Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I've been following episodes of House since my biology teacher in my sophomore year told us it was a cool show. I actually liked the show for all its science and all the quirkiness of House and the other characters. However, lately, I've been feeling that the show is already being a drag. I was seriously thinking of stopping myself from following the series altogether. However, I think the show has evolved. What it now lacks in the science and drama department, it made up for in its more philosophical view. In a sense, the show lets its audience follow the life and thoughts of Dr. Gregory House and feel the weight of moral dilemmas we may all be facing as human beings. Don't get me wrong, I think the acting and the plot of the series is still intact, but I think there's really more weight on moral issues.

Watching the newest episode of House (Charity Case) reminded me of Kant's The Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Consider these dialogues:

Thirteen: "What am I supposed to do? I trained to be a doctor. I know how to take someone's pain away, how to make a stopped heart beat again. We've brought people's kids back, their husbands."

House: "So, guilt."

Thirteen: "... I have the skills to help people. Is it okay for me to walk away from that because I want to just have fun?"

House: "Obviously not?"

Taking Kant's perspective here, it is Thirteen's obligation to save lives. And, that's exactly what she is doing. She's being a good person by doing her obligation even though her desire of having fun is not in sync with her obligations. Applying this in general terms, can we just throw away our obligations or what we have been working on for so long, just to be happy? This is by the way Aristotle's idea of our ultimate goal - happines (eudamonia).

Now, consider a later scene at the end of the episode:

House: "I can work with people who got nowhere else to go, who got something to prove, people who just get off on weird cases. What I can't work with is someone who's here so she doesn't have to feel bad."

Thirteen: "You're trying to save me."

House: "Yes, I think that little of you and that much of me."

Thirteen: "Okay. Goodbye, House."

Now I am posing a question here. Or maybe I should say, House may be challenging Kant's argument. Kant says we need to do our obligations because we chose to do them in the first place and we need to do them with excellence (magis) in mind. However, in House's perspective (or maybe also Aristotle's perspective), if obligations are done out of guilt and not done out of love, would there be an essence in it? Maybe what I'm trying to point out here is Kant's and Aristotle's ideas have to come together, hand-in-hand, in order for us to actualize our full potential as human beings. Doing obligations that we love will make us happy. But then philosophers would argue that the act does not have any moral worth since desire and duty coincides. So I guess, it is more apt to say that we need to love our obligations. We may not always desire our obligations, but we should at least try and love it. I think it's the only way to be happy. If not, doing something out of guilt or out of disgust would only make us miserable. :)

P.S. I'm not a philosophy expert. So, I may just be babbling here. :D These are simply my take on the subject matter. :D Inputs for discussion are welcome in the comments section. :D


Anonymous said...

Nerd! HAHAHA haven't watched it yet... still downloading hehe

vampiejen said...

I'm not a nerd! :)) It just hit me while I was watching the show. :D Very nice episode! :D