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spadeaspade
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I thought it would be interesting to see how everyone actually applies the principles of Ethics in the real-life. So, how would ethics guide us in the following concrete situations?

1. A is a fashion designer. B agrees to design for A on the condition that the creations will be credited to A and not to B (condition suggested by 'B') and everyone working for A is so advised. Everyone agrees. Later when asked by the media, C , an employee working for A discloses that B is the designer. C's contention is that he wouldn't lie. Is C justified in his action? Or should he have kept his word of not disclosing B as agreed upon previously?

2. A (a female) is sexually molested by B (a male and a cop) on day 1. On day 5 A faces a life threatening situation and B rescues her and saves her life (in the course of his work). What should A 'feel', 'think' about B? Or should she just refrain from making any judgement on B and just take the incidents as 'happened' and leave it at that?

3. A is a medical doctor. A has been provided lunch by B (at B's cost) for a few years. On day 't', doctors are on strike (say, for a valid reason) and A is a participant. B suffers from a heart-attack on that day and is admitted to the hospital where A works. A is informed that a patient is admitted and needs to be attended to. A is not aware who the patient is or what his condition is. He refuses to see the patient citing the strike. B dies after some time. Is A morally responsible? Would A have been 'morally obligated' if he knew that the patient was B? Would your answer change if B was a complete stranger to A?

4. A is a defence pilot in the airforce of country B. He is in a practice session flight when something goes wrong with the plane. He has two options 1- evacuate and leave the plane to take its natural course thereafter and save himself : but in this case the plane will crash in an inhabited area killing several people. 2- crash land in a nearby barren area with no loss to any living being but kill himself in the process. He chooses the second option. Is he right? Would it make any difference if he were not a defence pilot but an ordinary civilian one? Or is the choice 'subjective' i.e. there is no 'right' 'wrong' to it - it depends on the pilot?

5. A is a 13-yr old and the class prefect. In the school he studies at, there is a rule that no student can play in the classroom. Some of A's classmates, who also are A's friends, start playing in the classroom which disturbs the principal in his office directly below the classroom. A warns them not to play but they don't pay any heed (being 13-yr olds :(). On being asked by the principal for the names of the students who were playing, A refuses to give the names. A's contention being 'protection' of friends (of course not told as such to the principal). The principal gives A two choices - either give the names or get punished which includes loss of prefect badge. What should A do?

I would appreciate answers to the above as well as the reasoning for the same.

Edited by spadeaspade
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Later when asked by the media, C , an employee working for A discloses that B is the designer.
Your scenario seems to omit vital details. If you mean specifically that C did agree to nondisclosure on this point then C violated his agreement, which is unethical. If C did not explicitly agree to this nondisclosure, then you have to know what kind of general nondisclosure he has agreed to as an employee. For example, if he agreed to never reveal any information identified by A as "a company secret" and A did clearly so identify this information (and C did understand that identification), then C violated an agreement, so acted unethically. Otherwise, though, C may have acted ethically. C presumably had the choice of not responding to the media (they wern't holding a gun to his head). If C judged this arrangement between A and B to be of dubious propriety and there was no nondisclosure requirement, speaking to the media would be ethical. Otherwise, you must contextually judge the interpretation of a "no comment" reply (as is well known, asserting yor 5th amendment right to silence is equivalent to a confession of guilt in all but the legal sense). In all cases, the question is answered with reference to how a choice advances your life, especially whether you are living a principled life.
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I agree with David's analysis of 1). 2) is interesting and relates to issues about pesonal identity and responsibility that Ive thought about a lot but still havent formed any particularly strong views on, so I have no answer. As for 3), you seem to be asking whether you have a moral obligation to help someone if theyve helped you out in the past. I would say that this depends on the nature of the help - if it was implicit that they were helping you in exchange for your services in the future, then yes, you would have an obligation to help them assuming you accepted whatever they were offerring (for instance, it would normally be immoral for someone to accept a bribe and then not do whatever he was bribed to do). But if it was just buying lunch, then no, I dont think that any real connection has been formed, so there would be no more obligation to help than there would be to help a stranger. Personally I think its nice to help people even if theres no moral imperative to do so, but whether the doctor wished to help the patient would depend on his personal circumstances (in a cost/benefit sense). Would breaking the strike cost him his career? Is the strike itself even justified? And so on.

edit: 4) seems like a no-brainer; of course the pilot should jump out of the plane. Why on earth wouldnt you?

