Title of Case and Ethical Issue
This case is about Mike, a good-looking and outgoing young man, who is halfway through his senior year of study. He performs well in his studies and is also actively involved in extra-curriculum activities, as evidenced by his membership to the triathlon and skiing clubs. Mike is also a very sociable person with friends who are very close to him. Because of his outgoing nature and good looks, a lot of girls have shown interest in him. According to Mike, he had no plans of getting involved in any relationship with any of the girls; a fact that he told everybody. Nonetheless, he became intimate with numerous girls and loved fooling around with them. To him, having sex was fun, and he did not care about the number of sex partners he had, so long as he engaged in safe sex. However, not all of his friends supported his behavior, especially Jason, who even called him a man-whore. Jason held a discussion with Mike regarding his sexual behavior. In the discussion, Jason raised various issues that kept bothering Mike. According to Jason, sex is supposed to be much more than sleeping with a girl who is interested in a man. In addition, men should consider the feelings of the women they sleep with. It is important to note that the main moral issues in this case is the fact that: 1) Mike is sleeping with multiple sexual partners 2) he is not serious with any of them, nor does he care about their feelings. In my opinion, his act is morally wrong and unacceptable in the society, and he needs to stop it immediately (Henrik 47).
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Statement of Facts
The key stakeholders in this case are Mike, his numerous girlfriends and the children that may be born in the course of the relationship. From the case study, it is obvious that Mike is still in school, though it is not indicated whether it is high school, college or university, and is performing well in his academics. However, his good looks and outgoing nature are causing him more harm than good. Though he initially lied to his friends that he did not have plans of being involved with the numerous girls who were interested in him, he is now sleeping with them just for fun, and thereby taking advantage of them. Though there are significant variations in opinion with regards to what comprises ethical behavior, I maintain that what Mike is doing is morally wrong, and will not only affect him and the girls he is sleeping with, but also the society as a whole. Though Mike sees nothing wrong with having sex with multiple girls, so long as it is safe, he should realize that it is morally wrong to intentionally play with other people’s feelings. Does he really care whether they get hurt in the process? It is vital that he realizes that girls like any other human beings have feelings, and they get hurt too; therefore, he should treat them with the respect that they deserve.
In addition, Mike ought to realize that contraceptives are not always 100% effective, and there is a possibility of them failing at times. In case one of the girls has a sexually transmitted disease, it is highly likely that the disease will spread amongst all the girls he is sleeping with, including himself. Consequently, their health, lives and school will be affected. In addition, there is a high chance of any of the girls getting pregnant in the case of a condom breaking. Picture a situation where three or four girls are pregnant from him: how will he handle the situation and what turn will these girls’ lives take after realizing that Mike was never serious with them? That is why I am totally against Mike’s behavior. Not only will his acts affect the girls, but also the children that may be born in case of a pregnancy. Children have the right to be loved and taken care of by both parents, but in this case, theses kids will be fatherless, since Mike is apparently not ready to be a father. As much as sleeping around may be fun to Mike, it has serious consequences which he should consider prior to deciding whether to continue with his behavior or not. My opinion is that Mike should choose to have a serious relationship with one girlfriend whom he loves, and remain faithful to her.
Evaluation of Possible Choices
The Utilitarian Approach
The Utilitarian Approach or perspective states that most ethical action between any two actions is the one that offers the maximum balance of advantages over harm, i.e. it gives the most good/ least harm (The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 1). This approach concentrates on the results that an action has on the utility (well-being) of every person who is affected by the action, both directly and indirectly. People affected by an ethical action can be employees, customers, the community, students, shareholders, the environment, etc. Since this approach deals with the outcomes of an action, it aims to increase the good done, while reducing the harm.
The Rights Approach
This perspective states that people should act in a manner that respects the dignity of others by protecting or honoring their legal moral rights (The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 1). It identifies some basic civil, economic and political rights that merit respect and protection, since they pertain to human dignity. According to the Rights Approach, every person has a basic right to be treated with respect, and as a rational and a free person who has the ability to make his or her own decisions. Examples of rights, which are recognized by this perspective, include autonomy, the right to privacy, freedom of conscience, and the right to physical integrity, among others (The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 1). Therefore, the ethical action under this approach is the one that best respects and protects the moral rights of the people affected.
The Fairness (or Justice) Approach
This approach states that every person should be treated equally unless there exist morally relevant variations amongst them. In case of unequal treatment, there should be fairness based on a defensible standard (The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 1). Examples of morally justifiable reasons for unequal treatment include fault, effort, need, and merit, among others. The main focus of this approach is on how fairly or unfairly people’s deeds distribute burdens and benefits amongst members of the society.
The Common Good Approach
This approach states that the most ethical action is that which advances the common good of the community. The Common Good Approach views the society as a community with members who are connected in a shared pursuit of goals and values, which they hold in common (The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 1). The personal good of the people who make up the community is inextricably linked to the good of the entire community. This perspective proposes that the intertwining societal relationships are the foundation of ethical reasoning. In addition, the compassion and respect for every person are pre-requisites of such logic. Of equal importance is the fact that this perspective pays attention to the shared conditions that are significant to every person’s welfare, such as healthcare, effective police departments, public recreational areas etc.
The Virtue Approach
This perspective states that an ethical action is that which develops moral virtues in us and our communities (The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 1). It focuses on dispositions, attitudes and character traits, which enable people to act in such a manner that develop their human potentials. According to this approach, ethical actions are supposed to be consistent with some ideal virtues, which provide for the complete development of humanity. Examples of virtues include courage, integrity, honesty, compassion, prudence, love, faithfulness, generosity, fairness, fidelity and self-control (The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 1). Virtue ethics asks whether one’s actions are consistent with his acting at his best, or the kind of person one would become by doing a certain act.
A Specific Moral Choice That Addresses This Issue
I think the Rights Approach best addresses the situation presented in this case study. According to this approach, every person has a basic right to be treated with respect, and consequently, people should act in a manner that respects the dignity of others by protecting or honoring their legal moral rights. Sleeping with multiple girls just for the fun of it shows that Mike views the girls as sex objects without feelings, and not human beings who should be respected. It is important that he respects the dignity of the girls and stops sleeping with them immediately. He should wait until he is ready for a serious relationship and then choose one girlfriend to love.
Reflection On The Outcome
Implementing my judgment would involve talking to Mike gently and explaining to him the consequences of his actions and the fact that his numerous girls are human beings who deserve to be treated with respect. By looking at them from the viewpoint of a human being, he will be able to respect them and stop using them as sex objects.
Sleeping around remains a morally wrong act, despite the fact that some people enjoy it and see nothing wrong with it (Hillary 26-31). From this case, I have learnt the importance of treating my fellow human beings with respect, regardless of who they are. In addition, people should consider the consequences of their actions prior to embarking on a given act.
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