In essence, a moral dilemma is a conflict, whereby an individual is faced with a situation that demands a person to act based on moral reasons. My uncle encountered a moral dilemma in his profession, which challenged his morality. As the head of the student council in a local high school, he faced a difficult decision concerning awarding marks to a grade twelve girl in her final exam before graduating. The student was bright and had obtained A’s throughout her academic years. More so, it was expected that she was an honor student. However, at the end of her last year in high school, she fell sick and was admitted to hospital. The girl missed many classes, but she managed to submit her final English report that was worth 40% of the total marks. However, she rushed to do the assignment and searched for a similar paper online and submitted it to the lecturer.
The English teacher discovered the plagiarized report and forwarded the matter to my uncle who was head of the student council. He checked her academic record and saw that the girl was a bright student and that her actions were desperate as she wanted to graduate in the same year as her classmates. More so, she wanted to join her dream campus, St. Stevens University. My uncle faced the dilemma of either awarding her the deserved grades, which would cause her not to graduate or join her dream school or to give her alternative grades that would allow her to graduate.
Moral Beliefs and Actions
In essence, almost every individual has a moral compass, which constitutes various ethical beliefs that guide decisions in diverse situations. Additionally, one’s ability to think critically when faced with a moral situation enables a person to have values and make better ethical conclusions (“Chapter 9 Thinking Critically About Moral Issues”, n.d). When one fully applies critical thinking skills, an individual can know how the world should be and how people should behave in different events (Corraliza & Berenguer, 2005). Essentially, a person’s moral beliefs govern their perception of what is right or wrong (Wright, Grandjean, & McWhite, 2013). Given this background, my uncle engaged his ethical values and critical thinking skills to respond to the dilemma he faced.
First, he believed in honesty and diligence. He concluded that the student had not shown the value of honesty when she submitted the plagiarized report. Even though she was sick, my uncle reasoned that she could have communicated of her inability to complete the assignment and the school could have made the relevant considerations. Secondly, the girl had been diligent throughout her academic years, but she did not show this quality in her final English paper. In his reasoning, he concluded that the occurrence was a reflection of how she would respond to a similar event in the future. Her honesty was tested, but she failed the test by submitting the plagiarized paper. My uncle believed that schooling not only allows one to gain knowledge but also shaped one's character. Furthermore, awarding her the undeserved marks would cause her to think that she can get away with such misconduct. The action would reveal a loophole in the education system. For this reasons, my uncle awarded her the deserved marks, which forced her to repeat the final year.
“Chapter 9 Thinking critically about moral issues.” n.d, pp. 375- 412.
Corraliza, J. A., & Berenguer, J. (2005). Environmental values, beliefs, and actions: A situational approach. Environment and Behavior, 32(6), 832-848.
Wright, J. C., Grandjean, P. T., & McWhite, C. B. (2013). The meta-ethical grounding of our moral beliefs: Evidence for meta-ethical pluralism. Philosophical Psychology, 26(3), 336-361.