Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Three Friends and a Secret - Analysis Using Fundamental Ethical Principles

Claire is a best friend of Tony and Beth for many years. Tony and Beth started dating during high school and become engaged after graduating college. They are proposing a marriage one after the other. One day, Beth's mother got sick, and Beth's attendance and care is needed, leaving Tony alone.
Tony become sad until one day, he was glad having a dinner with Claire, and to tell her a secret and a confession. Several days later, while looking for a restaurant for the rehearsal, Beth told Claire that something goes unusual with Tony, as if he goes back to his old ways before Beth and Tony dated.

And Beth told Claire what to do about it.


Based on four fundamentals of ethics, these are the possible answers with respective two premises and one conclusion.

Based from the Principle of Respect of Autonomy
 P1 – The Principle of Respect of Autonomy covers two sides. One of which states a negative duty while the other one is of positive duty. The former conveys that one must not interfere with the decisions of competent adults. Thus, this obligates one to keep promises. On the other hand, the latter state that one must empower others for whom he or she is responsible. Therefore, honesty must be observed in one’s dealings.
 P2 – In the given case where Claire stands obligated to her both two best friends, Claire must not tell Beth the fact that Tony had a brief affair shortly after Beth’s mother become ill. She must keep what Tony told her because she agreed to lay down a promise with him and assured him of its secrecy as well. If she will tell it to Beth, it would mean breaking her promise with Tony, with the decision of Tony in his own span of life, especially his dignity.
ž Conclusion -  The act made by Claire is right as it agrees with the first perception of the principle of respect for autonomy which states that one must respect the decision made by other people concerning their own lives. Therefore, Claire keeping the promise to its secrecy is right.

Based from the Principle of Beneficence
ž P1 –The principle of Beneficence states that we should have an obligation to bring about good in all our actions. So all our actions must come out positively or with a positive outcome. We must also take positive steps to prevent harm. We must be considerate in our actions and take the necessary steps to lessen or prevent harm. The principle usually puts us in direct conflict with respecting the autonomy of other persons.
ž P2 – Claire should not tell the truth to Beth. Claire should keep the secret of Tony about his other relationship to prevent harm. This course of action has its pros and cons. The pros are that Claire will keep her promise with Tony and, on her part she will not cause any harm on the relationship of Tony and Beth. The cons are that you will lie to Beth about the truth of Tony and his secret.
ž  Conclusion – Based on the principle and the actions made, Claire did not tell the truth to prevent harm and bring about good in her actions. Doing so will keep the secret made by Tony to Claire, at the same time lie to Beth about the real situation.

Based from the Principle of Non-maleficence
ž P1 – The principle of Non-maleficence emphasizes or one’s obligation to not do harm unto others. Where harm cannot be avoided, it should at least be minimized. It is stated that increasing the risk of doing harm is wrong. Wasting such resources could be exchanged for good rather than doing harm. In Beneficence and Non-maleficence, each action must do good rather than harm.
ž P2 -  In due accordance with this principle, we believe that Claire should tell the truth to her best friend Beth about the affair of Tony. Thus, Beth will be alarmed of the situation and she will be able to answer her doubts. Tony could have the opportunity to rectify his action. Though Tony might otherwise distrust Claire for that matter, minimizing collateral damage is our priority. If ever the course of action was to keep the secret as it is and incidentally their wedding has transpired, the marriage life of Tony and Beth will, theoretically, not prosper. Tony might continue to have an affair and Beth will have that uncertainty or doubt about Tony. Unless the issue is resolved, Beth will mentally/psychologically harm greater than before.
ž Conclusion – Based on our fair judgment, Claire’s action is right and equitable. Being a best friend of Tony and Beth, she has exemplified the best way possible to maintain their friendship. In addition, this action of Claire is the best resolve to minimize possible casualties there is borne by the situation. The principle of Non-maleficence states that if the harm cannot be avoided, it should at least be minimized. Therefore, action of Claire is right based on this principle.

Based from the Principle of Justice
ž P1 – The principle of Justice applies to the care that was owe or deserved. This principle states that we should provide others with what is due to them. We should deserve equality, fairness and impartiality. With this, prudence must be observed; and we should work for the benefit of those who are treated unjustly.
ž P2 -  In this scenario and with due respect to the principle of Justice, Claire the (would be) maid of honor and best friend of the couple must convince Tony to confess Beth with the implication that such action gives justice to Beth and that Beth deserves justice upon the previous action made by Tony. The con would be that there is a possibility that the relationship will be broken however the pro would be that justice is met to all.
 Conclusion – Yes. The act  and decision awe both premises. Doing such would impose no unfair burdens. Therefore, the Principle of Justice is applied and the decision is definitely, ethical. 


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