ETHC 445 All Discussions
ETHC 445 All Discussions
Helen wants to move to a new community, and she is applying for a job…
ETHC 445 All Discussions
ETHC 445 All Discussions
Week 1-7 All Students Posts 483 Pages
Helen’s Wisdom of Friends Dilemma Discussions and Study of Ethical Philosophy Week 1 Discussions- 88 Pages
Helen’s Wisdom of Friends Dilemma – 46 Pages
Helen wants to move to a new community, and she is applying for a job with a small retail establishment. She is confident that she is fully qualified and will be able to perform well if she gets the job. The employer, however, has advertised for someone with three years of retail experience, and Helen only has two-and-a-half years. She is considering whether to exaggerate slightly on her resume in order to improve her chances of getting the job.
Helen asks three friends to offer their advice on what she should do.
— Henry says, “Go ahead and claim three-and-a-half years of experience; they’re going to be so happy with your work that by the time they check (if they ever do) it won’t matter.”
— Jennifer says, “I’m sure you’ll arrive at the best decision on your own; I’ve always known you to be an honest person.”
— George says, “It is never all right to lie, even when you are unlikely to get caught and it seems relatively harmless to do so.”
To begin our discussion this week, let’s discuss some of the following questions:
1. Which of the Three Primary Schools of Ethics is each of Helen’s friends relying upon?
2. Can you imagine other people using the same approaches to arrive at different kinds of advice?
3. Do one of these Three Primary Schools of Ethics feel like the style you usually use already?
Study of Ethical Philosophy – 42 Pages
The study of Ethics and Philosophy is one which brings many different kinds of “thinkers” together. One person’s philosophy on Ethics is another person’s philosophy on Evil. We will be working this term on constructing personal ethical bases and understanding how Ethical Codes (both personal and professional) are created and followed.
To start us thinking about the different areas of philosophy and ethics, and how we fit into the different molds or world views, let’s discuss the differences and similarities between these views.
To do this, let’s look at the role of right and wrong, laws which regulate behavior, principles vs. morality, and the role of ethics in our society.
To start out we’ll answer some of these questions and create more of them as we go. Pick one of the following and respond to your classmates thoughts and views:
- Do we need ethics if we have laws? Why or why not?2. Is it ethical to change our own views of ethics based on the situation we are in?3. Can we “legislate” ethics?4. How does…mirror your ethical view, or how is it different?
When Siding with the Majority and The Struggle of Good vs. Evil Discussions Week 2 Discussions- 68 Pages
When Siding with the Majority – 33 Pages
As our opening page states, Mark Twain warned that “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” It is likely that your parents warned you “not to follow the crowd,” or your school counselors warned you about “peer pressure.”
The United States utilizes a democratic republic form of government, which espouses the “majority rule” in many instances. For example, when passing laws, Congress and state Legislators use majority voting. When electing our officials, the majority rules. But, is our government unethical?
This week’s thread will look at two or three “examples” of majority findings or rules.
We will bring new ones in throughout the week, so be sure to visit back at least every other day and post your thoughts.
Here is our first one for the week:
The great majority of people seem to find nothing objectionable about the use of commercials in children’s television programming. Yet a distinguished panel commissioned by the National Science Foundation found reason to disagree. After reviewing 21 relevant scholarly studies, they concluded:
It is clear from the available evidence that television advertising does influence children. Research has demonstrated that children attend to and learn from commercials, and that advertising is at least moderately successful in creating positive attitudes toward and the desire for products advertised. The variable that emerged most clearly across numerous studies as a strong determinant of children’s perception of television advertising is the child’s age. Research clearly establishes that children become more skilled in evaluating television advertising as they grow older, and that to treat all children from 2 to 12 as a homogenous group masks important, perhaps crucial differences.
Do you think the majority view is correct in this case? What difference would it make that a majority thinks this way?
Do you think the use of commercials in children’s television programming raises any ethical questions? Do explain.
Do you wish to place evidence for what you say before your classmates? Do you agree with the majority of adults who say there is no problem with advertising aimed at kids to promote breakfast cereals, toys or clothing?