Edited by Hal
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Your scenario seems to omit vital details. If you mean specifically that C did agree to nondisclosure on this point then C violated his agreement, which is unethical. If C did not explicitly agree to this nondisclosure, then you have to know what kind of general nondisclosure he has agreed to as an employee. For example, if he agreed to never reveal any information identified by A as "a company secret" and A did clearly so identify this information (and C did understand that identification), then C violated an agreement, so acted unethically. Otherwise, though, C may have acted ethically. C presumably had the choice of not responding to the media (they wern't holding a gun to his head). If C judged this arrangement between A and B to be of dubious propriety and there was no nondisclosure requirement, speaking to the media would be ethical. Otherwise, you must contextually judge the interpretation of a "no comment" reply (as is well known, asserting yor 5th amendment right to silence is equivalent to a confession of guilt in all but the legal sense). In all cases, the question is answered with reference to how a choice advances your life, especially whether you are living a principled life.

Thanks for your reply. Sorry if I wasn't more clear. But yes I meant C did agree to nondisclosure. In that case, is a "no comment" reply ethical? That is 1. C says B designed it which means he violates his agreement 2. C says A designed it which means he is lying 3. C says "No comment" which means he is neither here nor there. Which of these 3 do you think is ethical and which is non-ethical - especially wrt to your last line? In the example C chooses option 1. Also, as to his contention of not lying should he have not agreed to the arrangement in the first place in that case?

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......As for 3), you seem to be asking whether you have a moral obligation to help someone if theyve helped you out in the past. I would say that this depends on the nature of the help - if it was implicit that they were helping you in exchange for your services in the future, then yes, you would have an obligation to help them assuming you accepted whatever they were offerring (for instance, it would normally be immoral for someone to accept a bribe and then not do whatever he was bribed to do). But if it was just buying lunch, then no, I dont think that any real connection has been formed, so there would be no more obligation to help than there would be to help a stranger. Personally I think its nice to help people even if theres no moral imperative to do so, but whether the doctor wished to help the patient would depend on his personal circumstances (in a cost/benefit sense). Would breaking the strike cost him his career? Is the strike itself even justified? And so on.

No, I am not asking whether there is a moral obligation to someone who has helped you in the past. My first question is whether the doctor is 'morally obligated' in this case irrespective of his relation to the patient. Also, when I mentioned the lunch (which was not a one or few times affair but for years) what I was alluding to was that A knew B ie B was a close acquaintance. I didn't mean anything like being morally obligated to someone for that person helping you in the past. What I simply meant was whether A is morally obligated to someone who is a close acquaintance rather than a stranger or the moral obligation (if any) is the same for both.

edit: 4) seems like a no-brainer; of course the pilot should jump out of the plane. Why on earth wouldnt you?

So when the pilot chose to save some lives other than his, he was wrong? And why is it a no-brainer? I thought defence pilots were trained to protect the lives of the country's populace (and die if they had to in the process to which they agreed voluntarily - they take some kind of oath or smth though I am not sure, right?) and that was his 'work' or is that only in times of 'foreign aggression' or such similar circumstances and not in peaceful times like in this case? So, when he chose to die himself rather than let others die, he was merely doing his job - or wasn't that his job? Correct me if I am wrong.

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I recognize #2 as one of the stories from "Crash".

This is neither an answer nor an argument. It is from 'Crash', so what? Does that demerit it for ethical consideration? Is from where I took the situations important for you to decide the ethicality of the actions of the protagonists? What is that you want to say by posting the above? I don't see it's importance at all. It is in no way adressing the topic at hand.

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This is neither an answer nor an argument. It is from 'Crash', so what? Does that demerit it for ethical consideration? Is from where I took the situations important for you to decide the ethicality of the actions of the protagonists? What is that you want to say by posting the above? I don't see it's importance at all. It is in no way adressing the topic at hand.

Whoa, down boy. I don't thing he meant to belittle or derail your posts here. That said, I think that a crime such as rape, or really any crime for that matter, is still a crime, even if it is followed by good deeds. The victim may feel that some sort of balance has been achieved by the two acts, but I think the most ethical thing would be to present both acts ot the authorities, and let them judge how the good weighs against the bad. Saving somene's life may allow for mitigation of a past crime, but I don't think that it simply washes it away.

