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Ethics

Painkillers “Walgreens”

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Ethics

Necessary Justice: The Death Penalty Imperative

       The death penalty, it seems, never rests; controversy surrounds it today as it always has, and arguments rage over the morality and efficiency of it continuously.  If anything has changed, it appears to be a lessening of support, and likely due to media promotion of how minimally capital punishment deters severe crime.  The death penalty is on the wane: “Thirty-six percent fewer states carried out executions in 2012 than in 2011” (DPIC, 2012).  This may also be due to the culture’s determination to see itself as enlightened, which equates to more lenient treatment of extreme offenders.  Added to this is the tendency in people to be unable to fully comprehend the levels of crime that bring the punishment into consideration; when violence is unimaginable, it is then difficult to address such a thing at that level and remain rational.  Nonetheless, and however capital punishment is legislated today,  the reality remains that this is a penalty justified by the very degrees of the crimes calling it into play. 

       The great argument usually opposing the death penalty points to it as failing to deter, and statistics fly back and forth as to the validity of this.   Certainly, many facts indicate that capital punishment does not significantly deter murder.  This, however, ignores the more fundamental issue of degree or state of the deterrence.  On one level, there can be no truly reliable means of determining how many extreme crimes are deterred by the death penalty simply because these crimes do not happen.  Citing a state wherein murder rates are high and capital punishment is imposed by no means translates to an ineffectiveness of the punishment; rather, it may well be that the crimes rates would be even higher without it.  Then, logic dictates that some deterrence occurs whenever a known punishment is attached to a crime (Bedau, Cassell, 2005,  p. 39).  Also, the majority of those who support the death penalty only partially hold deterrence as a reason, and usually express doubts as to the realities of the punishment actually preventing extreme crime (Mandery, 2011,  p. 31).  In all cases and sides, then, deterrence is not a relevant issue in determining the rightness of the penalty, just as some measure of deterrence is inevitable.

       What must be considered is what the public so often avoids confronting, which is that, questions of absolute morality aside, there are actions and behaviors so horrific that they require this form of response.  Kant is helpful here, in that his philosophical approach is both pragmatic and moralistic.  On one level, Kant provides strong support for capital punishment in his view of the scope of what is morally wrong.  That is, even if the act mandating the punishment is not immoral, the forbidding of it by law renders it immoral (Hill, 2000, p. 180).  The society to some extent decides morality by means of law, and the severity of murder, for example, is such that the law must respond to the same degree in order for the morality to be upheld.  More to the point, however, Kant presents retribution, frequently cited as a failing or dubious motive for the death penalty, as a rational and moral drive.  Kantian ideology holds that the evil done by an individual is in some sense inflicted upon that individual, in moral terms; to do evil is to bring evil upon the self (Hill, 2000,  p. 186).  Importantly, Kant here acknowledges the existence of evil as a real force.  This may not be entirely acceptable to modern thinking, but it is nonetheless a view held by a vast variety of cultures of the past and today, and irrespective of religious creeds.  In simple terms, good and evil are real to most minds, and evil at its most active dos not merit the consideration attached to other crimes.

       What is also vital here is comprehending how Kant removes retribution from the modern and negative perceptions of it.  Retribution is only fueled by suspect motives of “vengeance” when it is interpreted as such; otherwise, it exists as a sane and logical form of addressing a great wrong.  Moreover, and even morality aside, it serves to promote the balance necessary in a culture.  If the crime is truly monstrous, then the punishment must be as severe as can be given.  This is society’s way of asserting that certain acts are not subject to debate or validation, which in turn reflects the society’s understanding that some crimes and criminals are completely beyond the realm of normalcy.  It is perhaps an irony, but there is no escaping the fact that what justifies the death penalty is precisely the extremes of crime that call for it.

References

Bedau, H. A., & Cassell, P. G.  (2005).  Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have        Capital Punishment?  New York: Oxford University Press.

Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).  (2012).   The Death Penalty in 2012: Year-End         Report.  Retrieved from http://deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/2012YearEnd.pdf

Hill, T. E.  (2000).  Respect, Pluralism, and Justice: Kantian Perspectives.  New York: Oxford University Press. Mandery, E.  (2011).  Capital Punishment in America: A Balanced Examination.  Sudbury: Jones

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Ethics

Patient Autonomy vs. The Ethical Obligations of the Medical Community: The Case of Dax Cowart

The judgment from an ethical perspective concerning whether or not the doctors and nurses treating Dax Cowart were ultimately ethical in character depends on deciding whether the autonomy of the patient or the duty of the medical community to save lives takes precedent. This seems to be an irreconcilable conflict when the patient’s wishes contradict the duty of the medical community, in so far as the latter, for example, is founded on ethical commitments to the Hippocratic oath, which denote the obligation to attempt to save the patient’s life. To support Dax’s decision, therefore, can only be argued from the perspective of the patient’s autonomy. However, it seems like this is a symptom of our individualistic culture: everything ultimately comes down to some idealized version of the individual, who is viewed as the basic element of all society. In this case, however, the individual is treated as a sort of “all-knowing” entity. But this is not how our existence itself is structured: it is based on relationships, and conceding patient autonomy above all else replaces this with an almost egotistical individuality. The medical community are experts in the field and therefore have a knowledge of the situation that is in most cases beyond those of the patient: furthermore, the medical community has its clear ethical duties to uphold. In this regard, the decision to save Dax despite his protests, was firstly, the medical community’s fulfilment of their occupational obligations, and thus they acted ethically according to this duty, and, secondly, it is an acknowledgement that some decisions perhaps are too much for an individual to make, especially an individual who has suffered trauma from such a devastating injury.

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Ethics

When Protection Steps Beyond Its Boundaries

It is extraordinary to see how smoking has evolved in the culture into a barometer of personal freedoms, and consequently a measurement of how far a society may go in dictating behavior.  The trajectory is striking; only decades earlier, smoking was unquestioned as a personal preference and as something of a marker of adulthood.  Today, it is not only socially ostracized, it is illegal in a wide variety of public venues, and this turnaround appears to have been generated by the mounting evidence of smoking’s harmful effects.  More importantly, the issue of secondhand smoke has been allowed to expand the thinking from a potentially unwarranted interference with a person’s choice to a societal norm.  If some always found cigarette smoke offensive, they are now equipped with the data supporting that it is dangerous to them.  In short order, then, the practice has been vastly curtailed, with the ancillary cultural disapproval attached to it.  It very much seems today that smoking is, some resistance notwithstanding, gradually being eliminated from the culture entirely.

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Ethics

An Ethical Dilemma from Aristotelian and Kantian Perpsectives

The ethical scenario “The Case of the Inquiring Murderer” presents a dilemma, in which a friend seeks a place of hiding in the home of whom the dilemma is being presented, because he or she is being sought by a murderer. This hiding place is granted: nevertheless, the murderer that the friend identifies now comes to your door, asking for the location of the friend in question. The ethical question is as follows: what should be done in this case, in other words, how should one answer the requests of the murderer?

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Ethics

Normative Ethics, Cultural Relativism and Justice as Defense of Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is one of the most divisive social issues of the contemporary period: this is arguably the result of two main factors, on the one hand, the large amount of ethical perspectives that may be utilized to approach the topic, and on the other hand, the intimacy of the topic, which discusses what is clearly one of the foundational social organizations of our greater social structure, that is, the family. It is in this second sense that the debate becomes all the more heated: to those opposed to gay marriage, the issue seems to be a threat not only to the history of human social organizations and its primary unit of the family, but also a subversive anomaly in regards to this same history. The change, from this perspective, that gay marriage would create on a social level is simply put too radical, annihilating historical traditions and interrogating the very essence of what we mean by the “family”: our human relations are fundamentally challenged in light of any legalization of gay marriage. However, are these arguments from some historical stability of the family unit really robust enough to make a point against gay marriage? In this regard, the following paper will question gay marriage precisely from the perspective of a normative ethics and a concept of justice, so as to undermine the presupposition that our social normativities are in fact stable. Here, the argument in favor of “traditional” forms of family unit is opposed with a notion of the relativity of these same traditions. Furthermore, however, with the addition of a concept of justice to this account, the argument in favor of gay marriage will not only stop at an account of ethical relativism, but endeavor to show why the legalization of gay marriage also satisfies an ethically robust concept of justice.

