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Ethical Dilemma



Deontologicalethics is that argument majors on the wrongness or rightness of givenactions themselves. This approach is opposed to the wrongness orrightness of the subsequent consequences of given actions or even theunderlying habits and characters of the individuals behind suchactions. In this approach therefore, in order for an individual toquantify whether a given situation is bad or good, it all depends onthe various actions to its conceptualization whether they were wrongor right. Essentially, what would be used to determine whether achoice is wrong or right is the eventual conformity to the norm ofmorality. Ideally, right assumes priority if measured against good. Agood example is this proposition, suppose an individual proposes toput to death everyone who may not ideally support agriculturalinvestment in order to manage hunger. Deontological ethics wouldmaintain the view that the world without enough food was bad whilethe rest of the argument stands (Molinsky&amp Margolis, 2005).On the other hand, utilitarianism approach maintains that, themorality of wrong or right is pegged on the eventual effects. Morespecific into it, the effects of action considered relevant are theeventual bad or good results as an outcome.

Casestudy 1

Thiscase study was set in Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania,with the incident occurring at the research facility of theUniversity of Pennsylvania Medical School. Dr. Thomas Gennarelli aneurologist in profession who was exposed by the Animal LiberationFront for inhumane treatment of Animals during experimentation headedthe research. The ethical dilemma in this case study involves twoparties that all broke federal laws, but only one party is to beprosecuted in court. The members of the Animal liberations Frontcommitted crimes while acquiring the evidence that led to thetermination of the research that was also breaking laws on theethical treatment of Animals. The prosecutors are faced with anethical dilemma on whether to prosecute them is morally right sinceit is the prosecutor’s responsibility to seek justice by makingsure that the guilty are held responsible (Galvin &amp Herzog,1992). Moreover, the members of Animal Liberations Front movementgroup who are supposed to be prosecuted by the law are the ones whoalso are protecting Animal rights while exposing a major evil in thesociety (National District Attorneys Association, 1977).

Somesay that at times one can be let off if he does an evil act that isfor the betterment of the greater good, that is, unavoidable(Molinsky &amp Margolis, 2005). Dr. Thomas was supported by theinvestigations made by the Office for Protection from Research Riskswho established that even though the researches were cruel theresults would eventually help the human race. Well the same argumentcan be used to in support of the Animals Liberations Front whocommitted crimes and exposed the cruelty imposed on Animals due tothe research and hence helped many more animals that may be used inresearches in the future. The duties of the doctors in the researchfacility was to conduct the research in the most humane way aspossible but the morality was evil as evidence in the case study. Thevideos obtained showed as quoted in the case study “researchers areheard making fun of the brain injured animals” this is clearlyimmoral even though they were accomplishing their duties partly. Thisdeontological ethical approach is clearly depicted in the case studysince their moral philosophy towards treatment of Animals is wrong.The utilitarianethical approach is depicted in the case where the member of theAnimal Liberation Front committed a crime that resulted in exposingevil acts. In this ethical approach the results clearly justifies themeans .The prosecutors should turn a blind eye and not prosecute themembers of the Front because without acts like these justice can beachieved for those who were not privileged and furthermore the AnimalLiberation Front did a job that they as the prosecution was supposedto do. The society as whole was in favor of the front since after theresearcher’s inhuman acts were exposed the whole society saw howtheir moral compass was broken.

Themembers of the Animal Liberation front should be prosecuted in orderto uphold the law but it is not the right thing to do given thecircumstances. My recommendation is that the prosecutors should givethem a stern warning not to do the same in the future becausealthough they committed crimes, the crimes were eventually justifiedwith the evidence in the stolen tapes. The necessary evil for thegreater good in the case of the members had far moral distinctioncompared to the researchers.

CaseStudy 2

Thiscase study looks at a global situation involving the United Statesand the rest of the word. The agency involved is the NSA (NationalSecurity Agency)that has been conducting a secret operation for the last seven years. The operation involved collection of personal data of Americanstelephone calls between themselves and foreigners. The ethicaldilemma in this case is the order by the FISC (Foreign IntelligenceSurveillance Court) to the FBI to give the collected information tobe handed over while the citizens of the United States did notapprove this operation. This information is private and people may bea concern on their privacy rights after the order is carried out andmay lead to not trusting the government. The secret operationviolates many privacy rights of individuals since it was doneindiscriminatelyand to people who were not in the watch list as security threats.First, it is not morally upright to spy on people without probablecourse and a crime to hack in people’s devices, by giving theinformation out it shows that the government has been violating theselaws and the president is in an ethical dilemma on the professionalconduct of his government.

Thegovernment is required by its citizens to act and operate in aprofessional way and the actions in this case study shows clearlythat they have not (Greenwald,2013).For seven years, the Obama administration has been spying on itscitizens and storing their private information. This clearly isagainst the FISA(Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) which only allowed thesecretly collection of information on foreign powers therefore anethical issue that needs to be addressed.Deontological ethics is addressed is that even though the informationthat was collected may provide key intelligence information thatcould safeguard America, the gathering of the data was done on theirown civilians without their consent. This is morally wrong sinceeveryone is entitled to privacy and this has been going on for a verylong period (Katyal&amp Caplan, 2008).Even though the utilitarian ethics may apply in this case study theinformation obtained from the NSA operation might actually lead tointelligence gathering that might be of help in stopping nationalsecurity threats. No justification will prove the violation of theFISA that clearly states an exemption that the president is allowedto spy in that “providedthe surveillance is directed solely at communications among orbetween foreign powers or &quotthe acquisition of technicalintelligence.”this exemption is valid up to a year but this operation has beenongoing for seven years running. Storing personal data of citizenscan be dangerous especially with the threat of being hacked byforeign powers (Cinquegrana,1989).

Thepresident should authorize the FBI to obtain the information sincethe operation will be done for a period that is specified in theexemptions provided by the ForeignIntelligence Surveillance Act that exempts the president to do so upto a year. After the revelation of the secret program, the public andforeign powers will now be very upset and I think the president willreceive a lot of criticism from both parties. The president shouldexpect the out lash especially from his own compatriots however therequested order is within the laws and may provide importantinformation for the FBI to use in their investigation. The ordershould be passed and it is the right decision and the NSA programshould be terminated and only restarted in times immediate threat orfor national security reasons.


Cinquegrana,A. R. (1989). The Walls (and Wires) Have Ears: The Background andFirst Ten Years of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of1978.&nbspUniversityof Pennsylvania Law Review,&nbsp137(3),793-828.

Galvin,S. L., &amp Herzog Jr, H. A. (1992). Ethical ideology, animal rightsactivism, and attitudes toward the treatment of animals.&nbspEthics&amp Behavior,&nbsp2(3),141-149.

Greenwald,G. (2013). NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizoncustomers daily.&nbspTheGuardian,&nbsp6(06),2013.

Katyal,N., &amp Caplan, R. (2008). The Surprisingly Stronger Case for theLegality of the NSA Surveillance Program: The FDR Precedent.&nbspStanfordLaw Review,1023-1077.

Molinsky,A., &amp Margolis, J. (2005). Necessary evils and interpersonalsensitivity in organizations.&nbspAcademyof Management Review,&nbsp30(2),245-268.

NationalDistrict Attorneys Association. (1977).&nbspNationalprosecution standards.National District Attorneys Association.