Business Ethics 1
By: Velissa Barr
BUS670: Legal Environment (MFH1205A)
Instructor: Troy Tureau
February 2, 2012
Business Ethics 2
Three common characteristics of poor decision making are the following errors in logic: appeals to pity, ad hominem arguments, and arguments from authority. Appeals to pity do not focus on the victim and try to create pity for a victim in order to elicit a certain result. However, these appeals to pity frequently fail to adequately link the lobbied-for action with the victim’s predicament. That someone is in a bad situation is not a reason to act unless that action would remedy the victim. Moreover, it is not a reason to act if that action would harm a person who was not responsible for the victim’s predicament. Therefore, while an ethical decision-maker should be compassionate, he should not have his decisions dictated by pity.
Another characteristic of poor decision making is listening to the ad hominem attack. Ad hominem attacks attack the character of a person rather the substance of their argument. In an election year, ad hominem attacks are very common; whether Obama had a Hawaiian birth certificate (though no one contested that his mother was an American, and, therefore, even had he been born abroad he would have been a natural-born American citizen) and how many wives a candidate like Gingrich has had become greater issues than their positions on foreign and domestic policy.
Allowing personal feelings about the person making the argument to impact someone’s assessment of the argument is an element in poor decision making. Finally, listening to argument from authority is another...