The Struggle of Good vs. Evil – 35 Pages
Personal struggles with one’s own tendencies, desires, lusts, and self-interest have placed people in conflict with other people and their own communities farther back than any of us can read. We read about the struggles of others in history — what about ourselves? Yes, us! What about our experiences of being ourselves?When we look back in history, we find people who are not so different from us — struggling with their human nature — and trying to live ethical lives in whatever way they can do so. They aspire to live ethical lifes and find themselves failing again and again.St. Augustine in the 5th Century held that although we feel free to make choices in life, our true nature as human beings includes a persistent disregard for what is good. On this view, we are sinners whose only hope for redemption lies in the gracious love of a merciful deity. Whatever I do on my own, Augustine would argue, is bound to be wrong; whatever I do right, must be performed by God through me.St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century brought Aristotle’s theories back into “vogue,” soon after St. Augustine’s death (if 800 years is soon, that is.) He allowed humanity to have a bit of secularity along with faith, and his ethics allows for a Natural Law which can be found in the heart of man. Please be sure to listen to our Saints’ Debate on the lecture tab before working in this thread.
So, here we are in the 21st Century with all the sophistication and technology of the age. Does this account of human nature fit well with your own experience of human action? That is, do you observe (in yourself and others) an inclination toward evil instead of toward good? Bring in examples of scenarios which bolster your view, or which tend to bring your view (or others) into question.
Applying the Death Penalty and Living in Our State of Nature Discussions Week 3 Discussions- 63 Pages
Applying the Death Penalty – 32 Pages
First, here is a word of caution. With this discussion comes a tasking to discuss the death penalty in two ways: first, as an expression of the social contract, where one person has killed another in a violation of that other person’s right to peace and safety, and second, as a rules-based function of the justice system being applied to a difficult situation.
What do you see going on that is a violation of the Hobbes/Locke social contract idea?
And you might also connect it with any of the Three Schools, plus Aristotle, that you have read in past weeks—and especially with the rules-based ethics model.
Here’s the situation: In Manatee County, Florida, a judge sentenced a man to death—the first time this had happened in the county for over 19 years. Sentenced to death was a 25-year-old man for the January 7, 2004, murder of both of his parents by bludgeoning them to death in their bed with a baseball bat.
Now, with your social contract ethicist hats on, tell us what you make of this quote by the judge at the sentencing, quoted from the front page of the November 17, 2007 Bradenton Herald: “You have not only forfeited your right to live among us, but under the laws of the state of Florida, you have forfeited the right to live at all.”
Have at it, good folks. But, rather than running off with reactions and opinions about the death penalty in general, please do keep it in the context of our social contract discussion for this week and also connected with ethics of justice. Do we have an intuitive sense of right and wrong? In the movie A Time to Kill based on the John Grisham novel, a father Carl Lee Hailey attempts to exact justice for the rape and attempted murder of his young daughter. Setting aside for the moment the mental state or motivation of Carl Lee, do we have an intuitive sense that Carl Lee’s actions are justified?
Living in Our State of Nature – 31 Pages
Social Contract theorists say that morality consists of a set of rules governing how people should treat one another that rational beings will agree to accept for their mutual benefit, on the condition that others agree to follow these rules as well.
Hobbes runs the logic like this in the form of a logical syllogism:
1) We are all self-interested,
2) Each of us needs to have a peaceful and cooperative social order to pursue our interests,
3) We need moral rules in order to establish and maintain a cooperative social order,
Therefore, self-interest motivates us to establish moral rules.
Thomas Hobbes looked to the past to observe a primitive “State of Nature” in which there is no such thing as morality, and that this self-interested human nature was “nasty, brutish, and short” — a kind of perpetual state of warfare
John Locke disagreed, and set forth the view that the state exists to preserve the natural rights of its citizens. When governments fail in that task, citizens have the right—and sometimes the duty—to withdraw their support and even to rebel. Listen to Locke’s audio on the lecture tab and read his lecturette to be able to answer this thread.
Locke addressed Hobbes’s claim that the state of nature was the state of war, though he attribute this claim to “some men” not to Hobbes. He refuted it by pointing to existing and real historical examples of people in a state of nature. For this purpose he regarded any people who are not subject to a common judge to resolve disputes, people who may legitimately take action to themselves punish wrong doers, as in a state of nature.
Which philosophy do you espouse? In coming to grips with the two and considering your experience of society as it is today, think out loud about what you experiences as the State of Nature, and tell us what you would be willing to give up in exchange for civil order and personal security?