As for 5, you've set up kind of a contradicotry scenario. On the one hand, you want to evaluate A's actions in terms of a rational, ethical mind, but at the same time you say that his friends, being "thirteen-year olds", are not capable of the same rational reasoning capacity. If A explains to his friends that their play is endangering his own status and setting him up for punishment, and they ignore his pleas, then I don't see why he would have any ethical obligation to protect them. What lesson will they learn if he gives himself up in defense of their own lack of consideration and respect? This is not how silly thirteen-year olds learn to be rational, ethical adults.

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2) If the first incident is a legitimate rape or other molestation, I would judge the guy evil. he can save my life all he likes, that will not change that judgement. Take a similar hypothetical: 10 jews are lined up and Hitlers says "it's my birthday today; I'll free that one guy who looks most Aryan. Kill the others." I wouldn't judge him any less evil; nor should the guy who's life was spared.

3) The doctor has to weigh the two values -- the friend's life/health and the strike. If this is truly a friend and the strike is a run-of-the-mill stirke, then it would be evil to sacrifice the higher value (i.e. the friend's life). The lunches do nothing to the equation, unless one were to change the question to: he bought me lunches, so does that make him a friend?

4) One can never have a valid morality that says a man must give his life for another. Regardless of that, a man may choose to risk of to give his life.

5) One would have to know why A wants the prefect badge and why his so-called friends were getting him into trouble.

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2) If the first incident is a legitimate rape or other molestation, I would judge the guy evil. he can save my life all he likes, that will not change that judgement. Take a similar hypothetical: 10 jews are lined up and Hitlers says "it's my birthday today; I'll free that one guy who looks most Aryan. Kill the others." I wouldn't judge him any less evil; nor should the guy who's life was spared.

Doesnt this have the consequence that a person can never atone for a crime?

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Doesnt this have the consequence that a person can never atone for a crime?
I didn't intend that implication. The example, as stated, seems to postulate that one act might outweigh the other. On the other hand, if it can be shown that the rapist actually atoned, then I could judge him less evil than his rapist self, and even good perhaps, without him having to save someone's life!
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But yes I meant C did agree to nondisclosure. In that case, is a "no comment" reply ethical?
Assuming a nondisclosure agreement then you'd have to look very carefully at the context. "No comment" is often tantamount to saying "yes", so the proper response would something that completely neutralizes the question. That might be something like saying "Please excuse me for a moment" and leaving, then calling building security to eject the intruders. The point is that C should not disclose the information, because he agreed not to. And furthermore, he should not hide behind the "I didn't literally say..." excuse -- he should not disclose the information even indirectly. Indirect disclosure can be hard to avoid.
Also, as to his contention of not lying should he have not agreed to the arrangement in the first place in that case?
Well, he's creating a false dichotomy: there is a trichotomy. He can lie, he can tell the truth and break the agreement, or he can refuse to answer. Obviously lying and breaking the agreement are both unethical (for different reasons). Generally speaking, then, he should refuse to answer (doing so with skill so that he neither lies nor breaks the agreement). I don't think a person should generally refuse to sign nondisclosure forms for such anticipatory ethical reasons, unless you're aware of something concrete, like you know that A is a shady person who often engages in fraudulent deals. Since nondisclosure agreements aren't generally optional, that would mean he should not have taken a job which would probably get him into such a bind. But of course you can't always know that for sure when you take the job.

Now btw regarding the Crash scene, A should do everything she possibly can to cause the miscreant cop to be arrested and imprisoned for life. It is immaterial that he may have pulled her from a burning car the next day, he is clearly an evil rights-violator of the lowest kind, and miscreantism under color of law is, quite rightly, the lowest of Dante's levels of Hell.

Doesnt this have the consequence that a person can never atone for a crime?
I think it simply has the consequence that there is such a thing as actually being evil, and we can even make those judgments. Atonement for a crime means to truly atone and repudiate the past offenses -- killing one less Jew is in no way an atonement, it is simply a failure to act as evil as possible in every circumstance. Jack the cop did not atone, he simply failed to act evil in a case when he could have also let the woman cook. That, in fact, is what really irritated me about that whole scene -- the idea that somehow his vile deed was excused because he was not maximally evil.
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I didn't intend that implication. The example, as stated, seems to postulate that one act might outweigh the other. On the other hand, if it can be shown that the rapist actually atoned, then I could judge him less evil than his rapist self, and even good perhaps, without him having to save someone's life!

