Moral Principle Discussion


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  1. How do      religion, law, and philosophy each provide different grounds for      justifying a moral principle?  How can each perspective be applied in      analyzing the moral principle “Stealing is wrong”?  Be sure to elaborate      and provide your “theoretical” rationale in support of your position.      (knowledge)
  2. You have just      been appointed to the board of directors of, however, the      company has been experiencing some difficult financial times that have      resulted in revenue losses in three of the last four quarters.  As      you take your new position, you discover that two proposals are on the      table.  Each proposal has been put forth as a means for dealing with ABCD’s      immediate financial problems.  Proposal #1 recommends all employees      be retained, but that an immediate wage freeze for all employees be      imposed for the next six months.  (Employees may even be asked to      take a 5 percent cut in pay if things do not improve by the end of that      period.)  Proposal #2 recommends that wages not be frozen, but that 5      percent of the company’s workforce be laid off.  (One piece of      reasoning behind this proposal is that taking more drastic measures will      “protect” 95 percent of ABCD’s workers and will send a message to Wall      Street and local investors that ABCD is serious about improving its      financial position and that it will soon be a stable company once again.)      The board is evenly split, seven members for proposal #1 and seven for      proposal #2.  Yours will be the tie-breaking vote.  In your      deliberation, describe how an act utilitarian, a      rule utilitarian, a rule deontologist, and act deontologist would reach      each solution to this dilemma and on what basis.  Which      solution seems most plausible? Be sure to elaborate and      provide your “theoretical” rationale in support of your position.      (comprehension)
  3. Consider a      case in which the United States government, with the approval of the      majority of Americans, decides to round up all Arab-Americans and relocate      them into internment camps.  Imagine that you have a friend who is an      American citizen of Arab descent.  She asks you to protect her from      the authorities.  You have known this person all of your life, and      you are convinced that she is a loyal American.  You agree to hide      her in the third floor of your house.  A United States federal agent      knocks on your door and asks if you know the whereabouts of the person you      are hiding.  How would you respond to that      agent?  You now face a genuine moral dilemma because you cannot both      keep your promise to your friend and tell the truth to the federal      agent.  Initially, your gut reaction might suggest that the solution      to your dilemma is really quite simple.  For example, you might      believe that a far greater good will be served by lying to the federal      agent than by breaking your promise to your friend.  However, to      embrace the moral principle inherent in that line of reasoning is to fall      back into utilitarianism.  We have already seen some of the      difficulties that can result from trying to be a consistent and      thoroughgoing utilitarian.  Could you consistently      universalize a moral principle that states:  “Whenever you must      choose between telling the truth to authorities and breaking a promise to      a friend, always honor your promise”?  Will that      principle work in every case?  Will Ross’s theory help in      this situation?  Explain your answer. Be sure      to elaborate and provide your “theoretical” rationale in      support of your position. (comprehension)

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