The Ethical Dilemma About Attending Ethics

I had no idea that by taking an Ethic’s class I would somehow be initiating real life experiences that would require me to make ethical choices.  Apparently I was asking for these experiences.  Lets just dive in and discuss a decision I am in the middle of making right now.

Situation:  My 300 level Humanities of Islam class is taking a class field trip to BYU’s Art Museum to take a look at a large and rare collection of Islamic art.  The bus will leave at 6:30am and arrive back in Rexburg at 8:00pm.  On the same day as this trip I have an important lecture about the Family: A Proclamation to the World as it relates to morality and religion, in my Ethic’s class.

Choices:  Bro. Andersen of my Islam class has spent hundreds of dollars from the department’s budget so that students will have the opportunity to see these rare pieces of art.  His feelings will be hurt by students not attending, and the tithing dollars that constitute their budget will be wasted.  On the other hand, this discussion in Ethics class will be a substantial one which would be very beneficial for me to hear.

Let’s weight these.  I can attend the field trip and not disappoint my teacher, earn a full grade on the trip assignment, and get to see a rare collection of Islamic art.  Or, I can go to ethics class, take part in a discussion that deeply affects me, and learn more about morality and religion as it pertains to the Church.

I have to make an ethical choice in this matter.  I must choose between two things that are both good.  The initial way my mind began weighing these separate choices was in terms of emotions.  I felt bad missing Islam because I didn’t want to disappoint the teacher, and I felt uneasy knowing tithing funds was paying for the bus and trip and that those funds were being wasted by lack of attendance.  I also felt excited at the prospect of enlightenment and good discussion that is bound to come out of my Ethics class discussion.  I decided that I would not make my choice based on these specific emotions.

We have discussed Hedonism in Ethics recently, so I decided to evaluate my choice based on Hedonist ideals.  Which choice was more instrumental in bringing me the most pleasure and the least amount of pain.  A quick look back at the situation reminds me that I will be on a bus for 8 hours total if I make the day trip to Provo.  This certainly is the definition of misery.  Is attending Ethics or this field trip more instrumental in bringing me pleasure?  I would have to say that the Hedonist in me would decide that missing 8 hours of bus rides would be the most pleasurable.

I turn to Egoism now.  Egoism is founded on the idea that the best choices to make are the ones that benefit the individual.  My self-interest is therefore my greatest concern.  What is my self-interest in the classes and which interest weights more on my mind?  It would be a good experience to see Islamic art because it is difficult to find good collections.  Attending Ethics would be good as well because I want to learn more about morality and religion.  If my well-being is being served, I think I would have to choose Ethics.  I think that I gain more by attending that class than going on the field trip.


DECISION 2012:  I skipped the field trip and got to sleep in.  I went to my Ethics class and learned about the metaphysical realities that are discussed in the Family Proclamation.  It was definitely worth it.  And I don’t regret missing a collective 8 hours of bus riding either.