The Parable of the Sadhu
Due Date: 24th March 2013
Questions for Discussion
1. Did McCoy do anything wrong? If so, what and why?
2. What can we say in McCoy’s defense? How might you construct a defense of his actions and argue he either did the right thing or at least nothing bad?
3. If the Sadhu had been a child, or a beautiful Western woman, do you think McCoy would have gone to the top or stopped and helped? Why or why not? Should that matter?
4. How much should context matter in our analysis?
a. Should our standards be different at 15-20,000 feet above sea level on a mountaintop in freezing cold temperatures? b. How about when other individuals and groups are present? Does that make us more or less responsible? c. What needs to change to shift the dynamic and create better outcomes for all stakeholders?
5. McCoy seems to regret his decision to leave the Sadhu. It is a decision he made in just a few moments with little reflection, yet it has had a profound impact on the next 20-30 years of his life. What does this tell you about the challenge of living a good life? If moral dilemmas don’t come before us and announce themselves, how can we do a better job of seeing them coming? What can be learned from moral mistakes?
6. How, if at all, does your view of other moral mistakes you read about (e.g. Enron, Bernie Madoff, the financial crisis) change in the wake of considering this case?