Randy Cohen's visit to Scarsdale has been postponed until Thursday night November 29 at 7:30 pm!
The line between good and evil, polite and rude, selfish and self-serving has never been murkier. You can barely make it through a day without jockeying for a parking space, evading an intrusive “friend” or making a joke that was perceived as a snub. No one knows better how to sail through these choppy waters than ethicist and author Randy Cohen. He’s coming to the Scarsdale Library to discuss his new book, “Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything,” on Thursday November 1 at 7:30 pm.
In order to prime the pump for his visit, we asked Cohen if we could pose some ethical dilemmas on Scarsdale10583.com and discuss the answers during his visit to the library. He suggested we take one question from his book and also come up with our own suburban dilemma. So here are two ethical questions that Cohen will review at the library: In the interim, please share your thoughts on these questions in the comments section below:
Here’s a dilemma posed in Cohen’s new book:
Marry and Die in Haste:
Four months after he remarried, my father died in an accident. During his brief second marriage, he often told family and friends, “What’s mine is mine, and what’s her is hers,” indicating that he wanted his estate to go to me and my brother, as stipulated in his will. (My mother died from cancer about five years ago.) But New York law allows a spouse to claim about one-third of that, and his widow intends to, despite my father’s wishes, although she has resources of her own. This is legal, but is it ethical?
And here’s a dilemma posed by the mother of a Scarsdale teen:
Scared to Snitch?
As far as I knew, my 14 year-old-daughter, a freshman in high school was with four friends at a girlfriend’s home one Saturday night. At 12:30 am she called and asked if we would extend her curfew by a half hour so that she and her friends could finish watching a movie. Having no reason to question her veracity, and pleased that she asked me ahead of time, I said yes. She arrived home on time. Several days later I ran into an acquaintance who mentioned how funny it was that her 17 year-old-son had seen my daughter and her group at a big party that Saturday night, hosted by a senior boy. My friend assumed I knew where my daughter was and I let her continue to believe that. Furious I had been so naïve, I confronted my daughter about this deception and she readily admitted that she and her friends all lied to their parents in order to be able to go to this party.
My question: Should I let her friends’ parents know that their daughters were at an upper classman’s party Saturday night? If the other girls also lied to their parents, should I let their folks know? Though I don’t want my daughter to be considered a “tattle tale” “ and I don’t want her to be uncomfortable telling me the truth in the future, do I have an obligation to call them? What’s the right thing to do?
Post your opinions in the comments section below and see what Cohen has to say at the Scarsdale Library on Thursday night November 1 at 7:30 pm.