PSE 402 Leadership and Ethics
By Craig Tomlinson
2 C.F.F.T.S, Dept of National Defense
25 March, 2011
Assignment # 2
When we try to define ethical decision, we usually associate it with one’s perspective or type of decision-making that affects the situation at hand. We usually associate ethical or moral decision based on how it influences the emotional or personal well being of individual(s). Rarely do we associate ethical and moral decisions that affect the physical well being of the individual(s) or potentially the ending of ones life. This example of a C.O.B. authorizing the closing the hatch on 3 individuals challenges our type of ethical and moral decision ...view middle of the document...
Magnitude of Consequences, Probability of Effect, and Proximity are the three components that I feel would affect my moral decision ability the most.
The Magnitude of Consequences component that is demonstrated here is that I have the decision to lose 3 lives, or the potential to lose everybody on the entire ship including myself. The decision to lose of all lives including my own would versus three lives seems like an obvious one, but what distorts this is the Proximity component. Jones states in the Proximity component “ Intuitively, people care more about other people who are close to them (socially, culturally, psychologically, or physically) than they do for people who are distant”.[ii] Since Jones’ also states that “Moral intensity is generally expected to increase if there is a an increase in any one (or more) of its components, and it is expected to decrease if there is a decrease in any one (or more) of its components, assuming the remaining components remain constant.” [iii] This statement alone shows that my ability to make a moral decision will be heightened or influenced because the personal relationship I have with the three men. The fact that I am on submarine also indicates that I probably will be familiar with a majority of the crew including the three unfortunate sailors. If I am familiar with the crew on the boat, I could also conclude that the majority of the crew also knows these three sailors. Knowing this, would also further increase the Moral intensity of my decision, as my decision won’t just affect me personally, but also affect those around personally.
Concentration of Effect may be the one component that would allow me to keep the hatch open for a little while longer to save the lives of these three men. As this component states, the survival of these 3 men’s fate has greater affect on the ship than if the entire ship was affected as whole to keep these men alive. To make this type of decision, there are several variables that would have to be considered. The first would be how I’m getting my information? Am I seeing it first hand or am I relying on a crew
that are inexperienced or experienced? As the C.O., I would want to know that the three individuals have been notified to return back towards the hatch. If this has been confirmed, I would consider delaying my decision on closing the hatch. This may add stress to the rest of the crew in the ship and require more manpower to close the hatch, but obviously the results could motivational to an already difficult situation. If the men were not notified and their whereabouts unknown, this maybe the one factor that would solidify my decision to close the hatch.
Lawrence Kohlberg wrote Moral Stages and Moralization: The cognitive –developmental approach. We will try and use his theory to explain why a person can close the hatch on the ship costing the lives of the individuals. Kohlberg’s theory is divided up into 3 Levels,...