Everyday, we people are faced with different decisions to make - Moral intuition introduction. These are decisions that regards career, action towards family members, friends and even in their relationship with God. Basically, people are always in constant dilemma on how they will live their lives. Their actions are their lives in general. What they manifest are their lives. Actions mirror who they are and what they are. People are always in search everyday of the right actions. This search is constantly present and a life long act of people.
People always think on how they will manifest their lives. Actions are always responses to something. People are confronted with different circumstances. Actions are the way people react to own desires and situations. People are always in the center of deciding what to do. They are always in the center because there are two poles of actions. One pole is to manifest badness and the other is to manifest goodness. The two poles are completely opposite and man is put in the middle thinking what to embody.
There are many criteria for an act to be right. There are many ethical theories and standards made available by different thinkers and even ordinary people. Some of the criteria for an action were adapted by the society. It is embedded in their culture and tradition. Some criteria for the rightness and wrongness of actions were even put and translated into laws. These are the laws that people follow everyday.
Laws are the criteria that society uses to check and restrain people from doing bad things. Bad things are seen as actions that may inflict harm to other people and the society in general. As a product of reason, people made laws to protect themselves. People, in a deliberate act of protecting themselves, they form conventions and made social contracts to attain such goal. It is in the state of nature of people that they desire for protection and security. People always would want to protect themselves from harm.
In this paper we will dwell on two cases of moral dilemma and try to find out what act must be appropriate to such situations.
When the doctor is on drugs
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I. The doctor is caught in between his moral duties, as a doctor, and as friend. As A doctor, he ought to serve the best interest of his profession, that is, to render health and medical services to the patient, vis-à-vis, to uphold and save life of the patients. As a friend, he ought to protect the interest and profession of his co-physician-cum-personal friend so as not to embarrassed to the medical society and denigrated by society, and be devastated in his life and his profession.
The doctor ought to be careful with his action to produce the greatest good possible. This is inline with the theory of George Edward Moore on intuitive apprehension.
The proper course of action depends upon a condition that such action must yield or produce the most consequential benefit. While his paradigm is basically that which beneficial generally to humanity, the major consideration is still laid on the basis of practicality. There is therefore a duty to assess which of the two courses of action will lead to greater good consequences and lesser prejudices or damages. In which case, the doctor must try to quantify or measure the attending circumstances that affect and would affect his choice of action.
The goodness of an action cannot just be determined by analyzing the intrinsic value of a thing. This means that one in making the choice of action, one does not have to focus on the very action and determine whether it good or just under the premises. There is no ample time to think about it as for G. E. Moore, one will just lead to an open-ended question which simply ends to nothing but to series of questions, without achieving the end of capturing and determining the complete and concrete meaning of the term. Goodness must be taken simply, without any further reflection and analysis. One simply has to appeal or resort to his/her intuition as guidance for action. Intuition may be one’s immediate sense of goodness, a kind of inner voice that is free from any degree of reflection. One is just directed to act something because at that instance that course of action produces the most amount of goodness under the premises.
II. The issues involved in the instant case arise out of the doctor’s multifarious concerns as a medical professional, as a physician and as a friend. One course pf action will simply lead to the sacrifice and prejudice of another. The doctor is in the dilemma whether to report the matter to the proper authorities (impaired physician committee, state medical society, or the state licensing board), or to just let his physician-friend to continue with his condition and behavior.
Corollary to the issues rose above, a question may be raised as the substance or basis of your allegation. Your knowledge and evidence of proof must justify your choice of action. Hence, whether the allegations is substantially if not absolutely, supported and corroborated by facts and sufficient evidence may as well be taken into consideration in determining the proper course of action to make.
III. The friendship of Doctor A with his irritated fellow physician cannot just be simply disregarded by reporting him to disciplining authorities and putting into compromise his profession and your relationship. One may not be justified in simply aiming or intending the good for his fellow by reporting the latter to the proper disciplining authorities for his own reformation and redemption. The benefits of the public in having him disciplined may not be commensurate to the devastation of the career and life of one’s friend. Surely, Dr. A will end up in deep sorrows about the plight of his dear friend.
It may importantly be noted that the allegation based on the established facts is still premature and wanting in substance. What Dr. A had in mind are mere hearsay which under the ruled observed by the judiciary are inadequate and insufficient to support a conclusion. Unless the fact and proof is absolute and incontrovertible, the Dr. A must afford to his friend that presumption of innocence which is granted by no less than the Supreme Law of the Land. While hearsay has no direct relation to truth, the same must make Dr. A to be uncomfortable about what is going on and proceed into further inquiry understanding the whole situation of his physician friend.
On the separate view, the interest of the public, and of the patient, as well as of the medical profession is at stake in case Dr. A would not make any action. One Life of the patient would be at peril in case the physician-friend will simply be allowed by Dr. A to continue with his negligence. Every act of the physician is so crucial that highest degree of care must only deserve every patient he attends. As to prevent any possible malpractice and damage to life and health of patients, it may be taken as duty to report one’s friend for the welfare and benefit of the public.
IV. The proper course of action as to promote the most benefit is to talk to the physician friend about the adverse ramification of his action to the health and safety of the patients. In case he will stubbornly refuse, the matter should be reported to the proper disciplining authority for further investigations. Medical profession is one required to observe extra-ordinary care and diligence, and reposed with utmost degree of trust and confidence by the public. One can simply sense serious damage and distrust will be imputed to the medical profession generally even if only one bears the stain for it.
The love and care to one’s friend is not necessarily broken despite Dr. A has broken the confidence reposed upon him. The contumacy of the physician friend simply requires him to be disciplined being unfit to the profession. Hence, Dr. A is just doing the best for his friend in reporting him to the proper disciplining body. In which case, the aim of having the most benefit arising from the chosen course of action is attained by such course of action.