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Ethics

Ayn Rand and the Concept of ‘Objectivism’

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist who wrote such novels as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, was famous for her philosophical views on culture and society. Rand was the founder of the philosophical belief of objectivist ethics- a concept based on the notion that one’s highest moral purpose is the achievement of one’s own happiness. Rand questioned the standard concepts of selfishness and based one’s own morality on a code of values developed by one’s own self. According to Rand, “it is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible,” and, “the fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do” (Rand, 1990). Rand’s views on moral ethics spread into her views on value-judgements and were similar to those of anarcho-capitalism.

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Ethics

Organization Change: Theory and Practice

Chapter one of Burke’s “Organization Change: Theory and Practice”, sources for understanding organizational change are covered, including . In chapter two of Burke’s “Organization Change: Theory and Practice”, the author covers how organizations should rethink change within their own environment. The first two chapters both deal with the concept of change within an organization, combined with how to deal with such changes and how they may occur in any given company or organization.

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Ethics

Ethical Issue in Business: A Philosophical Approach

Business Ethics is a field that deals with the examination and analysis of ethical and moral principles as well as the conduct of both individuals and the corporation alike. A discussion of moral reasoning is tackled in the book Ethical Issues in Business: A Philosophical Approach. In the first chapter of the book, general issues surrounding Business Ethics is discussed along with controversies that may arise. According to the authors, Ethics is the study of rightness and goodness for human beings. Meanwhile, business ethics requires analysis and evaluation of current practices within a company. The authors state that analysis of the situation should go beyond facts and instead, should examine the principles involved and what needs to be done. According to the book, there are two traditional issues involved with ethics, namely: Ethical relativism and truth telling. Ethical relativism questions universal values as it presumes that individuals’ reasoning may vary according to their culture, religion, upbringing and educational attainment. On the other hand, truth telling is a very important aspect of communication and the truth, is in fact, required in order for society to advance and gain new discoveries and knowledge.

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Ethics

Questions Re: Omelas

Is what Omelas does “right” or “wrong”? Why? Omelas is wrong because the child is not immortal. It will die and will have to be replaced, dooming yet another child to the same fate. The town accepts the situation with no moral/philosophical justification. This raises the question of the reality of the power that protects Omelas in exchange for the child’s fate. It must be either governmental or supernatural. It seems too omniscient to be the former, so it must be the latter. If so, is the power actually real? If not, then Omelas is guilty of collective cowardism — they are afraid to find out the truth. If it is real, the force would surely be an awesomely powerful one, and so Omelas would have the moral right to accept what was handed to them. But Omelas is still wrong because it refuses to collectively own up to is agreement. It could condemn itself publically while accepting the terms. But it refuses to and chooses a happiness of the damned.

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Ethics

Policy Ethics

With any set of rules or regulations there are the proponents and opponents representing the various and often conflicting stances on certain subject matter (Barsky 2009).  In this case there is a policy regarding employee’s responsibilities regarding attendance, conflicts of interests, intellectual property, privacy, confidentiality, dress code and other pertinent rules and regulations regarding the actions and conduct that is expected from the employees.  These guidelines outline the approved and expected behavior of all employees of the company at all times.  This outline of behavior and actions provide a foundation to establish good conduct and level set expectations for all employees.  In order to maintain good order and discipline within an organization it is a requirement to establish a baseline of conduct among employees.  This policy outlines the code of conduct that is necessary to maintain that good order and discipline while also providing the ability to maintain flexibility for leadership to make the appropriate modifications and adjustments to the policy to maintain flexibility and the ability to adapt and respond to specific situations.  This flexibility in the maintenance and enforcement of the policy allows the leadership to better serve their contingency and be not only effective but efficient in their leadership and business implementation.

