understanding of other’s beliefs on topics such as this.  

-Yes it is very strong. This argument allows us to better understand our values and virtues as well as beliefs. It allows us to justify our moral decisions. This argument allowed me to better understand the decisions people make and how virtue, beliefs and morals come into play in our decision making and overall as a human being. 

–We are individuals in this world. We are all entitled to our own decisions and are allowed to form opinions on many of our beliefs. This is what allows us to grow furthermore as human beings, this is how we gain more knowledge and intelligence. We, as individuals are allowed to make moral judgement as a way of life and as an approach of growing as human beings. We are all entitled to our opinions and are allowed to be able to differentiate between what is morally right or wrong. Moral judgements include opinions on what’s right or wrong. For instance, we should be able to base our views on whether or not stealing is right or wrong as individuals in society. This has a lot to do with “conflicting moralities”  which basically allows us to judge between right and wrong. It is a way of us to form our own decisions and judgement as individuals in society.