1. Principia Ethica. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1903; Revised edition with “Preface to the second edition” and other papers, ed. T. Baldwin, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1993 (page references in this entry are to the revised edition).
2. Ethics. London : Williams and Norgate, 1912.
3. “The Conception of Intrinsic Value.” In G.E. Moore, Philosophical Studies (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1922); reprinted in Revised edition of Principia Ethica.
Case 2: Nurturing a Defective Newborn
I. The parents as well as the medical profession is faced with an issue whether to sustain and continue the life and survival of the defectively born infant. To sustain the life of the newly born entail great suffering and pain not only on the part of the parents, but of the infant as well. Emotional, financial, as well as moral
aspects should be duly and carefully considered in thinking of the possible course of action.
Using egoistic, altruistic or idealistic hedonism on the basis solely of pleasure, utility and benefits is not obtaining in the case at bar. Under such consideration, the newly-born will simply and immediately be terminated as the newborn cannot bring even a pinch of pleasure and usefulness. The value of life intrinsically is disregarded when sustaining the same inures no benefit even at the first instance. Morality on the basis greatest utility, or purely based on practical consideration, cannot simply disregard the intrinsic value of life, now reposed upon the hopeless newborn. The diminution on the value of life poses serious
peril upon society’s perspective or view upon life per se which may also be the same approach or perspective when applied to other cases.
The course of action shall be based upon the theory of Kant’s Categorical Imperative. The categorical imperative would be that which represented an action as necessary of itself without reference to another end, i.e., as objectively necessary . The maxim which every rational being should follow is that: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” That is, each individual agent regards itself as determining, by its decision to act in a certain way, that everyone (including itself) will always act according to the same general rule in the future . This expression of the moral law, Kant maintained, provides a concrete, practical way for evaluating particular human actions of several distinct varieties.
Life itself must be valued no matter what it is. That must be the universal precept the every one must promote and recognize – categorical imperative. Any form of killing cannot simply be justified. The life itself of the defective newborn must therefore be recognized as its right like that of a fully grown individual. The right to life must be respected and upheld by all so as life itself situates itself as the highest and most sacred entity in society. A society that respects any form of life is society of with dignity and respect, not only to the life of others, but to his very own as well that requires nurturing and development.
There is therefore a departure from G.E Moore’s intuitive apprehension theory. The immediate sense of goodness may not be that ostensible under the premises the the situation puts you to the midst of pain, sorrow and pity. An appeal to the one’s first impression of utility for the greatest number would not spontaneously arise under the premises but your heart grapples with the pain borne by the innocent child. Surely, the plight of the poor innocent newborn provides nil consequential benefits to it relatives and parents. But not all things should be ruled out on the basis of purely practical consideration and consequential as adverse effect may still result in adhering and subscribing to such mentality.
II. The moral problem basically delves with the issue as to which is weightier in value, life or utility. The parents as well as the doctor in choosing for utilitarian benefit may not hesitate to kill the child when they see that the defect would offer no further hope for the newborn. The parents and the baby would not have suffered that much pain and agony in sacrificing the mere life of the newborn. In choosing so, there is but an adverse effect to one’s perspective about life. Life could meaningless if it entails so much agony and expense. The value of life per se is basically the core issue as there is the need to determine whether to pursue it regardless of the cost.
More that the issue of the life of the newborn, the case also involves the issue on the value of life per se. Must life be valued solely o the basis of financial loss and emotional distress. If this is so, then life would be the same as any other ordinary things that could easily be compared with other tangible things. Moral norms on the basis of consequential benefits may not apply in each and every case but a departure therefore must reasonably and appropriately be made.
III. The utilitarian perspective would simply appeal to greater benefits coupled with lesser degree of pain if the newborn will be terminated. Obviously, the tries to escape to those which could simply prolong and further the suffering of the persons involved. Sustaining the life of the baby would not provide any beneficial results and should the earlier be truncated.
Putting an end to the life of a useless life of a child may create a stigma to the perspective of the society regarding itself. Life itself may be viewed by society with diminution. Life may be quantified by means of its financial value or through the use of cost-benefit analysis where the cost is that which is principally considered. In this case, anybody’s life is at threat when the loss on tangible value could be greater than life itself.
Life must be viewed with paramount consideration regardless of cost. The possibility of any life must be conformed. There must be no diminution as to the value of life. Neither shall it be compared with financial cost that may be incurred. Life should be sustained because it is rationally obligatory for all persons to view and value life at the utmost, equally among others. In the instant case, the parents should not be deprived of their right to see their child and share the agony of their poor baby, to the extent only as not to disturb and to intrude to the medical processes that the doctors are doing. The doctor must do their means to provide for a possibility of life as they have sworn to do so upon entry to the medical profession. The life support system and medication available in the hospital must be given the defective newborn just to show how society value life even that of the poor, hopeless newborn. Who knows, it might survive.
Pain and suffering are undeniably human emotions which proceeds from one’s approach on the value of life. They are the more spontaneous reactions of a human being prior than any spontaneous idea of goodness in the utilitarian sense. Intuitive apprehension is simply misplaced in this situation. It is but the categorical imperative of valuing life at its fullest that should be followed. Life is valuable without qualification, and that should be the same in the case of all, the defective newborn included.
 Abbot, Thomas K., “Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative”. Dale Larson, 02 Dec. 2006. http://ghc.ctc.edu/HUMANITIES/DLARSON/kant.htm
 Kemerling Garth, “Kant: the moral order”, Philosophy Page, 27 October, 2001, http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/5i.htm