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Ethics

Ethics Principles

Since the beginning of creation, wrongdoing has been somewhat ingrained into human behavior. Even as children we allow curiosity to get us into trouble and we fib to avoid punishment. However, just because wrongdoing has been embedded into the interworking’s of human flesh does not make it tolerable or moral. Bluffing when a spouse asks how he or she looks in a hideous outfit in order to spare feelings is far different from a car salesman conjuring up a tale about a “like new vehicle” with serious problems that is in fact bound to break down at any moment. Society has exploited wrongdoing in business with justifications relating to business games and references to poker. Many organizations actually condone poor business ethics in an effort to get ahead and stand out. However, wrongdoing is business negligence. If one immoral business act is condoned, where do we draw the line? Businesses such as Enron condone wrongdoing, thriving for a short time and eventually crashing and burning; the film The Smartest Guys in the Room demonstrates this very notion.

In some cases, wrongdoing may bring about status, promotions and sales, but is it really a good practice in business? As an example, bluffing is acceptable in junior high school romance and poker games. But bluffing is now considered ethical routine in business such as politics and certain law practices. Corporate business often justifies wrongdoing through the law. This is principle-based ethics — if something is not illegal, than it must be alright. For example, the goal of a defending attorney is primarily to keep his or her client from criminal conviction, whether the truth is hidden, altered or fabricated. “Everyone from the judge down takes it for granted that the job of the defendant’s attorney is to get his client off, not to reveal the truth” (Carr 31). However, let’s say a murderer is kept free by an unethical attorney with promotion, money and publicity in his or her best interest. The bluffing in this instance benefits the attorney and the criminal client…however a whole community and potential nation is placed at risk by this practice of bluffing. I like to refer to a popular motto in life, “The truth will set you free.” If a person is truly innocent then the evidence will prove that, thus keeping the defendant out of prison. An attorney cannot ethically bluff for an outcome in his or her own favor.

Politics is another dirty line of work that tends to get wrapped up in misleading bluffs and lies. During election time, commercials and debates air on television in order to convince the nation to “vote for me.” In an attempt to gain popularity and votes an electoral candidate might fib and blur the truth on important and controversial issues. Yet I think the best leaders have been honest and humble, with strong beliefs and values. Those who tiptoe around certain issues do not end up selling their true agenda and in the end only end up disappointing the vast majority. We end up in a fiscal mess with a country on the verge of a revolt when we swoon over the bluffs of political leaders.

One expert compares business to a game of poker. “While both have a large element of chance, in the long run the winner is the man who plays with steady skill. In both games ultimate victory requires intimate knowledge of the rules, insights into the psychology of the other players, a bold front, a considerable amount of self-discipline, and the ability to respond swiftly and effectively to opportunities provided by chance” (Carr 33). I agree with Carr on these points, nowhere in this statement does he condone or make mention of bluffing or lying. Of course a successful business person needs to be well educated, knowledgeable, bold and disciplined. However, a person does not need to bend ethics and morals in order to do so.

One method teaches natural law ethics. Even if the law permits certain behaviors and practices, is it still okay to do? Natural law ethics suggests otherwise. Even if something seems right, we should realize deep down inside, via conscience, what the right and ethical action should be. Given this method of ethics, if lawyers, judges, politicians, and businessmen such as Enron’s finest practiced these methods and followed their own internal compasses, the world would be a much better and just place.

