Moral Reasoning and Decision Making. Moral Reasoning and Decision Making. The aim in this session is to develop an understanding of how ethical decisions are made in practice, rather than in terms of abstract ethical theories.
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4 PRINCIPLES OF
Kant’s Categorical Imperative
Specific formulation ‘treat others as ends in themselves’
Applied to volunteers in drug trial
Leads to decision never to exploit them
Reflect on considered judgements (intuitions)
Consider how these relate to generalised theories
Are these judgements and theories/rules consistent
Revise theory or intuitions
Apply to ethical situation and make decision
The taking of any life is ethically wrong.
Abortion involves the taking of a life.
Therefore, abortion is ethically wrong.
“Mrs. Singh calls at your pharmacy to ask if you could check her son’s computer record and tell her what her son received last month from a locum doctor. The medicine is working but her GP has no record. Her son is not with her today as her has missed two day’s of the effective treatment.”
“A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to produce. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife.” (Kohlberg, 1963, p. 19)
Model Stages in each model
(* denotes explanatory models, all other practical/prescriptive)
“Sally calls into a pharmacy late on a Saturday afternoon and asks if she could be supplied with emergency hormonal contraception. The pharmacist, David, believes that EHC is a form of abortion and will not supply it or even recommend where else to obtain it. David does not want to offend Sally and simply says he doesn’t have any. Sally appears to be up-set and asks where else she can obtain EHC.”