Complications on the Shackleton

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The medicine is on its way—you’ll have it in less than two hours. However, rumors are flying thick and fast about how much medicine there actually is. Patients and their loved ones are begging you and the ship’s officers for information. One of the wealthier passengers tried to bribe you—even though he isn’t sick. The estimated 10 hour repair time turned out to be optimistic, and the Chief Engineer wants you to put his five sick engineers at the top of your care list so the engines can be repaired more swiftly. While the officers are doing their best to help out, the mood is getting decidedly ugly.

You’ve worked your way through half of the ethical decision making process. Now that the medicine is about to be delivered, you’ll have to decide what to do. It’s time to be ethically responsible.

Being Reasonable: Using Decision Tools

In the last exercise you were Being Intelligent as you considered the values-in-tension and the stakeholders. Now that you have a better grasp of this situation’s underlying ethical framework, it’s time to take a look at the ethical criteria for each lens.

The next step is Being Reasonable. In this step you will use your critical thinking skills and the decision tools of each lens to identify your most ethical options. Each of the Four Ethical Lenses has its own way of determining whether or not an action is ethical. Asking the following questions will help you close in on your most ethical options for action:

Rights/Responsibilities Lens (deontology): What are your duties?

Results Lens (consequentialism): What option will make the most stakeholders the happiest?

Relationship Lens (justice theories): What process guarantees basic rights and balances power?

Reputation Lens (virtue ethics): What virtues allow you to excel in your role?