Detailed Responses to an Ethical Dilemma, from Deontologist and Consequentialist Stances (780 words)

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Question

Read the dilemma and answer the questions below:

Critical Response Essay
Eddie’s Dilemma*

When Eddie received his Master’s Degree in Bio-Chemistry from a top university, he was overwhelmed with job offers. He decided to work for HappyPlace, Inc., where he did research and development of various household cleaning products. He enjoyed his job and was very good at it.

One day, after he had been working for 10 years, he got some bad news. HappyPlace, Inc. was being taken over by Bigfoot, Inc. Bigfoot had its own R & D department and staff, so Eddie and his colleagues in the R & D department at HappyPlace were no longer needed and their employment was terminated.

Eddie didn’t expect much trouble finding a new position, but the economy was very different from when he left school, and several months went by with no success. Soon it was two years and Eddie was very discouraged. His wife was working two jobs and he and the children hardly saw her. They were having trouble making their mortgage payment, and were in danger of losing their home to foreclosure.

Then Eddie was contacted by a recruiter about a job managing the R & D department at Devious, Inc. Devious was a cigarette manufacturer, and though Eddie was opposed to cigarette smoking, he was intrigued by the offer to do research into making less toxic cigarettes. He took the job, which paid much more than his old job and included many benefits.

Eddie’s wife was able to quit both of her jobs and the family was finally financially stable. Things were going very well until Eddie discovered that his company was not really interested in making safer cigarettes. As a matter of fact, they were adding ingredients to their product to make them more addictive, which increased the chance that smokers would develop cancer or other diseases.

Eddie went to the management of Devious to discuss his findings, but he was told to mind his own business. He was also reminded that he had signed a confidentiality agreement so that he was not allowed to tell the public about what he discovered.

Eddie does not want to work for a company that is actively trying to make people sick. He wants to expose their activities to the public. But he needs the job, and he did sign the confidentiality agreement.

1. If Eddie were a Utilitarian, would he stay or quit? Would he make his findings public or stay quiet?
2. If Eddie were a Deontologist (Kant), would he stay or quit? Would he make his findings public or stay quiet?

Answer each question in a one page, double spaced, 12 point font essay. Print on both sides of one sheet or staple your two pages together. Describe the process Eddie would use to make his decision.

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If Eddie were a Utilitarian, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ would be for him dependent on the consequences of his choices and actions. So, this is the first set of choices Eddie faces : Stay at Devious, continue his work for the company, and continue enjoying his newfound, financially stable lifestyle, or quit the company and go back to a difficult job market and a financially-insecure life for his family. An important element in deciding Eddie’s utilitarian path forward is whether or not he ascribes to Bentham...

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