Given the interest that has been shown to ethical dilemmas on this blog I thought that people might like to sink their teeth into this one. Then again maybe nobody will want to touch this with a ten foot pole....yes, it's about paedophiles.
This hypothetical situation was one presented by Dr. Dave some years ago in one of his ethics seminars. The issue being discussed concerned people's experiences with the nature of their sexuality. It was suggested by our wise guru that some people don't choose their sexual orientation, rather they experience a process of discovery whereby they 'find' that they are straight, gay, etc. A reasonable enough claim given that we have all no doubt heard people discussing their sexuality as though it wasn't a choice before. Now, suppose someone goes through this kind of discovery about themselves and learns that they become turned on by watching children. Of course we will all agree that were this person to pursue the source of their arousal and commit some heinous act, thereby harming some poor child then we should lock them up and throw away the key.
But suppose that this person were to take a different course of action. We can imagine that instead of pursuing their lust they instead make efforts to keep away from areas such as schoolyards and playgrounds. We can even imagine them taking efforts to construct their life such that their career, residential address and so forth never require them to risk temptation, again by avoiding areas where children are abundant and vulnerable. We can even imagine that they are quite successful with this strategy.
The question is: should we think of this person as being a monster in the same way that we think of paedophiles who actually do go through with these terrible crimes?