Do Unto Others: Introduction (02:50)
As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart noted, the difficulty of ethics lies in the confusion between what is legally permissible and what is morally right. "Ethics in America" will explore a variety of ethical dilemmas and the decision making involved. "Do Unto Others" will examine the duty each human being has to those around them.
Ethics of Cheating on Exams (12:34)
Law professor Charles Ogletree poses an ethical dilemma about whether or not to turn in Robert, a student who cheated on the Harvard entrance exam, to experts from a variety of fields and disciplines. Utilitarian and categorical moral philosophies are explored. The idea that there is a social contract, which is damaged when cheating occurs, is proposed and debated.
Ethics of Extramarital Affairs (09:45)
In another hypothetical scenario, Robert is having an affair, and the experts, including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and journalist Ellen Goodman, must decide if they would confront Robert and if they would tell his wife. Their moral compasses are further tested when the scenario is complicated by Robert's wife deciding to have a child and the wife now being the participants' daughter. At each step, the experts attempt to discern the difference between doing what is right and doing what leads to the greatest positive outcome.
Ethics of Betraying Another's Trust (06:00)
The hypothetical scenario of Robert's affair becomes ethically murkier when it is revealed that he is dating an underage teenager who revealed the fact in confidence. The experts debate the practical and moral implications of the situation. Finally, they touch on the bonds between people that potentially supersede personal happiness.
Ethics of Abuse Intervention (06:30)
The next scenario the experts must wrestle with is their witnessing of a child being struck in a supermarket and whether they confront the mother or not. The discussion that follows, attempts to define the difference between child abuse and spanking. Whereas some of the experts argue that helping the child requires inactivity, others argue for talking with the parent to determine root causes of the issue, and still others argue that there is a special responsibility to intervene when helpless members of society are threatened.
Ethics of Charity (13:31)
In this segment, Professor Charles Ogletree asks the experts to consider how much help they would be willing to provide to a homeless person. Debates erupt over the purpose of charity and the morality of forcing your values on someone else. Throughout, they explore the responsibility of the individual when society fails to provide for its members.
Ethics of Eviction of Homeless (05:32)
The final scenario sees an apartment tenant board preparing to call the police on a homeless woman who has taken up residence in the nearby alley. The issues facing the experts include whether the police should have such authority, what is to be done to help the woman, and what responsibility society has to helping those incapable of helping themselves. Host Fred Friendly introduces viewers to next episode's ethical dilemma: a life-and-death verdict in a murder trial.
Do Unto Others: Credits (01:04)
Do Unto Others: Credits
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