Crimes and Misdemeanors

Crimes and Misdemeanors “Ethics and Self” Critical Thinking Project

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The purpose of this project is for you to critically think about and gain insight into

yourself as a moral agent (an individual who makes moral choices). You will analyze yourself as a moral agent in the same way you analyzed the characters of Crimes and Misdemeanors as moral agents. Being more aware of your own moral reasoning will empower you to make more intelligent moral decisions.

 

Instructions:

 

Choose an ethical dilemma or problem that you CURRENTLY have and have not resolved. (i.e. Should I whistle blow at my job? Should I tell my best friend that her partner is cheating?  Should I steal office supplies from my job? Should I cheat on an exam? Should I steal to feed my family?) The more relevant and important the ethical dilemma is, the more you will get out of this assignment.

 

Do not choose any “deep, dark secrets” that you don’t want others to know about or issues that are extremely sensitive!!!

 

Answer the following questions about your ethical dilemma or problem. Use the discussions about Crimes and Misdemeanors as your guide.

 

Your answer to each part— parts 1 – 4—must be a minimum of 125 words.

 

 

1.) Issues and Conclusions (30 points total)

 

What is your ethical dilemma or problem? Put it in the form of a question, making it an ethical issue question that is either prescriptive or hybrid. For instance—“Should I stop stealing legal pads from work?” Or, “Is stealing legal pads from work morally wrong?” Briefly describe the background of the ethical dilemma or problem. Make sure you explain why this is a dilemma for you.(25 points)

 

What are the two options (option A and option B) that could resolve the dilemma or problem? Put in the form of statement. For instance—-“I should stop stealing legal pads from work” (option A) and “I should not stop stealing legal pads from work.” (option B). Or, “Stealing legal pads from work is morally wrong.” (option A) and “Stealing legal pads from work is not morally wrong” (option B) Clearly state which is option A and which is option B. (5 points)

 

 

2.) Reasons (150 points total)

 

Think about your past ethical dilemmas. Which moral objectivist ethical theory studied do you seem to use and gravitate to? Choose one ethical theory. Use the information from the Reasons Ethics Activity discussion materials on the ethical theories

 

Take the ethical theory that you chose and apply it to your ethical dilemma/problem. How would a utilitarian, duty theorist, divine command theorist or moral egoist view your dilemma/problem. Would he/she choose option A or option B?

 

To properly apply the ethical theory you chose for your dilemma, you must do the following:

 

Divine Command

 

In your answer, you must explain the following:

 

1.) What is your religious tradition? (Jewish, Christian, Islamic, etc.??)

 

2.) What does the religious tradition state about the dilemma itself or similar dilemmas? Is there something explicitly stated in the Bible or Koran? Or, if the tradition doesn’t state anything explicitly, how would the religious tradition feel about the situation based on what it does state? Provide a URL with evidence (i.e. Bible verse/passage, quote from expert or authority, etc.) to back up your explanation (50 points)

 

3.) Explain why option A is or is not supported by divine command (50 points)

 

4.) Explain why option B is or is not supported by divine command (50 points)

 

Utilitarianism

 

In your answer, you must do the following:

 

1.) Define happiness/benefit: This can be defined physically, financially, politically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. Choose one definition. Explain your definition (i.e. if you choose “physically,” explain what you mean by “physical happiness.” (20 points)

 

2.) Identify groups/individuals affected: Name the top three groups and/or individuals who could be harmed or benefitted by a particular action. Of course, in a given situation, more than three groups or individuals might be affect, but isolate the top 3 to make things simpler. (20 points)

 

3.) Using your definition of happiness, explain why option A does or does not create the most happiness for your 3 affected groups or individuals (50 points)

 

4.) Using your definition of happiness, explain why option B does or does not create the most happiness for your 3 affected groups or individuals. (50 points)

 

5.) Give an example to illustrate any points in your answers. Provide a URL. (10 points)

 

 

 

Duty Theory

 

In your answer, you must do the following

 

1.) Explain whether option A does or does not treat people as an ends (honest, mutual benefit, and voluntary) in your situation (70 points)

 

2.) Explain whether option B does or does not treat people as an ends (honest, mutual benefit, and voluntary) in your situation (70 points)

 

Remember—For a person to be treated as an ends, all three elements of honesty, mutual benefit, and voluntariness must be present. If even one element is violated, then the person is being treated as a means.

 

3.) Give an example to illustrate any points in your answers. Provide a URL. (10 points)

 

Moral egoism

 

To apply moral egoism to a dilemma, you must do the following:

 

  1. What personal definition of happiness/benefit has guided your idea of what is morally right and morally wrong? This can be defined physically, financially, politically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. Choose one definition. Explain your definition (i.e. if you choose “physically,” explain what you mean by “physical happiness.”) (20 points)

 

2.) What life experiences have led you to develop your personal definition of happiness/benefit as your idea of what is morally right and morally wrong? (20 points)

 

3.) Explain how option A does or does not support your definition of happiness/benefit. (50 points)

 

4.) Explain how option B does or does not support your definition of happiness/benefit (50 points)

 

5.) Give an example to illustrate any points in your answers. Provide a URL. (10 points)

 

3.) Ambiguity (60 points total)

 

Are either of your options legal felonies? (If necessary, do some internet research and provide the URL where you find evidence to back up your answer). (15 points)

 

Are either of your options legal misdemeanors? (If necessary, do some internet and provide the URL where you find evidence to back up your answer).(15  points)

 

Are either of your options moral felonies? (Use Maslow’s hierarchy from the Ambiguity Ethics Activity discussion topic materials to help you define a moral felony) (15 points)

