Solving Dilemmas Ethically: What Would John Locke Do?
When a person faces a dilemma, they are facing a situation in which the person must make a challenging choice amongst two or more options. People encounter all sorts of dilemmas on a daily routine whether it be regarding work, school, family, etc. When people are faced with a dilemma, often their actions represent something greater. In this essay we will be focusing on the three scenarios involving the mayor, college instructor, and married couple and examining their dilemmas to determine whether their actions were taken for the greater good, who would benefit and suffer as a result of their actions and whether the consequences ethically justify the decisions and actions that were made. We will also be examining how the great philosopher John Locke would have solved the dilemma.
Scenario #1: The Mayors Dilemma
The Mayor of a large city was given a free membership in an exclusive golf club by people who have received several city contracts. He also accepted gifts from organizations that have not done business with the City, but might in the future. The gifts ranged from $200 tickets to professional sports events to designer watches and jewelry.
When analyzing this scenario we think that the major actions is unjustified and not ethical at all. When he accepted the gifts no matter what kind of gifts, people automatically think is a bribe for future favors especially from the company who has not done any work in the city yet. Another reason is that disagreements between them could happen and it with that they wouldnt be able to work together and accepting gifts would make more difficult to not work with them or not agreeing with the other party. We did discuss the idea of him accepting the gifts because of he wants to be nice and thinking about the greater good the major accepting the gifts could be for just a common courtesy, to probably create a relationship with the others company. Thinking about Locke, pleasure is the standard of moral judgement. Putting pleasure in this scenario would come both ways, people who give the present to probably ask for a favor in the future and for the major the please of receiving gifts, which are not the cheap ones. In our opinion Locke wold received the gifts because of respect and appreciation but also because Locke thinks that human nature is to be selfish Locke believed that human nature allowed people to be selfish. (Caters, 2019) and thats why we also think that Locke would do the same as the major action.
Scenario #2: A College Professors Dilemma
A college instructor is pursuing her doctorate in night school. To gain extra time for her own studies, she gives her students the same lectures, the same assignments, and the same examinations semester after semester without the slightest effort to improve them.
This situation in our opinion in unethical and not justifiable. The college instructor is being completed selfish and not doing her job right as an instructor. This instructor could have many consequences but for us the main one would be the outcome of the students. Usually students share their notes and even exams questions and even though is not right to do because like that students wont learn some people still doing it. When they do that most of them will get As and thats not normal when it comes to semester after semester. Using the same material also becomes out of date and students are not learning what they are supposed to learn. Especially in the medical field, law schools things change every year or even every month. We agree that Locke would not think that this is ethical, students have the right to learn and they trust their instructor.
Scenario #3: Marriage Dilemma
In the scenario regarding the married couple, Todd and Edna have been married for three years and are struggling ethically with a dilemma. On one hand, Edna spends a lot of her time drinking and would be considered a heavy drinker or alcoholic. Meanwhile, Ednas husband, Todd, cannot seem to keep a steady job. Every opportunity he has, just keeps going out the door. After Edna and Todd got married, their fights became more intense and happened more frequently. Adding the problem of substance abuse and job instability can cause a great stress on a couple. In result to their problems, the couple has decided to stop practicing their form of birth control and have a child.
In Edna and Todds situation there actions represent something better they are attempting to do, but is not the ethical decision. The mistake here is not taking into consideration who and what would be affected by actually having a baby. According to the Mayo Clinic (2018), there is no amount of alcohol that’s known to be safe to consume during pregnancy. There was no mention of Ednas intent to stop drinking. Chances are if Edna is a heavy drinker, then she needs professional help in order to recover before she can deliver a safe and healthy baby. There is also the problem of Todd not being able to hold a job. How will Todd be able to provide a crib, diapers, food, etc. for a newborn baby without being able to hold a steady job? Instead of trying to have a baby to solve the problems, the couple should work towards their own goals as individuals to help with their marriage problems.
John Locke believed that an individual’s knowledge is derived from their past experience. Regarding this specific situation Locke would have taken Edna and Todds decision and not have found anything morally wrong with it. This is because to Edna and Todd they are doing what they think is best based upon their past experiences.