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Evaluation of Moral Permissibility in Different Scenarios

Scenario #1: A Parole Fugitive at Princeton

All ethical decisions affect others (by definition) and, as Aristotle points out, ethical decision making is achieved consistently only through practice.  Given what you know about virtue ethics, Kantian ethics and utilitarianism, evaluate the moral permissibility of the conduct in question in each scenario. 

Important note on method: Critical thinking requires the ability to evaluate viewpoints, facts, and behaviors objectively to assess information or methods of argumentation to establish the true worth or merit of an act or course of conduct.  Please evaluate these scenarios, first analyzing pros and cons of alternate views, before you come to a conclusion. Do not draw a conclusion first, and then try to find facts to support it—this frequently leads to narrow (and incorrect) thinking.To properly evaluate the moral permissibility of a course of action using critical thinking skills 
1. Begin with an open mind (no preconceptions!), 
2. Isolate and evaluate the relevant facts on both sides, 
3. Identify the precise moral question to be answered, and 
4. Apply ethical principles to the moral question based on an objective evaluation of the facts, only then drawing a conclusion. 
SCENARIO #1:   A Parole Fugitive at Princeton 
A Princeton University student with a satisfactory school record was discovered to be a parole fugitive from Utah for crimes of theft and fraud. This case occurred during the 1990s; the fugitive used false documentation and a false name to obtain admission to the university, but on admission he performed well as a student. His identity was ultimately discovered by Princeton. 
• What action should the university take? 
(Hint: There are two parts here. Your answer requires an assessment of the moral permissibility of the student’s actions first, then an assessment of the university’s options under the guidelines provided by virtue ethics.) 
SCENARIO #2:   Is a Good Deed Required? 
Five-year-old Alexis Papa went shopping with her mother at a local supermarket in Richmond, Virginia. As Alexis hopped out of her family’s minivan in the parking lot, she noticed a small zippered bag labeled “First Market Bank” lying on the ground. Inside the bag were two thick wads of cash. Alexis said, “Who does this belong to? We have to give it back!” She and her mother walked 
into the First Market Bank, which was located inside the supermarket. 

A bank employee found a deposit slip and located the business customer who had dropped the bag of cash in the parking lot.13 The business customer said, “A lot of people would have just kept it. They wouldn’t have had the integrity to turn it in.” 
• Was Alexis morally required to turn in the cash she found? 
• As it turned out, the bag contained only $150 in $1 bills. How does this amount affect the moral obligation on Alexis in this case? 
• What is the moral obligation of the business customer to provide a reward to Alexis for returning the bag of cash? 
SCENARIO #3:   CSI: Effect on Offenders? 
The proportion of rape cases that go unsolved is increasing, and some believe it is the result of television portrayals. Although the rate of cases solved by arrest rate for violent crimes overall has remained about the same (45 percent), the rate of rapes solved by police has dropped by about 10 percent in the last decade (from 51 to 41 percent).Some observers have speculated that this drop in the clearance rate might be due to more sophisticated offenders who are leaving less evidence at the scene. They argue that 
television shows like CSI: are informing offenders about the power of DNA evidence and that offenders are making victims shower or bathe and taking other measures to reduce evidence left at the scene. Other observers are not convinced that this change in the behavior of offenders is actually taking place, and note the general decline in the total number of rapes over the last decade, even though unsolved cases are growing. 

• If it were to be proven that television shows like CSI: help criminals avoid apprehension, is it morally permissible to prohibit them? 
• Do you have alternative suggestions for addressing the possibility raised in this scenario?

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