 

Are either of your options moral misdemeanors? (Use Maslow’s hierarchy from the Ambiguity Ethics Activity discussion materials to help you define a moral misdemeanor) (15 points)

 

4.) Values (60 points total)

 

Identify one core value that you hold. Use the box of common values on p. 58 of the PDF chapter to help you identify a value (though you can choose other values not in the common box) (10 points)

 

Does the value lead most to option A or option B? Why? (50 points)

 

 

 

Crimes and Misdemeanors—“Ethics and Self” Critical Thinking Project

Part II/Final

 

The purpose of this project is for you to critically think about and gain insight into

yourself as a moral agent (an individual who makes moral choices). You will analyze yourself as a moral agent in the same way you analyzed the characters of Crimes and Misdemeanors as moral agents. Being more aware of your own moral reasoning will empower you to make more intelligent moral decisions.

 

General instructions:

 

  • Take the same ethical dilemma that you analyzed in the Part I/Midterm Self Analysis.
  • Answer the following questions about your ethical dilemma or problem. Use the discussions about Crimes and Misdemeanors as your guide.
  • Your answer toeach part— Parts 5 – 10—must be a minimum of 125 words.
  • Part 11 is a simple checking of options and doesn’t require explanation.

 

5.) Recap (10 points total)

 

Go back to question #1 (issues/conclusions) on your Part I/ Midterm Self Analysis. Cut and paste your answer to question #1. If I took off points for specific things, please make those corrections and then cut and paste your corrected answer

 

6.) Evidence I—authoritative evidence (55 points total)

 

  • What moral authority (role model) would you turn to help decide what to do about your ethical dilemma or problem and which option to choose? (A role model can be a real person—living or dead, a person you know or don’t know, a fictional character from a novel or film, etc.)
  • Why is this person a role model for you? (25 points)
  • Which option would your role model choose—option A or option B? Why?(30 points)

 

7.) Evidence II—personal observation evidence (55 points total)

 

  • Go back to question # 2 (reasons) on your Part I/Midterm Self Analysis. Which ethical theory did you use? Which option did the ethical theory lead to? (We’ll call this option the “light option”— the option you would do publically, with the whole world watching. An option supported by an ethical theory is an option that can be publically justified.)
  • Would you still do the same option if no one would know about it? Would you prefer to do the other option instead?(We’ll call this the “dark option” because you would do this if no one would know about it.) Explain.
  • If your light option and dark option are the same (both are A or both are B), then your ethical decision making is consistent and your light option is a strong one.
  • If your light option and dark option are different, then your ethical decision making lacks consistency and your light option is weakened. You are willing to violate and go against your own ethical code.

           

8.) Causality (60 points)

 

See Aristotle’s idea of virtue as hitting the mean from Causality discussion topic.  Use the box of virtues and vices. Consider the same type of “pie slice” (financial, physical, cultural, intellectual, creative, social, or spiritual) for each part below:

 

  • Would option A lead you to any particular mean? If so, which one? (Choose a specific mean from the box). If not, would it lead to excess or deficiency? Which particular excess or deficiency? (Choose a specific excess or deficiency from the box. Which “pie slice” (financial, physical, cultural, intellectual, creative, social, or spiritual) would be out of balance because the option leads to excess or deficiency? (30 points)

 

  • Would option B lead you to the mean? If so, which one? (Choose a specific mean from the box). If not, would it lead to excess or deficiency? Which particular excess or deficiency? (Choose a specific excess or deficiency from the box).Which “pie slice” (financial, physical, cultural, intellectual, creative, social, or spiritual) would be out of balance because the option leads to excess or deficiency? (30 points)

 

9.) Descriptive assumptions(55 points total)

 

  • Identify yourself as a member of a group (ethnic, class, religious, gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.) Choose ONE. (5 points)
  • If a comedian were to humorously stereotype you, what would he/she predict how you would resolve the ethical dilemma or problem? In other words, would the comedian say you would choose option A or option B based on your membership in the particular group you name above? Or, to put it in still other words, which option is the stereotypical option—A or B?(50 points)

 

 

10.) Fallacies(55 points total)

 

To answer the questions below, you can choose common fallacies from the textbook chapter on fallacies, the additional handout on fallacies, or the websites at the end of the textbook chapter on fallacies:

 

  • What fallacydo people commonly and generally use to analyze your ethical dilemma? Would that fallacy lead to option A or option B? You must pick a specific fallacy (i.e. ad hominem, wishful thinking, etc) and not just a D, DA or C fallacy. (45 points)
  • At any moment of thinking about your ethical dilemma, were you ever tempted by the fallacy to choose the option it led to? (10 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.) Resolution (10 points total)

 

  • Based on your analysis in both the Part I/Midterm and Part II/Final, how will you now resolve your ethical dilemma or problem? What is your answer to your ethical issue question? Please use include the chart below in your answer.

 

Question Option winner—A or B?
1.) reasons—Which option did the ethical theory best justify?
2.) ambiguity—Which option was either a moral misdemeanor OR morally neutral?
3.) values—Which option does your value lead to?
4.) evidence I—Which option does your role model/moral authority choose?
5.) evidence II—Is your option morally consistent—something that you would do in the dark and in the light? (If not, then there is no option winner. If so, then your light option wins)
6.) causality—Which option leads you to the virtuous mean?
8.) descriptive assumption—Which option was the non-stereotypical option?
9.) fallacies— Which option was the nonfallacious option?

 

Do you have more As than Bs?—Then, option A wins and option A is the most ethical choice!

 

Do you have more Bs than As?—Then, option B wins and option B is the most ethical choice!

 

 

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