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Consent: A Philosophical Dilemma - Essay Example

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In this article, I provide reasons to support O’Neill’s argument regarding the validity of consent as the fundamental principle in dealing with others. First, I evaluate the moral dimensions of treating others as they would like. Secondly, I address the validity of consent in justifying the way others are treated, thirdly I address the issue of hypothetical consent and moral actions, fourth, I address the issues of Kantian alternative and the Formula of the end principle, and finally how these ideas are applicable in job and relationship issues The moral ideals of treating others as persons is not primarily a matter of treating people as they want or would want to be treated. Though O’Neill (253) argues that involved employers treat employees as persons, first, there would be a need for cognitive maturity in making decisions regarding the best treatment approach, regardless of the employee’s views. For example, an employee may not want to be involved in a certain project due to lack of knowledge or information. The cognitive ability of the employer to know the benefits of such program to employees may overrule what the employee actually wants in implementing it. Secondly, though a prostitute who does her job with involved perfunctoriness may not be using the client, or the client may not be using the prostitute, such a relationship would not amount to treating others as persons. Any action has to be observed to promote the end of the receiver. It follows that such action to quench sexual desires with a prostitute treats her as an object, and not as a person, though treated as she would want to. Therefore, treating or not treating others as they like may not amount to treating or not treating others as persons. In actual consent, the ideal that treating others as persons has to view their consent as being of moral significance is not plausible. First, a rape victim may consent to the act to avoid distress and further harm. Though the victim consents to the rape ordeal action, this would not amount to a consent that is of moral significance. This implies that such consent cannot be used to support the rape act, as the action in itself does not promote the good of the receiver. Secondly, the consent of workers to be employed in capitalism as Marxist critics noted (O’Neill, 255) cannot be of moral significance if the same employees are exploited for the gains of the employer. In this case, employees are treated as things or as objects rather than like persons. This implies, though they have consented to such employment, moral significance does not hold to such treatment. Therefore, consent cannot be regarded to be of moral significance as these employees are not treated as persons. There might be an agreement that the consent of each individual is required to make an action morally significant. However, the happiness of such receivers is not promoted in this case, implying that such an action cannot be considered to be of moral uprightness. In hypothetical consent, O’Neill (257) argues that sometimes, actual consent is not morally decisive even when the individual is well informed. This suggestion as O’Neill argues is true and applicable in many circumstances. The maturity of faculties in this case applies as the deciding factor. A person may consent to what they are not well conversant with, such as a form of treatment. A Doctor may ignore a ...Show more


Name: Course: Date: Consent: A Philosophical Dilemma The debate regarding morality and rightness of actions based on individual’s consent may be considered as a dilemma in ethical practices. In his philosophical arguments, Kant noted that the basic moral principle to treat people is by respecting and recognizing the right to decent or consent to any possibilities…
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Consent: A Philosophical Dilemma essay example
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