You might consider what you have already given up in exchange for security as well as what might be required in coming days. Let’s start with our philosophers. Who do you agree with Hobbes or Locke?…
Ethics of Controlling Environmental Innovation and Kant – Accomplice to Crazed Murderer? Week 4 Discussions- 67 Pages
Ethics of Controlling Environmental Innovation – 35 Pages
Increasing food supplies are necessary to sustain growing populations around the world and their appetites for great food, quality products, and continuous availability.
A great deal of expensive research is invested in developing technologies to deliver productive agriculture. Horticultural efforts to breed hybrid crops are seen as far back as history can observe, and there have been efforts to domesticate improved animals, as well. Gene splitting was a 1990s technology to improve the health and productivity of farm crops. With the 21st century have come genetically modified foods (GMF) through the use of nanotechnology to cause changes at the genetic and even molecular levels. These are very expensive technologies, and many new products have been patented and otherwise protected as proprietary products of intellectual property.
Drive out to the country during growing season, and you will see signs identifying that the crop has been grown with a protected seed that cannot be used to produce retained seed for planting in the next growing season.
In terms of this week’s TCOs, what ethical issues are raised by this legal process of patent protection, and how do we see the primary schools of ethics used in these proprietary measures? What, in this deontological week and in our learning to date, informs our understanding of this situation, and what should be done about it?
Kant – Accomplice to Crazed Murderer? – 32 Pages
Kant’s famous First Formulation of the Categorical Imperative reads:
“Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” Kant taught morality as a matter of following maxims of living that reflect absolute laws. “Universal” is a term that allows for no exceptions, and what is universal applies always and everywhere. Lying, for any reason, is universally wrong.
Be sure to listen to Kant’s audio lecture before posting this week!
So, consider the famous case of the Crazed Murderer. In your town the Crazed Murderer comes to your door looking for your friend and wanting to kill him. You know that your friend went home to hide. What do you tell the murderer? When he leaves and runs up the street to your friend’s house, what do you do? What do you think? Would you tell the crazed murderer the truth about your friend’s whereabouts? Why or why not?
Life & Death; Politics & Ethics Discussions and Dealing with Emergencies and Outcomes Week 5 Discussions- 66 Pages
Life & Death; Politics & Ethics – 36 Pages
There are three basic propositions in standard Utilitarianism (Please be sure to listen to Mill’s audio lecture before joining this threaded discussion):
- Actions are judged right and wrong solely on their consequences;that is, nothing else matters except the consequence, and right actions are simply those with the best consequences.
- To assess consequences, the only thing that matters is the amount of happiness and unhappiness caused;that is, there is only one criterion and everything else is irrelevant.
- In calculating happiness and unhappiness caused, nobody’s happiness counts any more than anybody else’s;that is, everybody’s welfare is equally important and the majority rules.
In specific cases where justice and utility are in conflict, it may seem expedient to serve the greater happiness through quick action that overrules consideration for justice. There is a side to happiness that can call for rushed decisions and actions that put decision-makers under the pressure of expediency.
Here is a dilemma for our class:
You are the elected district attorney. You receive a phone call from a nursing home administrator who was a good friend of yours in college. She has a waiting list of 3,000 people who will die if they don’t get into her nursing home facility within the next 3 weeks, and she currently has 400 patients who have asked (or their families have asked on their behalf) for the famous Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s (fictitious) sister, Dr. Jill Kevorkian, for assistance in helping them die. The 3,000 people on the waiting list want to live. She (the nursing home administrator) wants to know if you would agree to “look the other way” if she let in Dr. Jill to assist in the suicide of the 400 patients who have requested it, thus allowing at least 400 of the 3,000 on the waiting list in.
- How would we use Utilitarianism to “solve” this dilemma?
- What ethics did your friend, the nursing home administrator, use in deciding to call you?
- What ethics are you using if you just “look the other way” and let it happen?
Dealing with Emergencies and Outcomes – Posts 30 Pages
Chapter 9 of our text includes the terrorism situation at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and it needs to be read before engaging this discussion.
The principle of utility involves maximizing happiness as a desirable outcome of decisions. Although it does not get directly said, there is an inverse intention to minimize the undesirable outcome of disaster. Utilitarian decisions are directed toward outcomes—that is, the consequences of decisions.
