Ethics, Lying, and Moral
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In this essay, we aim to analyze four cases and give an insight into the moral approach for each of the presented situations. To keep this piece short, we will not write each case’s situation. Instead, we will refer to them by their numbers.
#11. Concerning this case, we can see two clashing moral positions. For instance, in a Kantian perspective, if both parts of the contract agreed upon a set of rules. Those rules ought to be respected. In that way, if the foster parents decided to take the child’s custody, they knew their biological parents might want to regain her daughter one day. In that case, the law is clear and should be respected. Now, we have a typical situation. What about the child’s wellbeing? In this case, a philosopher such as John Rawls would consider this rule as unjust, given the fact that laws and institutions are meant to provide the greater benefit for all. To him, the child must remain with their foster parents given the fact that the provided for her during nine years, despite their biological parents wishes to reclaim her.
Case #4. On this case, we shall analyze Kant’s posture concerning the situation. To him, lies are a menace to society, and if a person lies, it would be undermining the implicit trust we all have in society. Nevertheless, to a moral philosopher such as McIntyre, says, that there are certain lies that can be permitted or enjoined depending on the context. For instance, lies that are meant to protect us, or others from harm; or from a certain knowledge that could prove harmful to them. According to McIntyre, lying in those contexts, is justifiable, although it can be frowned upon. However, he also says that by allowing certain types of lies, we would have to adjust our moral compass to which set of lies is justifiable, and this can create a moral vacuum where people could lie regardless of the moral consequences.
Case #2. Machiavelli well said, “The ends justify the means.” If the company was damaging the environment, perhaps the most sensible choice is to unmask it. To Machiavelli, that would be the chosen route, to undermine people’s trust in the company to force it to stop its misdemeanor. Although Kant would not agree with the hacker, he wouldn’t agree either with the company, as both are undertaking actions that go against the general public’s trust. However, contemporary western society is more inclined toward the utilitarian vision of John Stuart Mill, who considers that the rightness of an action is measured by its consequences. In this case if the action is wrong, it can still provide a positive outcome. In that case, although it is against the law, the action is done with social wellbeing in mind, and if it proves to be positive to the general population, it is a good one.
Case #12. In this case, the fault is not the buyer’s but of the person who sold the house. That person should have disclosed the details concerning the house before selling it. In the same way, many states have laws that force prospective sellers to disclose all the details the house might have. If the buyer chooses to sell the house without disclosing the details, it would be incurring in self-deception. Choosing not to disclose the details do not make them disappear. Perhaps another individual might buy the house, but that makes the buyer as bad as the first buyer was. In a strict sense, a philosopher such as Mill would say that despite the gratification obtained by the selling, the action is still morally despicable, as it was only taken on one individual’s behalf.
To Kant, morals are the same, and they do not change with the pass of time. We are the ones who change, and the moral precepts have to adapt to the newer realities and perspectives. In the same way, we could see that there are many ways to see morals, and there are even competing and contradictory definitions. That is why we are the ultimate moral compass, and we have to follow those precepts we consider correct, as a way to be able to live a fulfilling life in this world.
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