The value of good and evil is the subject of many studies and discussions since early antiquity. Philosophers have repeatedly delved into the analysis of these issues, seeking truth and answers to questions about good and evil. Between good and evil, we can clearly notice significant and very important differences, but for some, it seems that the border between them is indistinct, even blurred and definitely hard to define. In the theodicy, or philosophy of God, evil is nonbeing, it does not exist, it is a disruption of the state of good. God, as the Absolute, Logos, or Reason, wants people to live and stay in the state of good. The similar teachings were introduced by St. Augustine which focused on the faith, and only in faith in the Lord we can choose the right path. Thomas Aquinas however showed a different path, a path through conscience and reasoning. Aquinas stressed out that those virtues are a gift from god, but it is man who can choose between right or wrong. But is it always that simple?
Lets look at our Ethical Dilemma #3:
An office worker has had a record of frequent absence. He has used all his vacation and sick-leave days, and has frequently requested additional leave without pay. His supervisor and co-workers have expressed great frustration because his absenteeism has caused bottlenecks in paperwork, created low morale in the office, and required others to do his work in addition to their own. However, the individual believes he is entitled to take his earned time and additional time off without pay. Is he right?
This dilemma is problematic since effects other people and creates a low morale in the office. Although the office worker is entitled to sick-leave and vacation days, he isnt entitled to additional days off.The frequent absenteeism from work is unacceptable whether he requests additional time off with or without pay. This employee needs to be mindful that when he signed his work contract he was being bind into working and a specified amount of sick & vacation days. Any extra days he was given was a plus with a display of gratitude and good ethics from the company as the company couldve declined his extra days request.
The employee needs to be more considerate and realize that his frequent absenteeism is affecting the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the work production within the company. Due to his frequent absenteeism other employees and management may begin to think that he isnt reliable, causes the work flow and production to be inefficient and slows down the overall productivity within the office. If the employer has an extreme condition which results in his frequent absenteeism then considerations and measures can be put in place for staff to work around it. As sometimes we as humans are faced with obstacles and challenges in life from sickness to family problems and personal problems. This dilemma shows that the office worker is focusing only on himself and what makes him happy without regard to his office team. This example clearly shows consequentialist theory, where ends justifies the means, and poor work ethics. St. Augustine would probably advise him to turn into God and faith alone.
According to St. Augustine, evil acts are because we have no faith and good deeds are the touch of God. Aquinas, however believed that the Natural Law the divine law as written in the heart of man can be discovered by reason and cultivated by conscience.(Ruggiero, 2012, p.147). Aquinas would reason with the office workers conscience and advise him to do the right thing. St. Augustine would blame office workers behavior on temptations and his disconnect with God. The difference between Augustine and Aquinas. Augustine leaves us with the impression that when you do evil or wrong things youre supposed to continuously feel guilty and that theres no going back from a wrong deed. On the other hand Aquinas, shows us that yes we do wrong but you dont have to live your life consumed with the guilt and you can change things around, if you choose to.
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