To Tell Or Not To Tell Essay

, Research Paper Baracker, Gabe 2-16-98 Phil 102 GTF: Tim Rohrer essay exam #2 1. You are at a party and you see your best friend?s girl/boyfriend making out rather intensely with someone (someone other than your friend). After a

, Research Paper

Baracker, Gabe


Phil 102

GTF: Tim Rohrer

essay exam #2

1. You are at a party and you see your best friend?s girl/boyfriend making

out rather intensely with someone (someone other than your friend). After a

while they get up, walking right by you without noticing you, they disappear

into a room together. Do you have a duty to tell your friend what you saw?

Do you consider the consequences of telling your friend before you decide

whether to tell them about what you saw? Does it matter what kind of person

you would be if you told/didn?t tell them?

Discuss this situation with respect to three of the theorists we have

studied-one who focuses on duty, another who focuses on the consequences,

and a third who thinks it is important to consider what kind of human being

we are/want to be. What question(s) do you think to be most important to

ask? Give reasons for your answer. (You may supply details and vary the

situation as necessary to bring out particular philosophical theories.)

To Tell Or Not To Tell?

That, Is The Question.

Quite a predicament, isn?t it? I really do not believe that there is a right

or wrong answer for this type of situation. Either way you are going to get

burned. It is just that by whom you will be burned, that is in question. I think

that everyone has probably been in a situation somewhat like this, right? I

sure know that I have. Actually, I think that I have probably been in all four

positions, that of boyfriend being cheated on, on-looking best friend of

boyfriend, cheating boyfriend, and of the boy making out with the girlfriend

of the boyfriend who happens to be the on-looking friend?s best friend.

Therefore, I must have firsthand and pretty excellent knowledge to clearly

assess and resolve the situation at hand, right? Wrong. It is quite a bit more

complicated than that. What will your best friend think of you after telling

him the horrible news? Will he not like you anymore? Should you just mind

your own business and not tell him at all? It can be dealt with by any number

of means. The innumerable amount of choices or avenues to be taken, make

the final decision hard to determine. Immanuel Kant would argue that we

must tell our friend the truth because it is our moral duty, while Bernard

Williams would have us consider how we would view ourselves before or

after we spilled the beans. Still another, John M. Taurek, would have us

consider the consequences to the parties involved if the truth was known.

Theorists and philosophers such as these have argued for centuries about

what would be the appropriate choice given situations like this.

Immanuel Kant would have me tell my friend about his girlfriend

fooling around behind his back. He believed that any action (my telling him

the truth) must come from a sense of duty and that duty is a moral necessity.

Categorical imperatives are moral requirements which are unquestionable in

terms of commanding what a person must do. The categorical imperative is

thought to be the rational action. Kant believes there is a connection between

what is moral and what is rational. This is because he believes that a moral

action must be based on good reasoning. For instance, it is the morally

correct thing to do to tell the truth because there are negative repercussions

that result from lying. Furthermore, Kant believes that a categorical

imperative must apply in all situations and for all people; to be universal or

have a universal moral law. He thinks that it is the rational thing to have

consistency in morals. So in the end I tell my friend what I saw. I do this

because it is my duty to do the right thing and to tell the truth.

?There are many people we are not in a position to help at all? (Doing

and Being, 51). This is how I feel in answering this question. There is not

one brilliant answer to this situation. John M. Taurek offers this solution to

the problem of the cheating girlfriend. He focuses on whether or not the

number of people affected counts as something to consider when presented

with a dilemma. He also states in the life-saving drug example that ?I will

save my friend.? and it is not morally wrong to do that. Taurek objects to the

utilitarian thought that treats people as objects. He instead considers his

friendship and personal feelings when assessing a situation because he does

not believe that people have ?objective value?. This leads me to believe that

he would tell his friend about his unfaithful girlfriend because he respects his

friends feelings and does not want to see him hurt any further.

It is also important to consider what kind of person I would be and

what kind of morals I would want to hold as my own if I did or did not tell

my friend of his cheating girlfriend. Bernard Williams bases his belief in

moral integrity. Take for example the case of George the biochemist. If he

takes the job in the chemical weapons factory, he is violating his own morals.

If he turns the job down then he is putting his family deeper and deeper in

debt. He thinks that it is important that a person feel harmony between the

action he is doing and the result of it. When I choose to tell or not to tell my

best friend about his cheating girlfriend, I am making a choice as to what kind

of person that I am morally. The choice that I make will inevitably say what

kind of person I am, whether I care about friends and family or whether I

choose to sit back and see them suffer.

Ultimately, I believe that I do have an obligation to let my friend know

that his girlfriend was fooling around on him behind his back, but I do not

think that I would be able to tell him face to face. If I could let him know

what was up by some sort of indirect means, then it would be much better and

to my benefit because I would not be the one to upset him. My friend could

not be mad at me for breaking his heart and his girlfriend could not hold me

responsible for their impending fight and breakup.