Moral Perplexity

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Moral perplexity is an ethical dilemma that humans face every day when making decisions. In order to overcome this dilemma we use norms of moral conduct which consist of: laws, ends and responsibilities (Ring 98). Last week's tragedy forced our nation to face one of the greatest moral perplexities of all time. The greatest question that the nation needs to answer is "how is it going to retaliate and who is going to be punished?" In this paper I am going to use the three types of moral conducts to analyze the retaliation process. Last week's terrorist attack took many innocent lives and shook our economy. Terrorists responsible for these actions broke laws. American law system is based on the idea that one who breaks the law needs to be punished and punishment needs to fit the crime. This is where we run into an ethical dilemma. America has an obligation to punish those responsible for breaking the laws but we don't know how and who to punish.

People that are more radical think that America should bomb every country that supports terrorism, on the other hand people that are against bloody wars think it would be better if we just send some ground troops to some countries in the Middle East, to show that we are not going to tolerate terrorism. I think that this is a problem of competing values, because no matter what the government decides to do, there are going to be casualties on both sides. President Bush is in a very difficult situation right now that deals with many moral issues. For instance is it moral to retaliate and kill more innocent people or is it moral not to, even though we have a responsibility to punish those responsible.

When considering the ends type of...