Situational Ethics

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by mattskramer, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    Any moral absolutists out there? Here is a situation with only 2 solutions:

    You are a poor worker. Your relatively good young wife has a painful and fatal disease. A chemist invented a chemical cure but he won't give it to you unless you pay him 100 times more than you will ever earn. He won't take loans or negotiate in any form. By stealing the chemical you can easily and quickly end your wife's pain and disease. Do you let her suffer and die young or do you steal the drug?
     
  2. krisy
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    krisy Senior Member

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    Well,if it were my husband I would do what I had to do and probably take it. The chemist sounds like a jackass anyway.
     
  3. NewGuy
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    NewGuy Guest

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    Define your term.

    I have some issues with this:

    1. I don't believe in the no win scenario.
    2. I also don't believe any pharmaceutical or chemical cannot be matched in effectiveness by something else.

    Therefore, If my arms were cut off and a gun was pointed between my eyes, and I was totally tied up, and I had 3 seconds to decide.......

    Let her die.
     
  4. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    I'm guessing your point is that neither option is completely moral. Fine, anybody can come up with a scenario with a difficult choice to make. Do you think you have thereby proven that nothing is morally absolute?

    By the way, there are way more then two solutions to that problem, many of which would be considered in your terms to be morally absolute, but that's not really the pt, is it.

    I do see most things in black and white when it comes to right and wrong. I have heard many people argue that morals are created and deemed by society. I personally don't agree with that notion, but if that's the case there really isn't any grey in your scenario. Most people would answer that he should just take it and almost no one would fault him for that, meaning society has deemed that action morally just. Again that isn't what I think morality is, but that is, I think, how many would argue it.

    The reason I don't think there is as much grey area as some would argue is that I have run across very few, if any scenarios, where one choice is equal to another. There is always a best option or a lesser of two evils, making it the right thing to do and thus the moral thing to do.
     
  5. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    Okay. Forget the opening question. The situation is straight forward though unlikely. You have two choices. Steal the chemical or let your wife die. There was no mention of pointing a gun to your head.

    I won't say that there are no moral or ethical absolutes. I will say that I think that if there are some absolutes they are very few. --- I recall a guy saying that it is wrong to lie. I then asked him to pretend that he was living in Nazi Germany and that he knew that his good neighbor was leading Jews out of Germany through an underground "railroad". If he were confronted by the German authorities and asked about his neighbor, would he tell the truth? He finally said that under some situations it is okay to lie.
     
  6. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    again, unless your just defining the terms of this debate this way, there are more than two choices here. Think about it.

    p.s. would like to here other thought of yours on my post.
     
  7. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    The terms are quite clear: An absolutist is one who believes in absolutes. For example if an absolutist thought that it is wrong to steal, he would think that it is wrong to steal in any and all situations. Steal - to take something, without permission, that doesn't belong to you. Let die... well... What relevant term do you not understand?

    My point is that almost all, if not all, ethics and morality is situational.
     
  8. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    Again, have you thought about any other options or are you, for the sake of argument, saying i must pick one or the other? If the later see the first post. If you have thought about though, think harder.
     
  9. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    It must be getting late. Let us assume that in my situation there is no other option. I have looked through the tread and have not noticed your straight answer to my question. Assuming that there is no other option, would you steal or let your wife die?


    I cannot think of another option. If you can think of one, please share it.
     
  10. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    1)If those are my two options, I would steel it. And my decision is NOT morally ambiguois for two reasons: 1) again, not that I would argue it this way, but society would have deemed it justifiable and thus moral. 2) In my terms(see first post, last paragraph for those) stealing it is also the more right answer because life is more valuable than property. It is therefor the most desireable option and the lesser of two evils making it the moral decision to make.

    2) The other option, unless it is an unwritten no, no in this case, is to find someone that CAN pay the money. This would be charity of course and it happens all the time in our society in situations similar to the one you have layed out i. e. for people that have medical expenses they simply can't cover.
     

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