HOW GOOD PEOPLE MAKE TOUGH CHOICES
This book is aimed at helping people make ethical choices, through a readable mixture of analysis, guidance, and case studies. It was easy for me to identify with the case studies. The basic premise is that tough choices revolve not around questions of right vs. wrong rather tough choices revolve around questions of right vs. right. Based on study of thousands of real ethical dilemmas, Kidder presents four ethical paradigm pairs:
Truth vs. loyalty
Individual vs. community
Short-term vs. long-term
Justice vs. mercy
For a given ethical dilemma, there is usually a dominant pair. Frequently, more than one must be considered, and sometimes all four. But, as Kidder points out, "merely to analyze a dilemma - even to fit it into the above paradigms - is not to resolve it. Resolution requires us to choose which side is the nearest right for the circumstances. And that requires some principles for decision-making." He outlines three such principles:
Ends-based - Do whatever produces the greatest good for the greatest number.
Rule-based - Follow only the principle that you want everyone else to follow
Care-based - Do unto others what you would like them to do to you.
These decision-making principles do not give the answer; they provide 3 different frameworks to approach an answer for the particular ethical dilemma being faced, according to our particular set of core beliefs. Kidder makes a point in drawing the analogy between ethical fitness and physical fitness. One becomes fit in either only through exercise - both are active concerns. Kidder talks about the 9 checkpoints for ethical decision-making, noting that one does not always have the time to analyze and resolve an ethical dilemma.
Recognize that there is an ethical issue.
Determine the actor, i.e. whose issue it is.
Gather the relevant facts.
Test for right vs. wrong - if it is, then this is not an...
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