Essay 2-Basic Concepts And Methods In Ethics

Essay 2-Basic Concepts And Methods In Ethics - Basic...

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Basic Concepts And Methods In Ethics (ESSAY #2) Introduction As with any other higher-order intellectual activity, resolving moral problems requires that we be both analytical and imaginative. In the analytical mode, we sort out the component parts of ethical problems. This activity helps us in knowing what kinds of solutions are appropriate. However, resolving ethical problems often requires something more. In the imaginative mode, we can think as creatively as we can about ways of resolving moral problems. This creative activity takes many forms, including imagining creative new ways of reconciling conflicting moral claims. Factual, Conceptual, and Moral Issues Let us begin by considering some of the analytical devices that are useful in resolving moral issues. We can begin with a case. Suppose James is a chemical engineer who changed employment from Company A to Company B. Before leaving Company A, his manager asked him to sign a document in which he agreed to keep confidential any proprietary information which he acquired at Company A. Soon after he arrives at Company B, James is assigned to solve a problem involving a new emission, Compound X, which is not regulated by the EPA. James' new manager does not know whether to be concerned about Compound X or not. However James realizes that some of the proprietary information he acquired at Company A might enable him to modify the manufacturing process at Company B so that the suspicious new product would not be produced in the first place. This information would be used in an entirely different way than it was used by Company A and would not harm the competitive position of Company A with respect to Company B, but James still wonders whether he should approach his new manager with a proposal that requires the use of this information. There are three different types of issues in this case. It is important to distinguish them, for they can be found in most moral problems.1 The first kind of issue is a factual issue , i.e. an issue having to do with the truth or falsehood of factual claims. The primary example of a factual issue in this case is the question whether Compound X really is a health hazard. If James could come up with information that Compound X really is not any type of hazard and that the EPA would not be concerned with it at all, he would not have any problem. He could simply forget the whole thing. If James cannot determine whether or not Compound X is hazardous, or if he finds out that indeed it is a serious health hazard, then he has a difficult problem. So this factual issue has a crucial bearing on the issue James faces. A second kind of issue is a conceptual issue , i.e. an issue having to do with the meaning or scope of a term or concept. The primary example of a conceptual issue in this case is the question whether the use of the information gained at Company A for the new problem at Company B would constitute a use of proprietary information. What, precisely, is the scope of the term "proprietary information"? Company A might have
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Essay 2-Basic Concepts And Methods In Ethics - Basic...

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