An Ethical Analysis Of Whistleblowing

1393 words - 6 pages

Ethics is the study of determining moral conductivity through critical reflection and analysis. Ethics is a process – it is about getting to a solution by questioning the norms; it is because we have different moral norms (from different moral authorities like societal, familial, cultural, religious, etc.) that we have so many different ethical theories1. Having varied ethics for us to follow allows us to exercise our rationality and put ethics into practice by questioning what we see around us1.

This case exemplifies the moral dilemma of how democratic government corruption and monopoly is capable of endangering the public food supply. The ethical dilemma here is whether or not Dr. ...view middle of the document...

Deontology is the study of all ethical theories that are principle - or rule - based1. One of the most widely considered deontological theories is that developed by Immanuel Kant1. Kant began developing his ethics by a questioning method (similar to the Socratic method); he asked the question: ‘what makes a person good’? Through his dialectic, Kant isolated three propositions of ethics1. First, a person is morally good if their intention is good1. Second, an intention is good if it is based on the motive of doing our duty1. Third, Kant held that being motivated by duty meant respecting the moral laws and guidelines1. He transcended these concepts to delineate the Categorical Imperative: the motives, maxim (general rule) and universality of the maxim1,2. Kant held that people (being rational and therefore autonomous) must be treated as an end and never as a means (to an end). Here the prima facie moral rules of beneficence and non-maleficence are primal1,2.
One of the biggest disadvantages of deontology and Kantian ethics is that there are no strict guidelines on what the right course of action is if two principles or values are in conflict with each other (as with other ethical theories already discussed) 1,2. It is also difficult to put aside our emotions when we are required to be purely objective and this is because we are human1,2. This line of thought also does not provide direction as to when certain prima facie moral rules can be deemed as less important when resolving an ethical dilemma2.
The last ethical theory to discuss is is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism operates motivated by an ultimate happiness, which is defined by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill as pleasure and well being1. In a classical sense, utilitarianism is achieved by a maximizing principle: the greater the happiness, the better1,2. The utility principle preaches that it is our moral duty to maximize everyone’s happiness (and not just our own); everyone’s happiness is therefore considered equal1.
Act-utilitarianism is sect of utilitarianism that focuses on considering an action’s ethicality based on immediate and short-term consequences1,2. Therefore, the morally correct action will lead to the greatest good, for the greatest number of people in the present1. On the opposite end of the spectrum we have rule-utilitarianism, which is rooted in the principle of utility in long-term consequences1.
However, opponents of the utility principle state that it is difficult to objectively measure ‘happiness’1. It is also difficult to suggest all the possible consequences of a course of action; in looking back hindsight would allow us to agree or disagree but looking into the future is not as 20/20 as hindsight2. It is altogether possible that utilitarianism may not lead to the best decision possible or the decision that may feel intuitively correct (as is entirely possible with act-utility)2. Rule-utility resolves this latter issue as it takes the overall...

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