Ah ok, that makes sense then. I was assuming a context where the abuser actually regretted his crime and that was why he saved the person's life (to try and atone), but now I notice that the scenario says 'in the course of his work'.

Edited by Hal
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I will reply as if I were the person in the "hot seat".

1. Do I reveal that my employer is taking credit for another's fashion design? No.

My employer and the real designer have a contract, and for me to reveal the truth would be a breech of that contract. It would expose my employer to liability and get me fired from a job I like. The context of the situation is not - according to my values - important enough to expose that level of dishonesty. If I were upset by the knowledge, my course of action would be to quietly resign and find a new job. If it were within the context of a serious situation - life or death - I would reveal the truth. A pair of jeans isn't worth all the ballyhoo.

2. Do I forgive a cop's abuse because it's been "cancelled out" by a good deed? No.

I've been assaulted by a police officer who saves my life a few days later. My opinion of the cop is formed by the assault: he is corrupt and has violated his mandate as a protector. I would have filed charges immediately. If he was still free and capable of rescuing me, I would appreciate his sudden attention to duty, but would not back off from the abuse complaint.

3. So I feel remorse for someone dying as a result of someone else's wrongdoing? No.

If I were a doctor, I would not strike unless it were an absolute last resort. Without the context of the strike, it's difficult to understand whether I would be right or wrong.

However, if such a remotely extreme situation caused doctors to refuse to provide emergency medical service, those who are responsible for creating the conditions of the strike are morally responsible for the deaths of patients. It makes no difference if those patients are strangers or friends, although a valued friend would be a greater loss to me (personally).

4. Do I ditch a plane to save myself if others are in danger? No.

If I'm serving in the military, I'm serving the people and protecting them from harm, so the moral course of action would be to die in a controlled crash rather than ditch the plane and put people in danger. If I'm a private pilot, I would probably do the same, although if there were no way to avert crashing a plane into a populated area, I would try to evacuate the doomed craft.

5. Do I, a gawky teenage chemical bomb, turn in my classmates for bad behavior? Sadly, No.

I'm in a position of authority in a classroom, and placed between getting my classmates in trouble or losing my position by protecting them. If I'm 13, I'm not thinking rationally - only expediently - so I'd turn down the position in order to keep from being beaten or alienated by my classmates.

But, I'm not a 13-year-old concerned with peer approval; I'm a rational adult, my values are stronger, and my thinking is longer-term. Translate that scenario into "rat out the company thief or lose your job", and I'll be pointing fingers. You wouldn't even have to come find me. If I knew someone was stealing, I'd confront him directly, and warn him once that the next time he gets caught, he gets reported.

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This is neither an answer nor an argument. ..(snip).. It is in no way adressing the topic at hand.

Well you right, it doesn't answer anything related to your questions, but it appears to be simply an observation, not a commentary. I don't see anything inflammatory in his comment.

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Whoa, down boy. I don't thing he meant to belittle or derail your posts here.
Well you right, it doesn't answer anything related to your questions, but it appears to be simply an observation, not a commentary. I don't see anything inflammatory in his comment.

Did I come out as hyper or touchy? I am sorry. I didn't intend that. Just that it was a distraction, that's all. Anyway, sorry if I sounded touchy.

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....... but I think the most ethical thing would be to present both acts ot the authorities, and let them judge how the good weighs against the bad........

Are you saying A should let the authorities do the judging for her and she herself shouldn't judge?

As for 5, you've set up kind of a contradicotry scenario. On the one hand, you want to evaluate A's actions in terms of a rational, ethical mind, but at the same time you say that his friends, being "thirteen-year olds", are not capable of the same rational reasoning capacity. If A explains to his friends that their play is endangering his own status and setting him up for punishment, and they ignore his pleas, then I don't see why he would have any ethical obligation to protect them. What lesson will they learn if he gives himself up in defense of their own lack of consideration and respect? This is not how silly thirteen-year olds learn to be rational, ethical adults.

There is no contradiction. It is very much possible (not only possible but is) for some people to be rational and others to be irrational at the same time irrespective of their ages. And the issue is not the friends but A.

Now, A has no time or chance to explain anything to his friends due to the presence of the principal. Secondly, why did you think that there would be any question of A being 'ethically obligated to protect his friends'? On the contrary, what I was asking was: is A morally obligated to give away the names?

