Questions to ask concerning Ethical Issues.

Here are some sample questions.
They are designed to help us consider all the issues in an ethical dilemma.

  1. What are the right questions to ask?
  2. Who is involved?
    1. Are people directly affected.
    2. is their livelihood threatened
    3. is their health threatened
    4. is their well being threatened through stress etc.
    5. is their life threatened.
    6. are their living family members affected
      (e.g. is it a genetic scenario that has wide implications)
    7. will it affect those yet to be born (genetic issue / ecological issue)
  3. Will this...
    1. cause suffering
    2. invade privacy
    3. counter fundamental human rights
    4. does it further human knowledge or understanding
    5. bring benefit to individuals / groups / community / nation / race etc.
    6. does it damage the environment
    7. does it destroy something irreplaceable (e.g. archaeological artefact)
  4. If this affects individuals or groups (either adversely or favourably)
    1. Do they know
    2. Do they have a right to know
    3. Should they have a say in the decision
    4. Should their feelings be considered or be paramount?
    5. Should their thoughts be considered or be paramount?
  5. Does this endanger
    1. the human race
    2. an ethnic minority
    3. a power group
  6. Does this potential event
    1. Contravene the best concept of humanity
    2. Is it an expression of human virtue
    3. Is it and expression of human vice
    4. Is it against divine law
    5. Is it against human law
    6. Is it contrary to the principles of survival of the fittest
  7. How do I feel about this issue?
  8. How would my parents feel?
  9. What do I think?
  10. What would my parent’s think?

If you think a question is not relevant, then why is it not relevant, and is that a sufficient reason not to answer the question?

If you answer yes then perhaps you should go on to consider – how do we evaluate the risks, and the consequences, and then are they acceptable?