A question of Ethics

I have a question that involves ethics.

The situation

If you know someone is stealing, the best thing in your mind is to be ethical and tell the truth. But what if your jobis on the line, is it un-ethical on your part to hold the truth from your employer?

Sincerly yours

PS: I’m just getting into philosophy and I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster, but it’s an amazing ride and there was never a line up to get on this ride. :smiley:

ethics and laws are in place to preserve the wealth and position of the wealthy and the powerful, but it’s done in such a round about way that it becomes circumstancial…so, change your circumstance, serve yourself, look after your own interest to the best of your ability. If ethics and law, and the enforcement thereof overlap your best interests, only then would I say do the ethical thing. The more effort you put into serving yourself and subverting law and ethics you’ll find the less they will overlap.

Thanks for answering.

Well, since I’m a noncognitivist, I don’t think “Stealing is wrong” is meaningful. It just expresses an attitude, like writing the name of the act with exclamation marks attached to it, “Stealing!!” We can emotively Boooo! or Yay! (Thumbs up!) actions, and describe them in naturalistic terms, but adding to them that they are beyond those things GOOD or BAD is nonsense. Think about that and you’ll know what to do.

act in the best interest of humanity

I would suggest it would be moral rather than ethical to act according to an arbitrary standard of justice. To act ethically would require a much more complex response.

I couldn’t agree more. Although I might not be much of a helping hand to you, because stealing doesn’t really mean anything to me. It’s not wrong in my opinion.

Is a sunset really beautiful, or is it just some random occurrence with an emotion or feeling attached to it? What I’m trying to say is that you apply meaning to random events, although in reality they have no actual meaning independent of whatever opinion you may have about it.

It just “is what it is” for lack of something clever to say. Stealing isn’t really stealing, it’s nothing. Look at how society is brainwashing you my friend.

A better word for stealing, is “acquiring” IMO

In a consequentialist, you’d have to weigh which path has the best results. Losing your job is probably not an optimal result, so you should probably stay silent.

In a deontological system, you’d have to turn the thief in.

In a virtue system, you’d have to examine who is doing the stealing, who is being stolen from, as well as how you and your job relate to that system. (So the scenario as presented has insufficient information)

office politics = lose/lose situation.

Do you want to be “good” or do you want to keep your job?

There is a choice there, evidently. It’s unethical to remain silent of that is what your own moral code dictates. No one else can answer for you.

Morality isn’t just for the easy cases.

Mebbe you should rethink your morality, if it’s not working for you.

Ormebbe you should rethink your job.

This implies that an attitude is not meaningful. I am guessing that you probably think that anything meaningful must have a T/F value. I just wanted to say that I disagree with that.


So the situation is, either I keep quiet and keep my job, or grass the thief up and lose my job? Well, for me it depends on the particulars. For example, if the stuff being nicked is relatively unimportant (eg chocolate bars) then I’d keep quiet, but if there was danger involved (eg it was material for a dirty bomb) then I’d probably grass.

I don’t agree with this. It might be true in some circumstances, but it isn’t general.

Ethics has nothing to do with telling the truth…Honesty and being an essshole has a lot to do with telling the truth… Let me tell you… There are other ways of dealing with every situation apart from becoming the company snitch… Of course, if some one will steal, they will lie to cover it, and if you threaten them, then you might be pinned with the crime… But don’t think of ethics as at all hypothetical, or rational… Ethic flows out of our emotional attachment to people, and if we care more for the one injured than the one injuring the path is clear…
And the line is to get off…Everybody wants to get off…

I have to assume that the person is not stealing from you. I assume that he is stealing at work from the employer.

Is that in your job description? Are you ‘security’? Did anyone ask you a question? Being ‘honest’ is not necessarily a ‘proactive’ thing. Perhaps waiting for (or if) someone questions you about the ‘theft’ before following your nature (whatever it may be!), being honest, is the best course. If no-one asks you a question, do you owe anyone an ‘answer’? Who can fault you for ‘doing your job’ and no more? You aren’t (I assume) security…

How so? Are you being questioned? Threatened? Accused?

Again, is your job title ‘narc on your fellow employees’? Do you know what happens to ‘stoolies’?
I have found that it pays to mind your own business as much as possible.
I’m sure that you will do the ‘right’ thing at the appropriate moment, as you always do.

I don’t know about ethics, but a quote by F.W. Robertson might be relevent;
“Say what you know to be true, do what you know to be right, and leave with faith and patience the consequences to god.”

“Nameless” you make a great pointtt.