Moral Dilemmas a situation in which, whatever choice is made, the agent commits a moral wrong



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Moral Dilemmas


Moral dilemmas

  • A situation in which, whatever choice is made, the agent commits a moral wrong



Moral Dilemmas

  • Example from Book I of Plato's Republic

  • Cephalus defines ‘justice’ as speaking the truth and paying one's debts.

  • Socrates quickly refutes this account by suggesting that it would be wrong to repay certain debts (weapon)



Moral dilemmas

  • Socrates' point is not that repaying debts is without moral import; rather, he wants to show that it is not always right to repay one's debts….



Moral Dilemmas

  • There is a conflict between two moral norms: repaying one's debts and protecting others from harm.



Moral Dilemmas

  • The agent regards herself as having moral reasons to do each of two actions, but doing both is not possible



Moral Dilemmas

  • When one of the conflicting requirements overrides the other, we do not have a genuine moral dilemma.

  • In the Crito, Does Socrates confront a moral dilemma?



Moral Dilemmas



Moral Dilemma

  • A woman was near death from a unique kind of cancer. There is a drug that might save her. The drug costs $4,000 per dosage. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money and tried every legal means, but he could only get together about $2,000. He asked the doctor scientist who discovered the drug for a discount or that he let him pay later. But the doctor scientist refused.



Moral Dilemma

  • Should Heinz break into the laboratory to steal the drug for his wife?

  • (Why or why not?)



Moral Stages

  • Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-87)



Kohlberg

  • Kohlberg proposed that moral reasoning, which he thought to be the basis for ethical behavior, develops through stages.



Moral Stages

  • Level 1: PRE-CONVENTIONAL

  • Level 2: CONVENTIONAL

  • Level 3: POST-CONVENTIONAL



Kohlberg’s Stages

  • Level 1 (Pre-conventional)

  • Reasoners judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences

  • Stage One: Obedience and Punishment

  • Stage Two: Individualism, Instrumentalism, and

  • Exchange



Heinz Dilemma

  • Stage One (obedience): Heinz should not steal the medicine, because otherwise he will be put in prison.



Pre-conventional level

  • Stage One (obedience orientation)

  • Individuals focus on the direct consequences that their actions will have for themselves.



Socrates’ Dilemma

  • From the point of view of Stage One, Socrates should not die because…



Heinz Moral Dilemma



Kohlberg’s Stages

  • Stage Two (self-interest orientation):

  • what's in it for me position. Right behavior is defined by what is in one's own best interest.



Socrates’ Dilemma

  • From a level two perspective, Socrates should not die because…



Kohlberg’s Stages

  • Level 2 (Conventional)

  • People who reason in a conventional way judge the morality of actions by comparing these actions to social rules and expectations.

  • Stage Three: Interpersonal Concordance ("Good boy/girl")

  • Stage Four: Law and Order



Heinz Moral Dilemma

  • CONVENTIONAL LEVEL

  • Stage Three (conformity): Heinz should steal the medicine, because his wife expects it.



Conventional level

  • Stage Three (conformity orientation)

  • Individuals seek approval from other people. They judge the morality of actions by evaluating the consequences of these actions for a person's relationships.



Socrates dilemma

  • Socrates should not die because…



Heinz Dilemma

  • Stage Four (law-and-order): Heinz should not steal the medicine, because the law prohibits stealing.



Conventional level

  • Stage Four (law-and-order mentality).

  • In stage four, individuals think it is important to obey the law and conventions of society.



Socrates Dilemma

  • Socrates should die because…



Kohlberg’s Stages

  • Level 3 (Post-conventional)

  • (Most people do not reach this level of moral reasoning)

  • Stage Five: Human Rights

  • Stage Six: Universal Ethical Principles (Principled Conscience)



Heinz moral dilemma

  • Stage five (human rights):

  • Heinz should steal the medicine because saving his wife is more important than obeying the law.



Post-conventional level

  • Stage Five (human rights orientation)

  • People have certain principles to which they attach more value than laws, such as human rights.

  • An action is wrong if it violates certain ethical principles.

  • Laws that do not promote general social welfare should be changed



Socrates dilemma

  • Socrates should not die…?

  • We are at level 3!!!!



Post-conventional level

  • Stage six (universal human ethics):

  • Heinz should steal the medicine, because saving a human life is a more fundamental value than respecting the property of another person.



Post-conventional level

  • Stage Six (ethical principle orientation).

  • Moral reasoning is based on the use of abstract reasoning using universal principles.

  • (People rarely, if ever, reach stage 6 of Kohlberg's model)



Socrates’ Decision

  • Socrates chose to die because….



Socrates

  • Should we return the weapon then (according to Socrates)?



Socrates

  • Socrates maintains that protecting others from harm is the norm that takes priority





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