SSC111e The Moral Compass Essay


Question 1
With reference to the above scenario, define the concept of extra-marital affairs and explain in detail if Connie’s affair is morally justified. In your answer, you should use a Confucian and Kantian framework.
Question 2
Edward and Connie are in a loving marriage but both of them have betrayed each other’s trust and have committed moral wrongdoing. Compare and contrast their actions and assess whether Edward or Connie have committed a greater moral wrongdoing or both are equally at fault. In your assessment, you should use a utilitarian framework.


Question (a)

Singapore ranks among the top positions in terms of the number of students who had experienced one of bullying or the other in their schools or other kinds of educational institutions. As a matter of fact, as per a statistics of 2017, more than 18.3% of the school students confessed that have been the victims of bullying (The Independent, 2017). A similar incident happened in St Hilda’s Secondary School (SHSS) where a group of boys were physically assaulting a boy and even though there was an adult who could have intervened and saved the boy he just acted as a bystander and did not bother to stop the fight (The Independent, 2017).

The school tried to support the action of the adult member of the school by saying that the adult was an intern of the school and thus he did not have the desired kind of authority to intervene in the fight (Yahoo! News, 2017). However, when the moral and ethical concept of social justice is taken into effective consideration it becomes apparent that the adult should have intervened (Harcourt, 2015). For example, the concept of social justice explicitly states that an individual needs to act or take the desired as well as required kind of action when he or she sees that the rights of the other individuals are being misappropriated (Cohen, 2018). This becomes important from the viewpoint of the concept that all human beings have the same kind of rights and it is the responsibility of not only the governing authorities but also the human beings to ensure that all human beings are being able to have access the same kind of rights and justice is being provided to them (Cohen, 2018). This concept when applied to the case under discussion makes it clear that the adult should have intervened in the matter and ensured that justice is being meted out to the boy who was physically assaulted by the group.

The precepts of the “Harm principle” also become important to note in this regard which could have helped the adult in the right kind of manner. The theory clearly states that human beings have the right to interfere in the matter of other individuals and at the same time take the law in their hands if it means for sake of preventing harm or evil to others (Lombardi, Miyagishima & Veneziani, 2016). Thus, the intervention of the adult in the incident as per the terms of this particular would have been in perfect synchronicity with this theory and would have at the same time helped the boy who was getting physically assaulted from the trauma.

I am of the viewpoint that the adult should have intervened in the incident under discussion here and also tried to save the boy from the group which was assaulting him. Furthermore, such an action on the part of the adult would have been not only supported by the various moral as well as ethical theories but also would have helped the boy who was the victim in a significant manner. Thus, regardless of the fact that he was an intern in the school or not when he saw that the group was assaulting the boy he should have intervened to save the fight and not waited for the school authorities to take action.

Question (b)

The constitutions as well as the legislations of the major nations of the world of the present times have been designed taking into effective consideration the concepts of “liberty, equality and fraternity” (Birchley, 2018). It is pertinent to note that the concepts of “liberty, equality and fraternity” formed the lacuna of the French Revolution of 1789 and since then these concepts have gained unprecedented prominence (Saunders, 2016). Furthermore, the United Nations at the same time tries to ensure the fact that these rights of the human beings are safeguarded (Birchley, 2018). In addition to this, it is seen that volumes of work have been written on these concepts so that the individuals are not aware of the fact that they have posses these rights but at the same time they realize the importance of these concepts.

The “Harm principle” propounded by John Stuart Mill in his famous “On Liberty” in the year 1859 (Saunders, 2016). The primary argument of Mill in the work under discussion here was the fact that “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others” (Saunders, 2016). In addition to this, the precepts of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” of 1789 of the French government are important to note in this regard. The declaration states that “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law” (Saunders, 2016). It is pertinent to note that prior to the publication of this work there have been lots of arguments regarding the manner in which power should be used and also the purposes for which it is justified to use power. However, the work of Mill under discussion here explicitly states that the use of power is completely justified if it is for the sake of the removal of evil or for that for the purpose of helping an individual to get justice in the society (Min, 2016).

