View Full Version : Do Material Indulgences compensate for a child's physical disability?

08-18-2006, 10:20 PM
Assalamualaikum WRWB

Hi Everyone,

I hope you're all doing well. I was just thinking up about this.

My point is, is it ethicaly right? Is it even an ethical problem? It's something. I just want to know what exactly. My parents do think money compensates, which confuses me.

Real-life implications that we can see: Spoilt Disabled children, have no moral compass, no empathy, no personal boundaries. This influences their adult life.

Many parents of disabled children think that material indulgences do compensate for a child’s physical disability. This is because: what they can’t have in one avenue of life, we must make up for in another. This reasoning can be seen in all aspects of life, even in those without disabilities: to make up for missing out on a holiday, a child is promised a new bike, or, even simpler, when teenagers are paid to be courteous to their relatives at Christmas parties. Many people try to fill in what is lacking in their lives with something else – those lacking in love might try to compensate for it by having a well-paid career and satisfying material wants. Likewise, parents, who have long been accustomed to this type of reasoning, may use it on their child.

This can be justified! The role of reason in the pursuit of knowledge is based on the philosophy of rationalism, whereby a logical analysis of given premises, distinct from experience or emotion, is said to be the foundation of certainty in knowledge . Reason is not based on the physical truth in a conclusion, rather whether the conclusion holds true to the given conditions, or premises. For example, Premises:
1) When one is lacking in something, it may be compensated by material objects.
2) My child is lacking certain abilities.
Therefore, I may compensate for my child’s lack in abilities with material objects. Although it remaines upon that this is a classic case of correct reasoning, but an incorrect premise. The conclusion is valid, in that it holds true to the premises, BUT: What if the premises are WRONG? Let’s look at Premise 1: When there is a lack of something in one area of life, it may always be compensated by something else. This may not necessarily be true. How, then have people formulated this premise?

From their knowledge. From their experiences, their morals, their understanding of human life. And that comes from a whole heap of knowledge avenues. Knowledge by logic, knowledge by faith, knowledge by authority… and from all different areas: Ethics mainly, but also the social sciences, the arts, history, mathematics, natural science… everything contributes.

Ethics is concerned with an age-old philosophy revolving around eudemonia. It was Aristotle who first put this idea forward in his work titled Ethics. Eudemonia means: ‘total happiness’, or ‘complete well-being’ or whatever name you want to give it – it’s concerned not only with physical happiness, but also moral virtue. Eudemonism is a philosophy that says: the purpose of all human action is to achieve this happiness. Adults naturally want their children to be happy. And they think that, by giving their child toys, money, anything they want, the child will be happy. That’s how parents arrive at the first premise – through ethics.

But wait, remember eudemonia? There’s another aspect of it that is not mentioned. How happiness can only be achieved through logical reasoning. We, as humans, are defined by rationality – it’s what makes us different from other animals. Reason is the human essence. So, in order to achieve happiness, we must be true to our essence, which is Reason. Any source of unhappiness comes from not listening to your reason. When things like emotion take over reason. When desire takes over logic. That’s when things go wrong. Parents without disabled children know perfectly well that you have to discipline your child, not give them anything they want. But, if you are a parent of a disabled, you’re influenced by emotion. It’s one of those cases where love can blind you, really.
Parents THINK that their actions are justified by ethics. Material indulgences contribute to a child’s eudemonia. But this is a fallacy. Emotion (not reason) is influencing the parents’ actions, and emotion, according to Aristotle, leads to unhappiness.

How about other ways that parents have formed the first premise? Ethics is a main way, but not the only one. What about Mathematics? How on earth does this relate to mathematics?

Let’s consider the simplest concept in mathematics – numbers. Numbers don’t actually exist. They are not physical objects. What, then, is their purpose? That’s obvious – to measure things. Humans always try to measure things in life with numbers. Everything that parents buy for a child has a price, right? That price is supposed to determine the value of an item. Nowadays, people put a value on many things: before making a decision, we weigh out the costs and benefits. Likewise, parents might place a value on their child’s disability. They then try to make up for this value using material indulgences.

But, as we’ve all guessed by now, this system of valuation has a huge problem – in all areas of life. First of all, the big question: How can you judge the value of something? What is the cost of death? How much is love, or sadness, or anger, worth? How much money are you prepared to give in exchange for freedom? How do parents judge the amount by which their child’s disability can be compensated? THEY CAN’T! There’s much room for error. Different people place different values on things. Some may value a child’s disability using an infinite figure – and so it can never be compensated by monetary goods. As a result, they try to compensate for the disability using other ‘infinite’ things like: spending more time with their children, teaching them about life, using discipline etc. But others may place a finite value on a disability, and this creates the problems that we’ve discussed concerning the child’s state of being.

There’s another problem too. By saying that the value of the disability can’t be judged – but it’s the same with all material goods. This can be shown with a simple economic analysis. (Supply and Demand) The apparent “value” of a good is determined by how much people want it, and how much is produced. But there are so many factors influencing supply and demand that it is never a steady measure of value.

So the use of mathematics to justify this claim is LARGELY FLAWED.

Problems with history – the branch of knowledge that records and analyses pas events. Predictions based on history, e.g. that physically disabled children are also disadvantaged mentally.

Problems with the arts, e.g.

Predicting the implications: Social Science

Cultural perspectives – Confucian theory of harmony.

Determinism – fate.

Free will – choice. Helen Keller.

Anyway, thats my full on thing, I hope its coherent?

Hope to hear any thoughts or comments,

All the best,

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