The Olympic hostage situation was a high-tension moment, full of dangerous surprises and strategies to deal with the situation that did not work out for the best. Among the strategies was the idea to kill the leader of the terrorists so as to disrupt the terrorist plot and to allow a good outcome in which the hostages would be saved. In the situation it was also entirely possible that a terrible outcome might occur in which all would die. The situation was an emergency.
The German legal system might eventually take the terrorists and their leader to trial, but first there was the need to end the hostage situation. The account in our text ends with, “But it was the lesser of two evils.”
As utilitarian ethicists this week, how shall we reason through to the decision of the law enforcement authorities at the 1972 Munich Olympics?
Applying Rand’s Objectivism and Working Conflict Resolution Methods Week 6 Discussions- 69 Pages
Applying Rand’s Objectivism – 35 Pages
Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy has been touted by her detractors as the philosophy of self-interested selfishness.
Her four epistemological principles are:
1. Metaphysics: Objective reality of the world and the objects in it.
2. Epistemology: Reason as the one and only key to understanding.
3. Ethics: Self-interest in what behavior is but also what it should be.
4. Politics: Capitalism through the performance of deeds by individuals who are self-interested.
In the early 1960’s, a student asked a spokesman for Objectivism what would happen to the poor in an Objectivist’s free society.
The spokesman answered, “If you want to help them, you will not be stopped.”
If one reads Rand’s works, Atlas Shrugged, or The Fountainhead, one will conclude that this would be the answer Ayn would have given to that student as well. What do you conclude from the answer given by the Objectivist spokesperson?
Is Objectivism, like Moral Relativism, the opposite of ethics?
And what clue in what she taught leads to your conclusion?…
Working Conflict Resolution Methods – 34 Pages
Different ways to analyze ethical behaviors and dilemmas exist, and many of them will help direct you to the correct or “best” solution to a problem. As we discussed in week 1 in the “tough choices” .pdf, sometimes right vs. right or wrong vs. wrong decisions have to be made. In the lecture this week, you are given three ethical dilemma resolution models to try out on a dilemma provided there. Please review that interactive before posting to the threads this week, and let’s bring your questions and comments about the “proposed” solutions here to the threads. We will talk about that through mid-week, and then I will post a new dilemma here where we will, as a group, begin analyzing it using the different methods. You will need to be able to use these three models (Blanchard and Peale, Laura Nash and Front page of the Newspaper) on the final exam … so let’s be sure to practice all three of them together this week. So, to start this off, let’s address the dilemma in the Week 6 Lecture interactive (in the middle of the page). You MUST read the lecture and run the interactive in order to participate in the threads this week!
- Review the sample solution to the Laura Nash method. Do you agree with that analysis? If so, what parts do you think really helped you work through the dilemma? If not, which parts do you not agree with?
- Review the sample solution to the Front Page of the Newspaper method.Do you think this is one of those types of dilemmas for which this model works? If not, why not? If so, why? How did using this method help you work through the dilemma?
- Review the sample solution to the Blanchard and Peale method.Do you agree with the analysis? If not, why not? If so, in what way did this help you analyze this dilemma?
Pick ONE of the above 3 questions and let’s get started. Or, respond to another student with details about why you agree or disagree with their analysis. Feel free to kindly debate with each other. Do not take things personally if someone disagrees. Be sure to show that you have viewed the lecture and interactive and that you attempted an analysis for “high quality” posts this week. After Wednesday, I will bring in another scenario and we can analyze that one together as a class….
Business Ethics & the Hovercraft Debacle and Assemble and Test Your Personal Ethics Statement Week 7 Discussions- 62 Pages
Business Ethics & the Hovercraft Debacle – 32 Pages
This week, we looked at two more ethical codes—one for the Project Management Institute, and one for Engineers.
(Find links to these professional codes in the Week 7 Assignment tab along with the Week 7 readings.)
You can see that both of them are much simpler than the Legal code we looked at last week, and even simpler than the Medical code of ethics. Appropriate professional behavior, practice, and discipline varies among professions and reflects the needs and values of the professional society in question.
Let’s then assume professional roles as we work on this fictional scenario:
It’s 2020, and General Foryota Company opens a plant in which to build a new mass-produced hover-craft. This hover-craft will work using E-85 Ethanol, will travel up to 200 mph, and will reduce pollution worldwide at a rate of 10 percent per year. It is likely that when all automobiles in the industrial world have been changed over to hovercrafts, emission of greenhouse gasses may be so reduced that global warming may end and air quality will become completely refreshed.
