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Framework for Moral Decision-making

Framework for Moral Decision-making

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Framework for Moral Decision-making

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  1. Framework for Moral Decision-making Naval War College Theater Security Decision-Making Dr. Coty Keller

  2. Challenge • Ethical behavior is a hallmark of the national security professional • The difficulty is if often in the choice • Moral dilemmas are sometimes complex, making it hard to determine the “right” thing to do • Here is a framework* to help you decide * Framework created by Velasquez, Shanks and Meyer. “Thinking Ethically,” Issues in Ethics 1996 NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller

  3. Framework for Moral Decisions • This method does not provide automatic solutions • Helps identify important ethical considerations • Helps us deliberate moral issues ourselves, paying close attention to • The facts • Ethical considerations • Value • A guide for your personal ethical decision-making • Develop the moral thinking and behavior of subordinates and peers NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller

  4. Steps in the Decision Process • Get the facts • Apply 5 approaches • Utilitarian • Rights • Fairness • Common-good • Virtue • Decide after asking yourself 5 questions NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller

  5. Utilitarian Approach • Jeremy Bentham & John Stuart Mill, 19th century, establishing moral laws • Ethical actions are those that have the greatest balance of good over evil • Identify possible courses of action • Ask: • Who will be affected by each action? • What benefits/harm is derived from each? • Choose action that produces the greatest benefits and least harm • Ethical action is the one that provides the greatest good for the greatest number NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller

  6. The Rights Approach • Emmanuel Kant, 18th century philosopher • People have dignity based on ability & right to choose freely • Other rights: to truth, privacy, not to be injured, to what is agreed • Actions are wrong to the extent that they violate the rights of individuals • The more serious the violation, the more wrongful the action NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller

  7. The Fairness or Justice Approach • Greek philosopher Aristotle: “equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally” • Issue- is an action fair; or does it show favoritism (benefits to some without reason for singling them out) and discrimination (burdens people who are no different from those who are not burdened)? • Favoritism and discrimination are unjust and wrong NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller

  8. The Common-Good Approach • Vision of society as community whose members are joined by shared values and goals • Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and contemporary ethicist John Rawls urge us to view ourselves as members of same community • Challenge: recognize and further goals we share in common NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller

  9. Virtue Approach • Assumes certain ideas towards which we should strive – i.e. honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control, prudence • Once acquired, virtues become characteristic of a person- and a person who has developed virtues will tend to act in a way consistent with moral principles • To decide ethical problems, one asks “what kind of person should I be?” NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller

  10. Evaluate your Choices Ask yourself 5 questions: • What benefits and harms will each course of action (COA) produce, and which choice will lead to the best overall consequences? • What moral rights do the affected parties have, and what COA best respects those rights? As Kant said, “can I honestly wish that everyone will do what I am about to do” • Which COA treats everyone the same, except when there is a morally justifiable reason not to, and does not show favoritism or discrimination? • Which COA advances the common good? • Which COA develops moral virtues? Then Decide NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller

  11. NWC/TSDM Dr. Coty Keller