Our Ethical Obligations to the Dead

A code of ethics is a guide for dealing with other people even after the other person is dead. That’s particularly true when it comes to the right of privacy, though it can be a lot harder to figure out where to draw the line when the other person isn’t around to tell you.
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Tight Spaces, Early Mornings Make People More Ethical

Two studies published within days of each other suggest that if you want people to make ethical decisions, corner them in a small office in early morning.
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Book Review: ‘Cheating Lessons’ Puts Burden on Teachers

If recent headlines on new academic cheating scandals are getting you down, pick up a copy of Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty by James M. Lang. Lang, an associate professor of English at Assumption College, takes a decidedly optimistic tone in confronting the problem and what can be done to alleviate it.
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Deciding When It’s Okay to Lie

One of the age-old problems in ethics is whether and when it is permissible to lie. While most of us might agree in principle that truth and transparency are critical ethical principles and that lying and deception are intrinsically wrong, we don’t always agree on how to apply this to everyday life. Is truth always required? And if not, just when is it okay to lie?
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Book Review: Would You Kill the Fat Man? By David Edmonds

Edmonds_2 This is a rare treat—a serious, thought-provoking book on ethics that is also witty, funny, and entertaining. Not to be missed.
In Would You Kill the Fat Man?, philosopher, author, and broadcaster David Edmonds has taken the well-known trolley car problem and breathed new life into it, examining it from different perspectives and using it to shed light on the ethical theories of Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham, John Rawls, Aristotle, and others. If you think philosophy has to be ponderous and difficult, you haven’t read this book.
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Ethics Quiz: Selling Tactics

Ethical dilemmas come at us in all kinds of ways, large and small, with a surprising frequency. This week, we’re looking at five “everyday ethics” problems, presenting one each day. Think them over, decide what you believe is the best course of action, and then compare your views with mine, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post. Be sure to comment if you disagree. Here’s today’s problem:
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Ethics Quiz: Fake Security Alarm Signs

Ethical dilemmas come at us in all kinds of ways, large and small, with a surprising frequency. This week, we’re looking at five “everyday ethics” problems, presenting one each day. Think them over, decide what you believe is the best course of action, and then compare your views with mine, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post. Be sure to comment if you disagree. Here’s today’s problem:
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Ethics Quiz: Asking Your Doctor to Fool an Insurer

Ethical dilemmas come at us in all kinds of ways, large and small, with a surprising frequency. This week, we’re looking at five “everyday ethics” problems, presenting one each day. Think them over, decide what you believe is the best course of action, and then compare your views with mine, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post. Be sure to comment if you disagree. Here’s today’s problem:
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Ethics Quiz: Fudging an Application

Ethical dilemmas aren’t limited to big issues of life and death, corruption, or serious cheating. They come at us in all kinds of ways, large and small, with surprising frequency. This week, we’ll look at five relatively common “everyday ethics” problems, presenting one each day. Think them over, decide what you believe is the best course of action, and then compare your views with mine by clicking on the link below the poll. Be sure to comment if you disagree. Here’s today’s problem:
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Slavery: What’s Your Ethical Duty?

Ask anyone if slavery is unethical and you’re almost sure to get a resounding yes. But the cold truth is that the practice continues in many forms and in many places, even here in the U.S. So a much more relevant question has to do with our ethical responsibility to do something about the problem: Do we have one and what exactly should we do?
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Long Overdue: A Sports Code of Ethics

I’ve been struggling with some ethical inconsistencies in the world of sports. Maybe you can help me think them through. Consider the following:

In golf, the honor code rules. Players routinely assess their own penalties if they accidentally move a ball or otherwise violate a rule. This doesn’t seem to happen in any other sport. Try to imagine a first baseman turning around to a baseball umpire after an “out” call and saying, “No, actually my foot slipped off the bag and he’s safe.” (No, I can’t imagine it, either.)
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Should Workers Know What Colleagues Earn?

There’s been a lot of debate lately over whether information on salaries should be shared with the staff. Those who favor making the names and numbers available to others at the firm argue that transparency is crucial to fairness and ethics. Employees need the information to conduct salary negotiations on a fair footing, and if two people are doing the same work and one is getting significantly more money, the boss should be forced to explain and justify the difference. In short, secrecy gives the boss an unfair advantage. If the pay scale is fair, no one has anything to hide.
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