Ethics Essay

2873 words - 11 pages

Is Breaking a Promise Ever Moral? Two men in their mid twenties, named Harold and David, are passionate mountain climbers. David has been dating Doris, Harold?s sister. Harold and David embark on a mountain climbing expedition. While the two men are on the expedition, Harold is seriously injured and is dying. While Harold is on his deathbed, he pleads with his friend, David, to take his sister?s hand in Holy Matrimony. Harold asks David to do this because he knows that Doris, his sister, is very much in love with David. Harold is also worried about what could happen to Doris when he is gone. David does promise Harold that he will take Doris?s, Harold?s sister?s, hand in marriage. He makes this promise because he and David are best friends. When Harold passes on, David does not tell anybody about the promise that he made to Harold. He still enjoys the company that Doris gives him, but he is not in love with her and breaks his promise to Harold to marry her (Thiroux 316).Within my paper I will talk about the elements of ethics and the theories of ethics, and how they relate to the dilemma at hand. The dilemma is whether or not David should have kept his promise to Harold of marrying his sister. I am going to talk about this dilemma in terms of the basic distinctions within ethics. The basic distinctions are individual or personal ethics, and social or societal ethics. I will next use the descriptive element to describe the situation at hand and give an assessment of what is going on. That will be followed by my moral decision regarding the dilemma, with a reference to some theories and/or principles that either support or oppose my decision. These theories and/or principles will include Kant?s duty ethics and utilitarianism, with an introduction of Jeremy Benthem and John Stuart Mill. Finally, I will use metaethics or analytic ethics, ?the philosophy of ethics,? to define terms related to the dilemma, justify, and ask the ultimate question of ?why be moral?? There are two basic distinctions within ethics. The first is the philosophical dis-tinction, which is broken into theoretical ethics and practical ethics. The second, and fi-nal, basic distinction is the philosophical/psychological/sociological distinction. This distinction deals with what combination of individual and social ethics is involved in each case. It is forced to be a combination no matter what, because every dilemma deals with both individual and social ethics. What needs to be determined is how much of the situation deals with each. This distinction is important because it helps to figure out whether a social or individual solution to the problem is needed. The main reason is so that solutions can be made based on social or individual problems.Individual ethics is most easily described as morally judging the individual. I be-lieve that the dilemma at hand is overwhelmingly individual ethics. I think that this is individual ethics because David, by himself, made the choice not to...

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