This particular concept becomes an important one from the perspective of the case under discussion here wherein an adult seeing that a boy was being physically assaulted by a group of boys within the school premises did not intervene in the matter. It is true that within the framework of the modern day world the individuals have only limited power in the society and as such they should not intervene in the affairs in the other individuals (Kumashiro, 2015). However, at the same time, it needs to be said that if the intervention of an individual can help in saving a victim from the physical violence and its related trauma then it becomes the individual’s moral as well as ethical responsibility to intervene in the matter (Thompson, 2016). The use of power as well as the process of intervention in such matters is completely justified. However, at the same time, it needs to be said that this is not the general scenario which is seen in the modern day world and this has given rise to the diverse kinds of bullying that has became one of the most common evils that the world is facing at the current moment (Mason, 2018).

The adult by not intervening in the incident unknowingly became a bystander to the bullying action which was being performed (Sin, 2017). It is pertinent to note in this regard that the bystanders to the various acts of bullying are equally responsible for the bullying act which is taking place as the perpetrators of the actual bullying action (Midgett et al., 2015). Thus, in this regard it can be said that the action of the adult was not justified and that his active intervention in the matter would have helped the boy who was the victim of the act of bullying which was taking place in the school premises.

In the incident under discussion here there was clearly not on only a violation of the rights of the boy but also there was a violation of the individual liberty of the boy as well. For example, the national governments of the diverse countries of the world and also the United Nations itself uphold liberty as one of the major fundamental rights of the individuals (Midgett et al., 2017). Furthermore, this particular right is being provided to all the human beings regardless of their gender, social status, financial status and other credentials so that they are being able to fulfill the major goals as well as the psychosocial goals of their lives (Thornberg & W?nstr?m, 2017). Thus, it can be said that in the incident under discussion here there was a violation of the fundamental right of liberty of the boy who was the victim of the act of physical assault. Moreover, the adult by not intervening in the affair not only failed to perform his duty to safeguard the liberty of the boy but at the same time failed to use power for the right purpose. The effective use of power, in this regard, could have been completely justified and would have been completely justified and also have been for a very noble cause.

The discussion clearly indicates that the action of the adult in the incident under discussion was not right both morally as well as ethically. It can be said that the adult by intervening in the affair not only failed to perform the action that was required of him but at the same time facilitated the process of bullying which was being performed by the group of boys within the school premises.


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Cohen, A. J. (2018). Toleration and Freedom from Harm: Liberalism Reconceived. Routledge.

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Kumashiro, K. K. (2015). Against common sense: Teaching and learning toward social justice. Routledge.

Lombardi, M., Miyagishima, K., & Veneziani, R. (2016). Liberal egalitarianism and the Harm Principle. The Economic Journal, 126(597), 2173-2196.

Mason, D. (2018). Social justice and political change: Public opinion in capitalist and post-communist states. Routledge.

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Midgett, A., Doumas, D., Trull, R., & Johnston, A. D. (2017). A Randomized Controlled Study Evaluating a Brief, Bystander Bullying Intervention with Junior High School Students. Journal of School Counseling, 15(9), n9.

Min, J. (2016). On the Harm Principle in Anglo-American Criminal Laws: And Compared with Social Harmfulness Principle. Journal of Comparative Law, 4, 005.

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Sin, Y. (2017, August 20). Singapore has third highest rate of bullying globally: Study. The Straits Times. Retrieved from education/republic-has-third-highest-rate-of-bullying-globally

Students from St Hilda’s Secondary School fighting in the classroom as an adult looks on. (2017, September 14). Yahoo! News. Retrieved from

Thompson, N. (2016). Anti-discriminatory practice: Equality, diversity and social justice. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Thornberg, R., & W?nstr?m, L. (2017). School bullying and victimization and their associations with classroom prevalence of bystander responses, individual tendency of blaming the victim, and gender: A multi-level analysis. In The World Anti-Bullying Forum, Stockholm, Sweden, May 7–9, 2017.

Video of St Hilda’s students fighting in class as adult looks on goes viral. (2017, September 14). The Independent. Retrieved from

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