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Snerd

2) If the first incident is a legitimate rape or other molestation, I would judge the guy evil. he can save my life all he likes, that will not change that judgement.
Dave

......A should do everything she possibly can to cause the miscreant cop to be arrested and imprisoned for life. It is immaterial that he may have pulled her from a burning car the next day, he is clearly an evil rights-violator of the lowest kind......

Synthlord

2. Do I forgive a cop's abuse because it's been "cancelled out" by a good deed? No.

.......I would appreciate his sudden attention to duty, but would not back off from the abuse complaint.

Are you suggesting that the 'saving-of-life-act' cannot override or 'cancel' the 'molestation/rape-act' but the 'molestation/rape-act' can override 'saving-of-life-act'? Are you saying that A should concentrate only on the rape and not on the saving-life ie she should not be grateful to B for saving her life (as against the normal circumstances where she would be)?

edit: 4) seems like a no-brainer; of course the pilot should jump out of the plane. Why on earth wouldnt you?

Synthlord

4. Do I ditch a plane to save myself if others are in danger? No.

If I'm serving in the military, I'm serving the people and protecting them from harm, so the moral course of action would be to die in a controlled crash rather than ditch the plane and put people in danger. If I'm a private pilot, I would probably do the same,.......

Hal, could that be an answer for you?

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Are you suggesting that the 'saving-of-life-act' cannot override or 'cancel' the 'molestation/rape-act' but the 'molestation/rape-act' can override 'saving-of-life-act'? Are you saying that A should concentrate only on the rape and not on the saving-life ie she should not be grateful to B for saving her life (as against the normal circumstances where she would be)?
Neither can "cancel" the other. Your example did not speak to the motivation behind each act, so it's difficult to judge the person. Either way, one judges a person as a whole. If the rapist approached her as she hung by her fingernails and instead of helping just smiled and walked away, I would judge him worse still.

If a person illegally downloads music from the web, I would not say (based on that alone), that he is an evil person. It takes more to make the leap from evil act to evil person. It also takes an understanding of the person's knowledge and so on. However, in most ordinary contexts, an act of rape is so blatantly evil that I would judge the person evil, based on that.

So, the question is reduced to: if one judges a person as evil based on a blatantly evil act, can one judge them as good based on a blatantly good act? The answer is no; a person who harbours such a contradiction is not a good person.

More importantly, one does not judge people as good and bad without a reason for doing so. If one is judging this person in actual life, then one is doing so for some purpose. That purpose would define how one would view the particular mixture of good and bad that presents itself to you.

Tell me what you would do. You're a woman. Would you think a guy who raped you was a great guy after he saved your life, if you believed that he would rape you again and might also save your life again, given the chance to do either?

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3) The doctor has to weigh the two values -- the friend's life/health and the strike. If this is truly a friend and the strike is a run-of-the-mill stirke, then it would be evil to sacrifice the higher value (i.e. the friend's life). The lunches do nothing to the equation, unless one were to change the question to: he bought me lunches, so does that make him a friend?

You have answered only the question in the case A knows it is B and that is ok : can you give some examples as to what could be more important than a friend's life - of course other than his own or someone else's who is more valuable than B?. What is your answer to B being a stranger to A? As I have mentioned, A doesn't go and check (rather refuses to do that) as to who the patient is. He is totally unaware who it is. In that case is he responsible, given that the strike is for a valid reason? How does A weigh the reason for the strike against the decision to even go and check the patient? Because that exactly is what a strike is all about - not performing one's usual work - in this case going and checking any patients. For A to know who the patient is and then weigh his values, he will have to first go and check the patient which is nothing but not following the strike ie what's the point in going on strike if you are going to carry on normally with your work? The question is : is A (and by extension any doctor) morally obligated to 'save' lives and/or treat patients irrespective of his rights (for which they have to strike) being upheld by others?

4) One can never have a valid morality that says a man must give his life for another. Regardless of that, a man may choose to risk of to give his life.
True about the first part (on second thought, isn't it too broad a generalisation? Can we conclusively say that without context? what about 'a parent must give his life for his child'?). In this case, are you saying that it is the pilot's personal (subjective) choice as to what to do? There is no 'objective' choice? And in that case there is no moral dilemma involved? Either of the two choices is ok?

5) One would have to know why A wants the prefect badge and why his so-called friends were getting him into trouble.

