Ethics and Morality

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Assignment Module 2—Ethics

Analysis of Assignment 2 Scenario

Leadership and Ethics

Introduction
Every day people are confronted with decisions, from the simplest to high morality. No one can affirm to have an unblemished record of always making the right decision. In addition, we regularly question how people make decision and what types of factors or cognitive process led them to their choice. It is a question which has been studied by many scholars and many theories have been developed on this subject. There are many factors that can influence someone decision’s process and they would differ based on one’s belief, religion and upbringing to name only a few. The majority of people will be able to live a fulfilling life by using a basic cognitive decision-making model which has four interrelated stages: (1) perception; (2) evaluation; (3) decision; and (4) implementation of the decision.[1]

However, when it comes to decision of high morality, the righteous of your decision must rest on more than the basic cognitive model. For example, in high morality situation, such as having to make the decision as acting commanding Officer (CO) to save the boat by ordering the hatch of a flooding compartment close, knowing that the three men inside will die within minute of your order, requires higher moral reasoning and strong ethics. Fortunately, the study of ethics recognizes various methods of reasoning. These methods have developed over centuries, with one famous thinker elaborating on what another has written, or on the argument that another has refined.[2] To demonstrate the various method the scenario describe above will be processed through Kohlberg cognitive-developmental approach of moral reasoning and study the moral justification of the decision according to the utilitarianism, Kant’s categorical imperative and doctrine of double effect ethical theory. Finally, we will investigate how Jones’ model of moral intensity could have influence the decision of the CO based on the assumption that he knew three men in the flooding compartment very well.

Kohlberg Moral Reasoning
In this scenario the CO is face with the high morality question of “ends vs means”. Is he justify to sacrifices three sailors dedicated to stop the flooding to save the boat and the reminder of the crew. In his dominant moral development theory, Kohlberg’s assumes the primacy of cognition. It defines a moral act as one that follows a process of moral reasoning and judgement based on the principles of justice or fairness.[3] However, in high morality situation, for one to base his decision on his own interpretation of what constitute justice and fairness is not sufficient nor acceptable. Fortunately for the CO, Kohlberg has developed a cognitive-development theory based on three levels and six stages that individuals pass through as they progress from Stage 1 towards the top, Stage 6. As CO of a military submarines, required to conduct military operations around the world and holding great power of destruction one would be expected to have the capacity to reason about moral choices. In addition, to hold such high responsibility, one most have demonstrated the capability to understand the moral principles that underline the conventions of the society. Accordingly, the CO could be classified as operating at the post-conventional level, stage 6 - Universal Ethical Principles as depicted by Kohlberg.[4]

Notwithstanding, the fact that the boat is sinking the CO must make a personnel commitment to the application to the universal principles of justice, equal rights and respect and recognize the fact that persons are ends in themselves and must be treated as such and find an agreement which will be most just. Not an easy decision since he most show impartiality in his application of justice. However, Kohlberg states that we can reach just decisions by looking at a situation through...
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