Moral Dilemmas Essay

Length: 2 pages Subject: Teaching Type: Essay Paper: #66067948 Related Topics: Moral Values, Morality, Othello, Ethical Dilemma

Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … students who planned to cheat on their schoolwork, or have cheated, especially in high school. To me, this meets the criteria for a moral dilemma, in particular in instances where I have had the opportunity to join in on this. Now, one would think that this maybe is not a moral issue because it is clearly against the rules, but the reality is that true moral dilemmas, where no choice is a good choice, are harder to come by. Maybe in a combat situation or something. So this will have to do.

The text notes that many people are governed by their own moral codes, and that there might be times when these codes are challenged. This, to me, is part of the growth of the person, and such situations help you do define what your moral code really is. For instance, I would say there are three reasonable responses for the above situation. The first is that you can join in. The second is that you ignore it. The third is that you report it. My values come from my parents, and there is a certain Kantian absolutism about things like cheating. You simply do not do it.

There are other ways of framing the ethical dilemma, however. First, you can frame it in a consequentialist way, taking the stance that it does not really hurt anybody. It affects your grade, and you were going to graduate anyway, and sometimes these things arise when you are taking a course you have to take, but otherwise have no interest in. It doesn't apply to me, but think of the pre-med who has to take an English credit, but otherwise has no earthly interest in Shakespeare. Patients aren't going to die because they cheated on their Othello


That's a consequentialist take on the issue, and there are a lot of people who are willing to make such rationalizations.

Other people argue that one should not do anything that is against the rules. The text notes that the rules may be the actual rules of the school, or they might be rules based on religious views that the person holds, either way answerable to a higher power, just differing on how high. A similar view is that one shouldn't do something because it is wrong. But another view is that one shouldn't cheat on their schoolwork because it hurts them. You study things to learn them, and when you cheat, you deny yourself that opportunity for learning and growth. Maybe the pre-med student should have read Shakespeare because it makes them a more well-rounded person, and because those plays tackle some fundamental human issues. For me, this was the overriding moral code. My experience was that if I had cheated when the opportunity arose, I would be wasting an opportunity to learn something valuable. We can all joke about how useless some things we learn in high school are, but who are we really to say. All learning has value -- that is a philosophy I picked up from my parents and that guided me in my decision making. I decided that cheating would shortchange myself, and I was not willing to do that. Thus, I had a moral obligation to myself, and acted in my own self-interest by doing my work and not cheating on the exam.

The text discusses the whistleblower dilemma. It is interesting that the moral thought processes are different. I may have faced consequences from my fellow students. There would have been no upside for me to be a whistle blower. This is consistent with the moral outlook that I have. I decided that it was not for me because I would be cheating myself, but I have no obligation to look out for others. I also have no obligation to the school, nor to uphold any universal set of values. If other people want…

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