THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT: At some point in your life, I hope you have observed some of these normative theories in action. Choose a situation from your life and describe how it applies to one of the theories you have just read about in Chapter 2 (Kant, Egoism, Utilitarianism, Good Will, Prima Facie Obligations, others, etc.). Discuss why you identified that particular situation with the stated theory. Be sure to describe the situation or example. If you have not observed a theory in action in your life, find an example in our history and discuss how the theory applies to the situation.
One of the theories that most interest me and I can see applied to my own life and the lives of other is Prima Facie Obligations, where an obligation can be over ruled by an even more important obligation. While learning about this normative theory I could think about multiple situations where this is applied from childhood to adulthood. In my own opinion Prima Facie Obligations makes more sense from an ethics perspective of society compared to the other theories where there is only one good and one bad. The example in the text says that a murderer coming to your house is looking for your friend, so they could kill her and you are hiding her inside your home to protect them. While telling the truth is a general obligation to follow in most situations, the obligation to keeping your friend alive is more important than telling the truth. This proves that doing something that is regularly a good thing can turn into something that might put someone’s life in danger.
This theory applies to a situation in my life from situational and relationship stance. I have an older brother who is gay and in high school I realized that I’m queer. When I was a younger my brother was kicked out for being gay, because he told the truth to our mother. If I didn’t know this happened I would’ve told the truth as well, but since I knew this happened to him and risked his own well being and essentially becoming homeless, I didn’t want that to happen to myself. Sometimes keeping secrets from the people closest to you ensures your safety even if that’s keeping secrets from your own family.