Only $2.99/month

Terms in this set (16)

Socrates provides many arguments supporting why he ought to obey the laws of Athens. His main argument states that if one does not like the laws where s/he lives, then s/he can leave that state, country, etc to avoid that law. By choosing to live somewhere when one is free to leave, one is promising to abide by all of the laws of that city, state, country and so on. Socrates also mentions that when one has reached a legal voting age, s/he should reflect on the laws of her/his city and decide whether or not s/he agrees with them. Those who are able to vote then have three morally permissible choices: either to try and change the law, follow the law, or leave. Therefore, it would be morally wrong for Socrates to break the law by escaping jail since he is eligible to vote and had the choice to leave Athens.
Socrates would say that we have a moral obligation to obey the laws of Illinois, as well as the United States. The legal voting age in the United States is 18; so if one is eligible to vote and leave their home but stay living in Illinois, they must obey the law. If there are laws particular to Illinois that one does not agree with, Socrates would say that they should try to change the law. If this does not work, then they should continue obeying the law or move to a different state where the law does not exist. For example, let's consider laws regarding the use of marijuana. If someone wishes to smoke marijuana, but lives in Illinois where recreational use is illegal, they should not smoke. However, if they are 18 and up they have the option to vote. They also have the option to move to states, such as Colorado, where recreational use is legal. If they choose to stay, Socrates would say they are choosing to obey all of the laws of that state and country.
In terms of Socrates' specific case, I believe we should accept his argument. Although Athens may have been wrongly trying him, he never stated that his relationship with Athens was two-sided. Even though Athens accused him of corrupting the youth, Socrates was still responsible for obeying the law. Since Socrates clearly had a strong influence on the youth, if he were to escape jail he would have risked showing the youth of Athens that breaking the law can be permissible. Rather than setting a bad example and breaking his promises to obey Athen's laws, he stayed in jail and accepted his death sentence.
Utilitarianism is a theory used to determine whether actions are right or wrong. John Stuart Mill dubbed this theory as "the greatest happiness principle"—thus, right actions are those that produce happiness. Utilitarians view actions as means to an end. Means are morally right so long as they produce desirable ends: bringing about pleasure and avoiding pain. Utilitarianism demands that people be impartial when determining the morality of an action. Hence, no person's happiness is more important than another's when considering the results of an action.
Due to the impartiality factor of utilitarianism, I believe that utilitarianism is not compatible with being a good parent or friend. I think that in order to a good parent or friend, one must be partial to them when making decisions--thus, creating a fatal objection to utilitarianism since impartiality plays a major role in the theory. Let's consider the example of choosing between giving money to charity or sending your children to college. I believe that being a good parent means doing whatever you can to help your child to succeed, so if you have the money to pay for your children's education then you should do so. Utilitarians, however, would say that the more morally right decision would be to give that money to charity since it may help more people. Also, utilitarians would view the need for food and water as more important than the need for higher education.
While I do think that giving to charity is extremely altruistic, and those who can help should, people should not have to neglect other people in their life in order to do so. I do not believe that we should always agree with utilitarians' idea of impartiality, as it is far too demanding. Let us consider the case of three children drowning, one being your own and two being complete strangers. According to utilitarianism, it would be more morally right to save the strangers than your own child because two lives are more valuable than one. This level of impartial benevolence is asking way too much of people. If parents are not preferencing their children, then who is going to? This is one of the major flaws of utilitarianism: unless every person in the world is a utilitarian, people are going to be neglected. Because of this, being a utilitarian is the antithesis of being a good parent or friend. Thus, if one wishes to be a good parent/friend they must fatally object utilitarianism. They must choose between parenthood/friendship or impartial benevolence, there can be no happy medium as they starkly contrast one another.
A conflict of interest occurs when one person has a special interest in the outcome of another's decision, and influences that decision in order to benefit themselves. According to this definition, being a physician who earns money when patients go to a specific laboratory is absolutely a conflict of interest--especially considering you always send patients to that laboratory. You benefit whenever patients go to the lab, and use your role as a physician to get patients to choose that lab. This is an abuse of power, which is morally wrong.
As a physician you are expected to help your patients. What if there is a lab that is more suited to work with certain diseases, but you send them to your lab instead? By sending every single patient to your lab, you risk affecting their recovery. This is not only selfish, but breaks your code of ethics as a physician. Physicians must have no stake in the outcome of their patient's decisions in order to make sure the outcome is in the best interest of that patient.
Physicians should not own interests in laboratories in order to avoid this issue. Even if physicians sent some clients to other labs, any time they choose the lab they have interest in one must question their motive. Are they choosing the lab because it actually fits the needs of that patient, or are they doing it to make more money? There is no way to be sure of the physician's motive if they have interest in the lab. This is an extreme conflict with possible severe consequences and must be avoided by not having a stake in any laboratories.
I personally do not believe that you should lie to protect your son. While you may have a duty to protect your children, when it comes to a case as serious as this one that duty becomes less important than other duties you have--such as the duty to obey the law. One way to follow the law while still protecting your child would be to refuse to lie for your son, but do not turn him in.
If you lie for your son, not only are you withholding evidence from the police but you are also risking many other serious outcomes as well. If you give a false alibi for your son, the prompt states that the police are likely to believe you, which means he most likely will no longer be a suspect. The main problem with this is that someone who is innocent may be punished instead. The life of a totally innocent person, and their dependents, may be completely uprooted if you lie for your son. Another issue with lying is that if your son really did commit murder, you may be endangering the lives of others, as well as yourself. If he snapped on one person, there is the risk he may do it again. If you have other children, or a spouse, you have a duty to protect them as well, and having a potential murderer in your home would be breaking that promise to the other members of your family. Considering your son asked you to lie about his whereabouts makes him look quite guilty, also.
You also must consider the family and friends of the murder victim. They most likely want to whoever murdered their relative/friend to be rightly punished for their actions. If your son really did commit the murder, you are preventing a just punishment that may help with the healing of those who just lost a loved one.