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Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues

Question Description

****This discussion board question has two Parts to answer

Part I

The information that you will need for the discussion can be found in Case 13d, p. 49; Case 20, p. 121; and Case 15, p. 96 of Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues. For one of these cases, identify the parties and the moral issue(s) at stake, keeping an eye out for similarities that it shares with the other cases. Concentrate on identifying which universal moral duties are at stake; also assess how the principle of respect for persons applies to the cases.

Case 13d. An airline pilot goes for his medical checkup. The doctor discovers that he has developed a heart murmur. The pilot has only a month to go before he is eligible for retirement. The doctor knows this and wonders whether, under these unusual circumstances, she is justifies in withholding the information about the pilot's condition.

Case 20.When Sally's father was gravely ill, he called her to his bedside and said,"I'd always hoped i'd see you graduate from college and go on to become a physicist, but I know death is near. Promise me one thing, that you'll keep on studying hard and become a physicist." Sally was deeply moved. "I will, she responded; "I swear to you I will." Her father died shortly thereafter. Now it is two years later, and Sally is ready to graduate from college. But she will not become a physicist. She has decided to go to law school.

Case 15. A woman learns that her son-in-law fathered an illegitimate child several years before he met her daughter. (He and his wife have been happily married for ten years. They are childless) She is sure her daughter is not awate of this and has reason to doubt that she would ever find out about it by herself. The woman feel obliged to tell her, however, and does so.

Part II

In this week's module, we saw that Kant took the notion of a will that is not subjected to a chain of predetermining causes as the lynchpin of his moral system. Kant recognized that it is because we happen to be to some extent free to choose our courses of action that it makes any sense at all to speak of praising or blaming us for those actions. However, we also saw that Kant admitted there to be a faculty of choice by which our desires and beliefs—the things that we experience ourselves as having and that are caused by prior events—shape and cause the decisions we make. What this means therefore is that, according to Kant, human choice is problematic because it is capable of being viewed from two separate and seemingly incompatible perspectives, simultaneously:

1. As part of a chain of causes and so, being determined by it. (a thesis in metaphysics known as Determinism)

2. As standing outside a chain of causes (a metaphysical thesis known as the Free Will thesis)

Provide a description of human choice that can be seen to exemplify both of the above perspectives. (Note you may either choose to describe a different human choice or action for each of the two perspectives, or describe the same choice from the standpoint of both perspectives at once). Do you think it is possible, as Kant did, to view human choice and action as being both free and caused, or was Kant mistaken, and are these positions mutually exclusive?

Textbook used: Ethical Choices 2nd Edition (Richard Burnor & Yvonne Raley)

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