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Ethical Perspective: the Philandering Parole Officer’ Case

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This paper is aimed at analyzing the case of the Philandering Parole Officer. The analysis approach uses the concept of hedonism to justify and critique the fact of the case. Even though hedonism supports the idea of seeking for pleasure and happiness, the idea of free will and utilitarianism is also highlighted. Hedonistic theory gives people the right to do what they want so long as it gives them pleasure and makes them happy. However, this aspect of free will is difficult to achieve in a world where we have to look into what has good or bad consequences.


In the case of Ken and Lisa, there is an ethical issue on both sides. By the time Lisa approached Ken, he was a responsible police officer who observed his duties effectively (Suzumura & Xu, 2003). Ken explains to Lisa the conditions of her husband’s parole based on the legal aspects and the duties of a police officer as stated in the law. Lisa comes with a hidden motive of influencing Ken to take her husband as part of his caseload. She uses her attractiveness and influence Ken into having sex with her so that he can free her husband (Mukerji, 2016). As Ken is infatuated and wants the sexual relationship to continue, he frees Lisa’s husband on parole. While Lisa considers the deal as complete, Ken wants the sexual relationship to continue and decides to blackmail Lisa whose husband is aware of the happening. The three people involved in this saga have exhibited various ethical issues, which can be analyzed in the concepts of hedonism (Baker, 2016).

Hedonistic Theory

The hedonistic theory is a school of thought, which posits that pleasure and happiness are essential things. They are the intrinsic aspects and the main objectives in human life. The theory posits that a person should maximize the pursuit of pleasure and happiness (Baker, 2016). The main objective in this context is to lessen pain and suffering. In the ethical realm, the hedonistic theory emphasizes on the fact that all people have the right to do everything within their capacity to gain the greatest pleasure. In this context, the argument is that the pleasure of every person should surpass the pain endured. The idea of hedonism can be useful in providing an analytical review of the ethical issues surrounding the philandering parole officer case (Mukerji, 2016).

Other Possibilities

One of the possibilities for Ken was to carry himself with dignity and respect for his job as a way of achieving pleasure and happiness. That way, Ken could have lessened his ethical problems. Protecting a job is one way of pursuing happiness (Reichlin, 2016). It is important to note that Ken loved his job and that he would have chosen his job against other things such as sexual pleasure. By refusing to have sex with Lisa, Ken could have protected his job as a way of pursuing happiness based on the hedonistic concepts. Economically, the job is more important compared to sexual pleasure. In a real sense, protecting the position of the police officer could have maximized his pleasure and happiness (Baker, 2016).

Another possibility that could lessen the ethical burden was to stop pursuing Lisa and providing the parole to her husband. In the context of hedonism, the pursuit of pleasure and happiness vary and can depend on priorities. After releasing Lisa’s husband, Ken could have realized that his job was at stake. He could let the sexual pleasure go for the sake of job opportunity, which provides economic benefits (Suzumura & Xu, 2003). The job had a direct influence on Ken’s family, and their happiness would have increased his own pleasure and happiness.

Another possibility that would have increased ethical burden was for Lisa’s husband to report the affairs of Ken with Lisa. It could make the situation even worse. It could have been more damaging for him, as the main reason for his release was that Ken had an affair with his wife (Reichlin, 2016). In the context of hedonism, the three could have been culpable of conspiracy. This could increase their ethical burden and hence legal issues.

Did Ken Violate Personal or Professional Code of Ethics?

Ken did not violate the personal code of ethics when he first agreed to help Lisa. Based on hedonistic thought, Ken was already in an intimate relationship with Lisa. This was a part of his pleasure and happiness. By agreeing to help, he was only doing that to maintain the source of her happiness. In this context, sex is the pleasure that Ken gets from Lisa and that being close to her makes him happy (Mukerji, 2016). To maximize this happiness, hedonists argue that he does everything possible to stay close to the source of happiness who is Lisa. Therefore, he has agreed to help Lisa, perhaps to bring her closer.

However, Ken violated the professional code of ethics. In terms of hedonism, Ken paid little or no attention to the professional code of ethics (Suzumura & Xu, 2003). Ken and Lisa had a drink and numerous instances of intimacy as a way of having pleasure and happiness, Ken could not have agreed to engage in something that directly touched his job as a police officer. He did not think of the pleasure and happiness, which his job could give to him by upholding ethical standards necessary for his profession (Baker, 2016). Comparing the sexual pleasure and economic pleasure the job would earn, Ken could have chosen the latter instead of the former.

Desire of Being Helpful

Ken was willing to help Lisa and her husband from the beginning. However, his desire to assist in the case of Lisa made him succumb to the planned con by Lisa and his husband (Reichlin, 2016). The two conspired to use Ken by luring him into having sex with Lisa so that her husband could be free. In this case, the idea of hedonism that people must pursue their happiness is compromised. Ken pursued sex to have pleasure without looking into other issues. The manner in which he got into the trap shows that we cannot do things on free will (Baker, 2016). Certain things such as professional ethics matter and they must be considered before making hedonistic decisions.

Was the Case an Elaborate Con from the Beginning?

The philandering case was a planned con from the beginning. Just like the police officer, Lisa and her husband also wanted to pursue pleasure and happiness. It was Lisa’s desire to have her husband out of prison. She was ready to do anything to ensure that her husband gets out of prison. On the other hand, her husband also had a desire to be free from prison and continue with drug traffic (Mukerji, 2016). As a result, they had to come up with a plan to ensure they achieve their desires. Without knowing and driven by the lust for Lisa, Ken innocently became a victim.

Intention of Ken

At first, Ken acted in good faith during their first encounter with Lisa. Afterward, Ken was not acting in good faith by helping the husband of Lisa (Suzumura & Xu, 2003). The only reason he helped Lisa was to continue pursuing his sexual desire. The strong desire for sexual pleasure made him end up blackmailing Lisa into the affair. He was abusing the discretion given to the police by the law through the blackmail. In this context, the utilitarian would support him by saying he achieved his sexual desires through wrong means (Baker, 2016).


Baker, K. (2016). The consequences of accepting consequentialism. Philosophy Now, 115(1), 38-40.

Mukerji, N. (2016). The case against consequentialism reconsidered: Consequentialism and Its Variants. Theory and Decision Library, 51(1), 87-180.

Reichlin, M. (2016). Hume and utilitarianism: Another look at an age-old question. Journal of Scottish Philosophy, 14(1), 1-20. Web.

Suzumura, K., & Xu, Y. (2003). Consequences, opportunities, and generalized consequentialism and non-consequentialism. Journal of Economic Theory, 111(2), 293-304. Web.

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