Human Nature and Ethics
Please respond/reply appropriately to each of the following posts 1-4 below using at least 135 words for each response. Please response thoughtful. Use the following references only where applicable. -Pojman, Louis P. (2006). Who Are We? New York: Oxford University Press. -Vaughn, L. (2015). Beginning Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 1. Respond to Ethical Dilemma #3 on page 119 of Vaughn’s book. This is not much of an ethical dilemma for me. The man was convicted of a heinous crime and sentenced to life in prison yet while in prison he has developed a useful skill as a physician’s assistant. The description doesn’t say if the man remained in prison whether he would continue to work in the prison infirmary, but one would presume this would be the case. So, in prison or out he would be doing good. I have always viewed prison as a way of separating individuals from society who refuse to comply with society’s norms. The description says he is now completely harmless. So, from a utilitarianism perspective, is more good produced by having this man stay in prison with society picking up the cost of supporting him or is it better that he supports himself on the outside? I think it is clear that more good is produced by not having the government pay for the cost of him living in a prison. On the issue of what he does. He produces good by serving in the prison infirmary. He will produce good by serving in the outside clinic. However, the government has a responsibility to provide prisoners medical care. So presumably the prisoners would receive medical care whether this particular prisoner worked in the infirmary or not. On the other hand, it is reasonable to assume at least some poor patients at the outside clinic may not receive medical care at all if he isn’t working there. Therefore, even if he sees a similar number of patients in both locations, more good is produced by his working at the outside clinic than if he is working in the infirmary. 2. What do you think of the permissibility of using truth deceptively? Is it generally wrong? Is it ever right? When first looking at this question I would say it is not alright to use truth deceptively. We were all taught that we should not lie and when a person lies they begin to find the little white lies get easier and white lies become bigger lies. Although I believe that we should never lie I believe in some extreme circumstances lying is permissible. The circumstance in our readings was if a murderer was at the door and wanted to know if your friend was there should you tell them? In our reading and the lecture, we learned that Kant’s theory on lying is that lying is wrong. Kant believes that lying even to murderer at the door is wrong because once you lie you are giving up your own moral framework. I would say that in a circumstance such as this it would be permissible to tell the killer that you are not sure where your friend is which is a white lie but at that moment with them hidden in your house you don’t know exactly where they are. I believe that if your lie can help save a person than it is your moral duty to lie to save them. I understand Kant’s perspective but know that if I told the murderer where my friend was and they died because of me I would always feel responsible for that death. 3. Is virtue ethics a more promising moral theory than the others we have looked at? Why, or why not? I don’t know that I would say that virtue ethics is the most promising moral theory than others we have looked at, but it is definitely a contender. I do believe that ethics should start with looking at the character of the person and then the act. It is the character of the person that motivates their actions. I believe that to make morally right choices, it does matter the character of the person. Such virtues as honesty, loyalty, generosity, self-control, etc. are all important character traits needed to make morally right choices. Without being somewhat virtuous, we would not care about making morally right choices. However, I believe that there is more to ethics than just being virtuous. I do believe that it is definitely more promising than everyone being tied to always follow certain rules or principles. It is certainly better than just doing something out a sense of duty, or doing what will provide the greatest good or the greatest happiness for the majority considered. However, sometimes consequences to our actions should be considered. And sometimes telling a deceptive truth is the right decision. I really do believe that there is not any one ethical theory that truly fits every scenario. But I do find myself drawn more closely to natural law theory, virtue ethics and making morally right choices grounded in my faith in God. 4. Respond to ethical dilemma #3 on pp. 163-164 of Vaughn. Defend your answer. If I am to answer this ethical dilemma honestly, I would have to say that I would not turn my father in for stealing the money from his employer to be able to pay for life saving surgery for my sister. Although I know that this is wrong and would never steal from anyone, when faced with a life and death decision as presented in the dilemma it is hard to not see the positive in this. Personally, I would not turn in my father knowing the reason behind the theft and the positive outcome that would result. I am sure that not only would I feel guilt for the rest of my life, my father would as well. Although I do not believe that a virtuous person would necessarily agree with me, I do see how a virtuous person when placed in the same situation would do the same thing. Although this does not follow virtue, I think there is still a possibility that one would not turn in the father, however they would probably not consider themselves a virtuous person after that unless they see the saving of a life no matter what as virtuous.