Choose one or two of my questions at the end of this post to pose a succinct response that shows you have thought about, and have a personal position on that issue. Express your response with proper grammar, spelling, and be brief. Spend more time thinking than writing your initial response. After you have written your response but before posting, edit out all non-critical words and phrases to assure you have expressed your thoughts and feelings sufficiently for others to understand. You may express what is in your personal background that makes you see it that way. You can allude briefly to your own personal experiences and observations.
Here are the questions or short circumstances from which you will choose to respond with a post after the online class session 2 begins:
1. Its obvious that everyone has different opinions about what is ethical when it comes to certain issues such as politics. Write a short report on whether you consider yourself to be tolerant about others views of the ethics of some or all matters, and whether you are truly open minded enough to have your ethics challenged with the possibility that you may change your mind about what is or is not ethical. You must be honest about yourself for this to be a useful exercise. There is no right or wrong answer. You will be graded on how you support your position.
2. In the Parable of the Sadhu (Unit 1), put yourself in the position of one of the persons who could have done more to help the priest. What would you have done under the same exact circumstances, given your own current code of ethics? You must be honest with yourself here. You have aspirational goals which will conflict with helping the man. Explain your justification for what you would have done. Class: DO NOT CRITICIZE a classmate for being honest if they dont indicate they are a charitable person under these circumstances. Hear them out as they explain why they feel their likely action is the right For instance, if you knew for sure the Sadhu had only a few hours to live, and caring for him would prevent you from achieving that lifetime experience, what would have been gained if you had forgone that achievement only to keep a man in pain for a few hours until his death where there is no more pain?
3. When you are subordinate to a higher authority and the higher authority commands you to do something you would not do yourself because of your ethics, do you follow the higher authoritys instructions even if there is no law that will punish you for not doing what the authority commands? Does that depend on who is the higher authority? Would it be different if that authority is a religious figurehead, a parent, a boss, or someone over you in the military? What if that authority is only a temporary authority as in the case of your child being kidnapped and you are responding to the kidnappers authority over you? What if that authority is someone who has always loved you and taken care of your every need and want?
4. Is a little white lie permissible? Is a white lie permissible in some situations and not others? Explain your position in terms of social lubrication where a little lie is told to make others happy. (Your hairdo is beautiful! When in fact, its just pain ugly to anyone and everyone who views it. Or That outfit youre wearing makes you look great! When the truth is that it makes you look as if you should be in a clothing zoo as an oddity not fitting with any other species, and just plain ugly.) Or perhaps, Youre a great employee. When the truth is the person is a lousy employee and you are about to fire them because of that, but you say a lie to try and help the person to be less distraught or depressed about their shortcomings.)
5. Is it ever the right thing to do to tell an outright lie? (Recall the movie Liar Liar (A movie starring Jim Carrey) about a habitual lying lawyer whose sons birthday wish is that dad is re-programed to be unable to tell a lie. The lawyers biggest asset was his mouth, but its now a liability. (Pun intended.) What would happen if we were not able to tell lies in any circumstance? Is that ethical or not?
BONUS OPPORTUNITY! Two extra points are available for any class member watching or re-watching the movie Liar Liar (1 hr 27 min)and giving me a short one-paragraph report on what you learned about ethics from it, whether you take this question to analyze or not. Deadline for the report is class session 5. Hand in the report to me online at the beginning of a face-to-face class or send it by email.