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7c. Motive - Allocating books

Motive

Indifference to the wrongness of an action

Dilemma

Duty. Mr. Jacks was making a final count of the English books that had been allocated to him for his English classes because some students can get quite upset when they don’t receive their textbooks on the first day of classes. Sure enough, the new vice principal, Ms. Bentley, had short-changed him of two copies of one of the novels. This was the second year that she had made a counting error. Enough already! He was sure she was shorting him whenever there was a shortage of books. This time he was not going to put up with it. He confronted her accusing her of deliberately short changing him whenever there was a shortage of books. Had he made a moral issue of what started as a non-moral issue? Was that immoral?

Rights. Ms. Bentley retorted, ‘I have a duty to allocate the textbooks … that gives me the right to allocate the books as best I can. Someone has to put up with textbook shortages. In any case, you won’t be using the novel where you are short of two copies till later in the year. We might be able to order those books before you need them.’ With that said, she returned to distributing books.

Motive. Mr. Jacks was not amused by Ms. Bentley’s terse response. He accused her of acting with He accused her of acting with indifferecne as to the wrongness of her action. ‘That’s immoral.’ he shot back.

Discussion

  • Since Ms. Bentley has a duty then in virtue of her having that duty does she have a certain right?
  • Discuss other situations where people use this kind of thinking.

You may want to discuss other dilemmas.

Consider this view about indifference to the wrongness of an action


  • Crooked thinking

If a man did what was wrong and he believed it to be right but he did it with indifference, he would have acted morally.

  • Straight thinking

What could be the bad motive which makes a wrong act a morally bad act? It reflects the absence of a certain sort of motive, namely, the desire to do right (or refrain from doing wrong). In fact, if a person does something which is not wrong but he does it in spite of his belief that it is wrong, he has acted immorally. This simply means that he acted in a way in which an immoral man would act. His manner of action shared a certain property with a morally bad action. That property was his indifference to the wrongness of the action. On the other hand, if a man did what was wrong but he believed it to be right and he did it from a desire to do the right thing, he would have acted morally. He would have acted in a way in which a moral man would have acted.

Moral principle value tests

An application of the moral principle value tests probably illustrates most clearly what is entailed in evaluative reasoning. They are:

It is important to emphasize that the moral-value principle tests are not designed to resolve issues (guarantee right answers!) but to assess the ‘justification’ for moral value decisions.

To view the Dilemma from the perspective of Duty, Rights, Motives, Desert and Justice, click the following:

Join in the conversation by leaving your comments in the blog. Click HERE.

He accused her of acting with indifference as to the wrongness of her action. ‘That’s immoral,’ he shot back.