Minimizing the Moral Remainder

Ariel Arguelles, John McCaskill

Abstract


Public health issues can have devastating consequences on sub-groups of societies. But larger moral issues that face the entire society frequently frame these issues. Our deepest held moral values are frequently in conflict, and cannot withstand careful scrutiny, so we shield them by making them moral imperatives. This is how humans find themselves in moral dilemmas; torn regarding the right thing to do because we are unable to sacrifice sacred values that are in conflict (Tessman 2017).

In this paper, we examine the ethical issues that have been inserted into the funding efforts taken to combat Zika in 2016, with some of the ethical dilemmas scientists and physicians have found themselves in through recent history serving as a comparison. We then examine the parallels (and inconsistencies) of public judgment passed on the choices made by these individuals and how these same stark judgments may be influencing public health outcomes today. The primary tool we use throughout this analysis is the “Ethics Triangle” as described by James Svara (2015). The goal of the paper is to examine how our sacred values can become ethical traps (or dilemmas) in moral decision-making. Basically, how do we minimize the moral remainder?


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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jpag.v8i3.13495

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