Cynthia should re-consider her decision to shift to Crytex Systems. Moral obligations and interpersonal responsibilities have been increasingly differentiated both in the philosophical and in the psychological literature. Moral obligations in the Kantian tradition define duties or obligatory actions that we owe to everybody under all circumstances. They include, for example, the obligation to keep a promise or to be veridical. These obligations have been subsumed under the principle of justice and fairness. On the other hand, expectations and responsibilities in office relationships that Cynthia refers to concerns about the well being of Altrue Company. In general, at least in the Western cultural context; they define actions that are less obligatory, that we do not owe to everybody equally, and which depend more on the circumstances of the situation. In philosophy and psychology these responsibilities have been addressed under the topics of sympathy and empathy, pro-social or altruistic concerns and the principle of beneficence or care. It has come to be increasingly accepted that both justice and care or solidarity are necessary components of morality. Research in moral development has been differentially concerned with the two principles of justice and care. This can be supported with the research in the Kohlberg-tradition has focused primarily on the principle of justice. The principles of justice and care have been related differentially to cognition and feelings, and they have been addressed in empirical research with different methodologies and assessment strategies.
In moral dilemmas that were presented to persons in the Kohlberg-oriented justice-tradition predetermined moral obligations or rights conflict with each other. In the famous Heinz dilemma, where a husband has to consider whether he ought to steal a medicine in order to save his wife’s life, the right to life conflicts with property rights. In the care-oriented Gilligan-tradition as well as in the context of research on empathy and altruism moral obligations or interpersonal responsibilities conflict with selfish needs. Moreover, dilemmas in the Kohlberg tradition were designed to address conflicts outside the reality of everyday life in order to assess “moral competence.” In the care-tradition dilemmas were designed to address concerns of everyday life and to establish a stronger identification of the persons with the protagonist in a dilemma. As a consequence of this approach, moral reasoning relative to issues of empathy and care has been conceptualized as more dependent on the context of the particular situation than research concerning the principle of justice. Further, in these tradition interpersonal feelings such as sympathy and empathy and moral feelings such as guilt or shame claimed attention as topics of research.
In contradistinction to this polarization of the two moral principles it has also become increasingly clear that moral reasoning about issues of justice and care cannot be separated so neatly. Justice issues are not merely the objects of purely cognitive reasoning processes, but may arouse specific feelings as in the case of a justice feelings or motives or a feeling of moral outrage when justice is failed. Empathy, on the other hand, requires more than affect when moral choices about conflicting claims are made.
In Cynthia’s case, she is just like a normal person in her everyday life does not consider moral obligations as strictly obligatory under all circumstances, but she take the conditions of the situation into account when weighing different claims against two companies just like how the husband advised her. In this situation of conflicting claims involving her and the husband who interprets the meaning of the situation depending on the particularities of the situation, Cynthia now has to make up...