B. Turn in a “Preliminary Analysis” of your topic (approximately ½ –
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B. Turn in a “Preliminary Analysis” of your topic (approximately ½ -1 page) by the deadline in the schedule. Use the format parameters as described above. At the beginning of the text, put the topic title and number preceded by “My (either “Preliminary” or “Final” as appropriate) Analysis of the Ethical Issues in (article #, the case of…”C. . – Do your own research on the issue and on related topics to develop your paper. Your “Preliminary Analysis” paper will not be judged harshly. Use your current instincts and current understanding of ethics. – . I have caught students plagiarizing. Don’t even think about it. Do your own work. If caught plagiarizing, you will get “0” points for the assignment, possibly flunk the course, and will be reported to the Dean and Registrar. See the rules in the latter part of this syllabus.
33: The Partiality of Friendship
Jim has the responsibility of filling a position in his firm. His friend Paul has applied and is qualified, but someone else seems even more qualified. Jim wants to give the job to Paul, but he feels guilty, believing that he ought to be impartial. That’s the essence of morality, he initially tells himself. This belief is, however, rejected, as Jim resolves that friendship has a moral importance that permits, and perhaps even requires, partiality in some circumstances. So he gives the job to Paul. Was he right?
Features of this question are discussed at the Generalized Structure. Otherwise, we should consider the moral dilemmas that arise when loyalty to friends, or to family, conflicts with other obligations. Thus, in the great Indian epic the Mahâbhârata, the figure Karna realizes that he is on the wrong side of the conflict and that he will be fighting the people who represent the right and the good. Krishna even offers Karna the leadership of the good side and the throne of the Kingdom in dispute. Karna, however, determines to remain loyal to the villain, Duryodhana, because Duryodhana was kind to him when everyone else was insulting and dismissive (because he did not appear to be a Kshatriya, although in fact he was). The offer of someone like Krishna looks motivated less by concern for Karna than for the people he will be fighting. Karna’s loyalty, although he knows it will lead to his own defeat and death, ends up seeming noble and admirable in its own right, but it also seems tragic, perverse, and pointless than so much carnage should result when Karna knows that his cause is wrong.
A similar, and perhaps stronger, issue arises when loyalty to family is involved. Thus, in the Analects, at XIII:18, Confucius says that in his country, “A father will screen his son, and a son his father,” after being told about a son who informed on his father for theft. We also find a similar standard assumed by Socrates in the Euthyphro, where Euthyphro thinks that it is pious to prosecute his father for murder. Socrates expresses astonishment, since this is a major breach of Greek piety, for a son to act against his father. The issue also turns up in the review of “The Impiety of Socrates,” where M.F. Burnyeat misses the nature of Euthryphro’s impiety in this. With both Confucius and Euthyphro, there is a conflict and a dilemma between filial piety, , the duty to protect parents, and righteousness, , the duty to see that justice is done.