Questions On Personal Ethics

Submitted By blueyed_1
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Pages: 11

In completing these assignments (the original assignments and written assignments), remember that your answer needs to be a carefully reasoned and logically presented argument that comes to a definite conclusion applying an objective standard (one of the theories) to support your position. When I use the phrase objective standard I am referring to something that is quantifiable or can be used by others to judge whether your position is more than just a personal opinion. That is where the ethical theories we have studied come in--they allow you to explain, justify and judge your conclusions using a standard that can be then used by others to determine how logical your argument might be. Below I have given you a possible breakdown of how each of these theories might, underline might, be used. How you use them is your assignment and the only requirement is to use them logically and thoroughly--you must consider all implications of your ethical position and you must apply a theory in its entirety. If I or any of your classmates in a constructive comment can pose a question that shows some serious gap in your analysis, then you have missed in either the logic or thoroughness requirement. Let’s look at each theory and how they might have been applied in these situations. Please see the following and message me with any questions:
If you are using utilitarianism, and you will judge the beneficial consequences of conducting those tests in that country and weigh that against the costs. Remember, utilitarianism does not look at benefiting everyone--it is benefiting MOST OF THOSE AFFECTED BY A DECISION, NOT ALL that is the goal. You cannot just look at costs or benefits to the drug company--that is an egoist analysis since it is looking at one entity's viewpoint. So you will look at the effects on the company and the people who are party to those tests, taking into account the reality of the situation (there are far fewer legal restraints on medical testing in foreign countries than there are in the US). And you want to list all the costs and all the benefits--that is the way to demonstrate the logic of your position and persuade your reader--just concluding that costs outweigh benefits or the other way around is not enough without setting forth the facts. If you don't lay out all the costs and all the benefits to all affected, your reader will no doubt think of their own costs and benefits and will come to their own conclusion and you want them to agree with your conclusion, not come up with their own which may be different than yours. Remember, you must look at long and short term costs and benefits. Often in a utilitarian argument, you will hear that “you can't put a price on a human life". Is that really true? Suppose someone has a rare disease that will cost 10 million dollars to treat but if treated the person will live an extra 6 months. That 10 million dollars could otherwise be used for vaccinations, medicine, etc. for children who will not die without those drugs but will suffer from polio, whooping cough, etc. If you are thinking that money should go to the children, then you have just put a price of 10 million dollars on that life. If you are thinking that it should go to treatment for that one person, would your answer be the same if the figure was 100 million? At some point, everyone hits the point where the price is too high--that is the price of a human life. Harsh? Sure, and of course this example is light years from most of the ethical dilemmas we will face. But the principle is the same and a very good example about the dangers of making absolute statements in ethics class.
In second question regarding litigation, if you are using a utilitarian outlook, then the cost of lawsuits (frivolous lawsuits cost everyone, will drug companies cut back on trying new drugs if they are subject to lawsuits) vs. the benefit (keeps corporations honest and in check) must be weighed. Both costs and benefits must be