A Hygienist Had Covid. Shouldn’t My Dentist Have Told Me?


You’re not obliged to suggest an acquaintance for a job simply because he asks. And for those who do, you shouldn’t disguise faults related to that job. But your resistance to recommending this individual doesn’t appear to be that you just suppose he wouldn’t do an excellent job; it’s that you just disapprove of his conduct throughout the pandemic.

As an empirical matter, although, there’s cause to doubt that individuals’s character traits are “world” — that the cautious accountant is a cautious driver, that the faithless partner is a disloyal buddy, that the efficient product supervisor will share your smart considerations about pointless journey and socializing. So sure, that’s a giant logical leap.

Still, you’re entitled to say no to suggest him since you suppose that he didn’t show a priority for the widespread good; as an moral matter, you possibly can deny a favor to somebody who, in your view, lacks an necessary advantage. What you possibly can’t do is say you’ll suggest him after which not accomplish that.

I’m in a high-risk group, eligible for a Covid vaccination in each the state I stay in and a neighboring state. My state is doing a poor job of distributing vaccines, and I’ve didn’t get an appointment. But the neighboring state has a terrific system. A buddy who lives there bought me an appointment. I do know that they don’t ask on your deal with once you arrive on your appointment, which means that they’re not overly involved about residency, and my buddy didn’t misrepresent me when signing me up. Am I proper to really feel a twinge of guilt all the identical? Name Withheld

Different states have completely different approaches. Our collective aim, as a nation, is to get as many individuals vaccinated — particularly these at explicit danger — as shortly as we will. But as a result of states are allotted vaccines on the premise of their inhabitants, some are taking a agency line, proscribing vaccinations to those that stay or work there; they could require documentation or at the very least self-attestation to this impact. Other state officers appear OK with letting guests within the line. So lengthy as you don’t misrepresent your self at any level, you possibly can proceed with a simple conscience.


Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at N.Y.U. His books embrace “Cosmopolitanism,” “The Honor Code” and “The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity.” To submit a question: Send an electronic mail to ethicist@nytimes.com; or ship mail to The Ethicist, The New York Times Magazine, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018. (Include a daytime cellphone quantity.)



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