However, the downside is that during the transition time, GFC’s Hover-Vee (only available in red or black), will most likely put all transportation as we know it in major dissaray. Roadways will no longer be necessary, but new methods of controlling traffic will be required. Further, while the old version of cars are still being used, Hover-vee’s will cause accidents, parking issues, and most likely class envy and warfare. The sticker price on the first two models will be about four times that of the average SUV (to about $200,000.) Even so, GFC’s marketing futurists have let them know that they will be able to pre-sell their first three years of expected production, with a potential waiting list which will take between 15 and 20 years to fill.
The Chief Engineer of GFC commissions a study on potential liabilities for the Hover-vees. The preliminary result is that Hover-vees will likely kill or maim humans at an increased rate of double to triple over automobile travel because of collisions and crashes at high speeds — projected annual death rates of 100,000 to 200,000. However, global warming will end, and the environment will flourish.
The U. S. Government gets wind of the plans. Congress begins to discuss the rules on who can own and operate Hover-vees. GFC’s stock skyrockets. The Chief Engineer takes the results of the study to the Chief Legal Counsel, and together they agree to bury the study, going forward with the production plans. The Chief Project Manager, who has read the study and agreed to bury it, goes ahead and plans out the project for the company, with target dates and production deadlines.
Our class is a team of young lawyers, project managers, engineers, and congressional aides who are all part of the process of helping get this project off the ground. In fact, according to the first letter of your last name, you are the following team:
A-G: Attorney on the GFC team
H-N: Project Manager on the GFC team
0-S: Engineer on the GFC team
T-Z: Congressional Aide
Somebody sent a secret copy of the report to you at your home address. It has no information in it at all, except for the report showing the proof of the increase in accidents and deaths. The report shows, on its face, that the CLO, CE, CPM, and your Congressional Representative have seen copies of this report. On the front there are these words typed in red: They knew — they buried this. Please save the world!
Each of you feel a very loyal tie to your boss and your company/country. You all have mortgages, and families to feed. It is likely if you blow the whistle on this report, you will lose your job and your livelihood. You’re not even sure who wrote the study in your envelope or who actually sent it to you.
Now to the task at hand:
Utilizing your profession’s code of ethics, what would be your first step? Who would you talk to first? Would you go to the press? Would you go to your boss? Should you do anything at all?
Test Your Personal Ethics Statement – 30 Pages
Please be sure to read the Week Seven Lecture in its entirety before posting to this discussion.
This week we will work on creating your own statement of personal ethics.
To get started, read summarizing review of our great and famous ethics and what they have taught us — found in our lecture this week.
Then, let’s work on creating one for you.
Your goal for the end of this thread is to have created a personal ethical philosophy and be able to tell your classmates from which philosophies you created it and why the contents are important and meaningful for you. List its precepts. (You will need to do this on the Final Exam.)
After you have assembled and posted your personal ethics statement, responded to what others may have said to you and thought about what you have posted to others, then take your statement and use it to work through the famous case of the Ring of Gyges.
One of the great examples of ethics and morals in all of literature comes from Plato who wrote about the Ring of Gyges in
The Republic, Book II, starting at paragraph 359a.
For those who wish to read the whole story, it is in the Doc Sharing tab and here is a link to the story…
The story goes that Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the King. In a most unusual circumstance he came upon a dead man, removed the man’s ring, and discovered that it made him invisible. He conspired to take the periodic report of the shepherds to the King — once there he seduced the Queen and eventually took control of the Kingdom by conspiring with the Queen. Plato continues the story:
“Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men. Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point. And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever anyone thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right.”
This story raises up the question of what sanctions prevent people from just taking any liberties they are inclined to take.
The whole subject of ethics, seen in large scale, is that of accepting and living under moral standards.
- Using YOUR personal ethical statement that you have created, what would you do if you had that second ring?2. What else within this course helps in responding to this fictitious situation or in explaining it?3. Respond to your classmates’ posts. Are they holding true to their own personal ethical philosophies in their resolutions of this dilemma? Pick one or more of the above, and post below!
ETHC 445 All Discussions