In our daily lives, we are faced with certain issues that call for the right judgment despite being in an ambivalent state. Such judgments call for the integration of our acquired values and virtues in life. In my paper, I will look at a case in which I had to a critical decision that would threaten the close ties with my friends in high school for doing the right thing regarding academic integrity.
Nicomachean ethics was a contribution of Aristotle in which he delved into the issue of virtue as well as being a virtuous person. Virtue is all about character and what is used to judge on whether a person is good or bad. According to him, for one to be good, the guide of actions should always be directed towards being good. The act of being good should be made a habit so that it shapes the character of an individual. In one of my life experiences in high school, I found myself in a dilemma.
I was in the principal’s office with my two friends and thoughts crisscrossed my mind wondering whether I was doing a mistake in this. The principal adjusted his glasses, cleared his throat and asked us why we were there. I hesitantly told him that it was a case of plagiarism. I knew that my report would put one of my friends in trouble, but I was torn between doing the right thing and sparing him for the purpose of friendship. John was one of brightest students in my class with the potential of achieving the best grades. He had been my friend for a long time, and I enjoyed his company especially in the analysis of the laboratory reports.
In one of the assignments that we had done, he had done it with a lot of ease without the help of any other group member. To me, the assignment made me work day and night looking for the relevant materials to complete it on time. I even had to make consultations from friends, who, unfortunately, were stuck too. It was a shock that John had completed the assignment within the first two days. I happened to go through the assignment before the submission date. What I read was suspicious and to an extent too good to be his. We had all spent hours to come up with something substantive. Later on, it dawned on me that I had gone through a similar paper on the internet. He had copied and pasted everything from the site.
Naturally, I am an empathetic person who is always loyal to friends. I had opted to keep the issue as a secret between me and my chain of friends, but something was pushing me to take this to a whole new level. When I approached John on the issue, he was very defensive and refused to discuss the issue with me. I had proposed to him to redo the assignment and use his knowledge to come up a plagiarism free paper. However, he dismissed me claiming that the paper was his, and he had uploaded it on the internet. Upon insisting on a redo, he became angry accusing me of ridiculous claims Spinoza opposed the idea that the suspension of judgment is free will (Spinoza, Proposition 49, page 637). The suspension implies the inadequate perception of the thing at hand. It is from this that I had to act, having sufficient proof that academic integrity had been breached. I, therefore, had to act and avoid the suspension of judgment for there was solid proof to back up my claims.
The decision to make this report can be considered to be driven by what Aristotle was considering to be the drive of our happiness which is THE REASON (Aristotle, Chapter 7, page 279). The best happiness was the one connected to the best virtue. I was, therefore, being driven by this urge because keeping quiet was not the best virtue in this case. Before opting for the option to report him, I had consulted widely with friends, parents, and teachers who all gave me different suggestions. I had never before been a confrontational person and had always been avoiding to judge others because I also make mistakes. Sometimes back, I had stood in the face of injustice on the sidelines, hoping that someone will step forward. Regarding this case, however, was a blatant one and the principal had just spoken to us about the importance of the honor code. This code would obviously be relegated to a wasted and bankrupt phrase it failed to be honored in this office. It was obvious that if we ignored this as students, the pressure to perform as well as the school would turn out to be a charade.
Getting the principal into the topic of discomfort for our case was not an easy thing. I had to get him prepared for the shock by talking of moral dilemmas that he had previously discussed. Personally, I have been valuing honesty and considering it as a very important virtue. I always operated on the principle of approaching any challenge at hand with high levels of integrity and make the right choices. I had to stick to my way of handling issues for consistency. Epictetus had argued that is important to have certain patterns of character that describe somebody when alone and among people (Epictetus, Chapter 33, page 347).
John had plagiarized the assignment, and his grade would affect ours. The plagiarism would also affect the school and himself too. Therefore, we had to make this important decision.
When the discussion with our principal came to an end, John was found guilty. He was lucky not to have faced any disciplinary action but was reprimanded for making apologies to all of us. After the apology, I also felt the urge to apologize. Swallowing my pride, I told him that sorry for even though we had done the right thing; it did not feel that way.