Powerful techniques to optimize your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors

The Ethical Decision Maker

Draw four columns on a large sheet of paper. In each of the columns jot down the information below.

(1) Circumstances & Relevant Facts: What are the circumstances and the relevant facts here? I'll jot down what the circumstances are and the related relevant facts.

Circumstances: Example: My father is on life support. He's been pronounced brain dead. It's been left up to me whether or not to remove him from life supports.

Relevant facts:

*Father is brain dead.
*It's $2200 dollars a day to keep him on life support.
*The physicians said he has no chance of survival off of life support.
*My father's wish, before he lost consciousness, was to be kept on life support.
*I can't afford $2200 dollars a day without mortgaging my family home.
*My religion believes in the utter sanctity of life up until rigor mortis sets in.

(2) Ethical Value Scale. With the ethical values scale we list our major ethical values in the column beside "Circumstances & Relevant Facts". We list our ethical values by order of priority according to our core most values and priorities.

The sanctity of life.
What ethical values are involved in this dilemma?

___________. _____________. ____________.

(3) What are my choices in this situation? Brainstorm all the possible choices we might have in this situation.

*Pull life support.
*Keep life support.
*Stop life support when rigor mortis shows up.
*Stop life support when your families finances are completely drained.
*Start a nationwide fund to keep father on life supports.
*Construct or purchase cheaper life support machinery.
*Have father cryogenically preserved until they can do better brain operations.

(4) Evaluate the choices in regards to your ethical values. Go over all your potential choices and choose the one most closely aligned with the value highest on your ethical value scale.

My choice is: ___________________.

Tips For Using Ethical Decision Maker

* Some commonly employed ethical test questions to stimulate more thought about ethical dilemmas:

Is my response legal? If not, what allows my response to supersede the law?
What if my ethical decision wound in the headlines around the world or was broadcast as headline news? How would I feel about that?
What is my ethical intuition on this decision?
How would you feel if someone else made this ethical choice?
What would you think and feel about them?
Would either of your parents have made this ethical choice? How about someone you highly regard?
What are the long-term and short-term consequences of this choice?
How would you think and feel if someone else made this ethical choice and it directly affected you?
Is this ethical choice good for the greatest number?

Take care, Steve

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