Ultimately, lawyers and politicians are not the only business people practicing wrongdoing in business. Many organizations and leaders hold the theory that if something is not illegal than it must be ethical in business. Many individuals believe in the unethical business game of today.            In a dog eat dog world it is important to stand apart from the competition. But individuals and businesses can do so ethically and honestly. It is important to consider professional duties and obligations to the public in business matters. Moral reasoning is far more powerful in business than wrongdoing, bluffing and altering the truth. Ethical practices are the only way to surely be successful, because – as the good saying goes – everything done in the dark eventually comes to the light. Wrongdoing inevitably leads to the dissolve of a person, a business, or a nation. For instance, Enron was one of the most predominant companies in the world. However, the unethical practices and wrongdoings eventually led to the destruction of many, including the organization itself.

Once known as the seventh largest corporation in the world, today Enron is known as the greatest scandal of all time. From greed, power, pride, and money, Enron affected thousands upon thousands of people…in the most negative way. Individuals were scammed, lied to, manipulated, and some even lost their lives. Enron is a prime example of wrongdoing in business. The company based in Houston Texas, lied to and manipulated employees, shareholders, and the public. Enron scammed their investors and stockholders, maintained phony books, transferred huge amounts of money to personal bank accounts, and gambled over gasoline prices. Nearly everything the company participated in behind closed doors consisted of fraud and unethical behavior and practices. The Enron scandal involves illegal as well as unethical practices. The big wigs at the top of the company contained very little integrity and their moral indignity transpired throughout the company.

As a result of the Enron wrongdoing, the primary stakeholders are serving prison sentences for the injustice they inflicted. And since the scandal, new laws and regulations have been implemented in the way companies report their finances and how auditors audit companies despite personal affiliations with them. Primary stakeholders should be held accountable for their actions and how they run big business. With a more utilitarian perspective, it is essential that primary stakeholders hold the best interest of the public, employees and investors at large, while ignoring selfish greed and pride in order to get ahead in life. Enron ultimately disregarded and ignore utility ethics altogether.

 

Works Cited

Carr, Albert. “Is Business Bluffing Ethical.” Harvard Business Review (1968): 143-153.

Gibney,Alex. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. 2929 Entertainment. 2005. You Tube.

 

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Ethics

Identity and Sex

Introduction

The differences between males and females are dramatic in some ways and less challenging in others. It is likely that most people possess some degree of confusion regarding gender and the capacity of individuals to conduct their lives according to a predetermined plan. Gender is very closely aligned with identity, but at the same time, identity is also characterized by more than genetic makeup and gender assignments. Individual identity is instrumental in shaping a person, but at the same time, there are considerable obstacles that all human beings face on a regular basis that impact their lives in different ways and lead to specific challenges in determining how to live life to the fullest without fear and apprehension. From a feminist perspective, there is a unique approach to consider that plays an important role in exploring the freedom of liberation while also exploring one’s identity in a specific manner. The following discussion will address Judith Butler’s novel “Gender Trouble” and specifically, the section entitled “Identity, Sex, and the Metaphysics of Substance” in order to identify specific areas of the feminist argument that are likely to be effective in supporting the female perspective and the revelations associated with identity in different ways as related to sex and other variables that are likely to influence outcomes for these people.  The primary objective to consider is that gender identity is not always clear, concise, and uniform for all persons; therefore, it must be explored more deeply to encourage individuals to be true to themselves and to embrace their identities and differences.

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Ethics

Baby Business

The baby business is an ethical chimera, governed on the one hand by the ethics and practices of business, at least to some degree, and yet brought into being to serve the decidedly non-commercial end of creating families (Spar x-5). The baby business is the business of fertility, offering millions of desperate people everything from haploid gametes to adoptions to the ability to correct congenital defects either in utero, or even before implantation (x-xiii). This is the commercial aspect of the business, and it is this that critics find so troubling: after all, the ‘products’ of this business are human beings, whether created in the course of the business (as with IVF) or given a change in status as a result of it (as with adoption) (x-xiv).