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Consequentialismand Ethical Decision Making week 4 discussion 2

police officer close to retirementis training a rookie cop. Their shift is over and they are returning to theprecinct. Suddenly, they spot several teenagers smoking marijuana. Using eachapproach to consequentialist decision-making (ethical egoism, contractualism,and utilitarianism), explain how the officers’ choice not to pursue thematter is (or is not) ethical behavior.

According to Williams and Arrigo(2012), consequentialism actions are actions, laws, policies, etc. that are tothe degree that they only produce good or some form of utility.  “Actionsthemselves are neither inherently right nor inherently wrong; rather, moralworth attaches only to what decisions and actions bring about, not directly tothe decisions or actions themselves,’ (Williams & Arrigo, 2012, p.145).  In regards to the above scenario, the ethical egoist approach ofnot pursuing the matter would argue that pursuing the teens smoking would notbe an act of self-interest.  Ethical egoism behavior is driven by self-interestwhich is displayed as the officer chooses not to pursue the teens.

A Utilitarian approach to notpursuing the teens could be explained by utility.  The Utilitarianapproach suggests that actions are morally right if they produce the greatestamount of happiness for the greatest number of people.  According to theUtilitarian viewpoint, the officers choosing not to pursue the teens ultimatelyis justified because the teens are not affecting the happiness of others. The contractualism approach suggests that there is a form of contract orunderstanding between the individuals.  Perhaps the teens have somethingto hold over the police officer.  Regardless, the act is certainlyunethical behavior.

Williams, C. R., & Arrigo, B. A.(2012). Ethics, crime, and criminal justice (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle, NJ:Pearson Education, Inc.

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