Breaking a promise to a friend or telling the truth to authorities: which is more ethical?

I would keep my promise and refuse to hand him over to the authorities because I am convinced that my law-abiding friend does not deserve to be sent to the concentration camps. Using common sense, I believe that in a situation involving two such scenarios, keeping a promise, which is correct based on previous events, would be the best course of action. Because both actions produce the same amount of intrinsic goodness, keeping the promise would be the moral obligation and the best option. The promisor-promisee relationship between my friend and I is morally significant and thus being the basis of what referred to as the “prima facie duty.” This type of duty, which is also known as “conditional duty”, has an obligation which is tied to virtues. Therefore, I would choose to keep the promise because it overrides the moral obligation of surrendering my friend to the authorities.

Fidelity, which is Ross’s prima facie duty that stems from one’s previous actions, would greatly guide my actions. My friend being a law abiding citizen, I would feel to be morally right in hiding him. Once I surrender my friend, he will end up suffering in the camps and this would make me feel guilty, despite having obeyed the authorities. Moreover, Beneficence, which is the duty of doing good to others so as to foster moral goodness and happiness, would also take precedence in influencing my decision to keep the promise with my friend. This duty is grounded on the fact that there are other people whose condition we can make better in respect of virtue.

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