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Sample Essay on When is "Everybody's Doing it" a Moral Justification?

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Sample Essay on When is "Everybody's Doing it" a Moral Justification?
Five conditions identified by Prof. Ronald M. Green (p. 96)

If one refuses to adopt a (group’s) generally accepted behavior, he/she would be detached from the group’s ways of doing things, his/her allies would be punished, and the benefits he/she used to enjoy from the group would be withdrawn.

Although the effects one gets by engaging in a prevalent behavior might be disadvantageous to him/her, other people associated to this person would not fall victims of the same harmful effects in an equal measure.

If one’s engagement in a prevalent behavior has been known by the public due to harmful effects he/she is facing, chances are that others would neither engage in the same behavior as he/she did nor experience more harm.

The fact that an individual’s refrain from a behavior is in the public knowledge does not necessarily mean that others would refrain from the same behavior.

If one’s refrain from a prevalent behavior is in the public knowledge, chances are that others will engage in it in substantially more harmful ways as compared to when he/she would have opted to engage in the prevalent behavior.

Difference between satisfying the first four conditions and satisfying the fifth condition

The first four conditions are the basis for one’s engagement in harmful, but prevalent behavior practiced by others.  If these conditions are met, an individual is morally free to either engage in a prevalent behavior (as others are doing) or not (Green, 96). However, if the conditions are met, an individual is not expected to behave in the same manner as others do. This means that an individual’s moral obligation can determine whether he/she will give in to what the conditions morally permit (Green, 97). The four conditions do not specify how an individual’s character would help him/her refrain from a prevalent behavior. 

Quite different from the first four conditions, the fifth condition directly drives us into the sphere of moral expectations. If this condition is met without knowledge of the possible harm involved, the possibility of engaging in a prevalent behavior is very high such that refraining from the behavior causes one to be blamed. However, this would depend on the individual’s ability to reduce the degree of harm that might be involved.

Assessment on the claim that Green’s five conditions arise out of and express the basic logic of the moral reasoning process

In order to assess whether the conditions arise out of and express basic logic of moral reasoning process, it is important to establish how well the conditions direct our thinking process in specific cases of moral choice (Green, 97). Prof. Green achieves this by subjecting the conditions to a series of typical cases drawn from the business sector (Green, 97). According to him, if at any given instance the conditions are consistent in providing guidance to our thinking process on complex options, which correspond to or partly deviate from our preconceived moral judgments about such options, then we can assume that the conditions are relevant expressions of the basic moral reasoning process that should be applied to such options (Green, 97). 

For instance, in case 1, only the second condition was not violated, therefore, from the other conditions, it was morally impermissible to participate in bribery (Green, 98). From case 2, the rule of morality provided by the first four conditions would help in discouraging morally undesirable financial practice in the firm (Green, 101). This means Green’s assessment elements are consistent to the moral thinking process.





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