I haven't mentioned anything about A wanting his prefect badge. On the contrary, he is ready to give it up to 'protect' his friends. Also, why would we want to know why his friends were getting him into trouble? Can we not judge irrespective of their standing?

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Are you suggesting that the 'saving-of-life-act' cannot override or 'cancel' the 'molestation/rape-act' but the 'molestation/rape-act' can override 'saving-of-life-act'?
I was hoping to do more than suggest. Well, clarity is a virtue, so let me be virtuous. An evil act, especially as portrayed in that scene of "Crash", is evidence that a person has an evil character. Is evil. Immoral. Rotten to the core. Vile and despicable. There may in some cases be mitigating arguments, if there is evidence that the person acted atypically or under duress or extraordinary stress, but clearly there is no mitigating Jack's actions. Nor is there any significance to his saving her life, and not any reason whatsoever to think that he had actually atoned for his moral crime. Moral evaluation is about judging a person's character; actions are clearly relevant to knowing that character, but I don't see the evidence that his character changed, just because he performed one good act which, as far as he knew, was to save the life of a white man.

Mortal character is like wine: a tablespoon of sewage contaminates the whole vat. Adding wine never improves the quality of sewage.

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Assuming a nondisclosure agreement then you'd have to look very carefully at the context. "No comment" is often tantamount to saying "yes", so the proper response would something that completely neutralizes the question. That might be something like saying "Please excuse me for a moment" and leaving, then calling building security to eject the intruders. The point is that C should not disclose the information, because he agreed not to. And furthermore, he should not hide behind the "I didn't literally say..." excuse -- he should not disclose the information even indirectly. Indirect disclosure can be hard to avoid.Well, he's creating a false dichotomy: there is a trichotomy. He can lie, he can tell the truth and break the agreement, or he can refuse to answer. Obviously lying and breaking the agreement are both unethical (for different reasons). Generally speaking, then, he should refuse to answer (doing so with skill so that he neither lies nor breaks the agreement). I don't think a person should generally refuse to sign nondisclosure forms for such anticipatory ethical reasons, unless you're aware of something concrete, like you know that A is a shady person who often engages in fraudulent deals. Since nondisclosure agreements aren't generally optional, that would mean he should not have taken a job which would probably get him into such a bind. But of course you can't always know that for sure when you take the job.

So, refusal to answer is the best option in this case. Ok. While we are at this, (without reference to this particular example) generally speaking, should one uphold the 'sanctity of the contract' irrespective of the morality/immorality of the contract itself (assuming we had not judged it as immoral when we entered into it but later found it to be so)?

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generally speaking, should one uphold the 'sanctity of the contract' irrespective of the morality/immorality of the contract itself (assuming we had not judged it as immoral when we entered into it but later found it to be so)?
That depends on the immorality. Generally, no: in fact a contract that obliges one to do something illegal or unconscionable is unenforceable. I believe that a contract that required one to lie would be invalidated by the courts. However, realising that a contract puts you in an icky bind doesn't make the contract immoral, it means you were incautious in making an agreement.
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I missed the part where you said that A did not know the patient was a friend. Having missed that, I simply assumed that he would know, without noticing that you had excluded this from the example. I presumed that friend would know about a friend being close to death, without having to do the rounds of hospitals!

As for what could be more important than a friend's life. I don't know. As I mentioned, a run-of-the-mill strike would be not be worth it. However, if this doctor had gone to join John Galt in Atlantis that would be different.

In fact, forget friends, in most cases, if I were a doctor I would not want to participate in a strike that did not make an exception for life-saving operations and emergency rooms. I value the average stranger's life more than that. It's a personal evaluation though; I would not impose it on others. It is quite normal for people to go on strikes that cause great inconvenience to a majority of customers while making exceptions for truly serious cases.

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A doesn't go and check (rather refuses to do that) as to who the patient is. He is totally unaware who it is. In that case is he responsible, given that the strike is for a valid reason?
Since the doctor has no knowledge who the patient is, the story about lunch becomes irrelevant, and the doctor should do whatever he would do with any stranger. Of course if would be horrifying to discover that you let a friend die, when it could have been prevented, but that does not change the ethics of the case, Then the question reduces to the issue of whether it is ethical for a doctor to refuse to treat a person who is probably dying and could be saved. This is really an issue of specialised professional ethics, but I'll go out on a limb and say that the doctor has an ethical obligation to treat the patient. This is a conventional ethical requirement, so I may simply be wrong about medical ethics.
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