i saw a skit yesterday that made me think a little about the ethics part in law class. professor gave the hypothetical that you go to macy’s and buy a $120 shirt that is on sale at $80. the clerk swipes it through the computer and it says $60. he asked who in the class would say anything. since most of the class is asian, most of the class wouldn’t have said anything and would have just taken it at a better price. then he changed it to say it was some small independent store. or if you knew the clerk. or if you knew the clerk would get fired if he didn’t find this problem. it’s interesting how small details can change the results.

even things we think of as universal truth can also be affected by this. professor said when he first came to very asian california, he thought that everyone would say that lying is bad. he pointed at an immigrant student and asked if she thought lying was bad. and she said lying is good. apparently the student was a vietnam refugee and the only way that she and her family survived was by lying. so professor had an awkward silence and then said “yes, very good reason. lying is good.”

so how do we solve these questions? we need some discrete math to give some nice equation. i just want to plug and chug and get a yes or no. or we can brute force this and prepare for every possibility.