Tuesday, March 19, 2013

National Ethics Awareness Month - 2013

By Terry Orr

What does ethics mean to you?

For me, it has nearly always been doing the right thing.  Like most of us we do our best - but sometimes we miss the mark.  While researching this topic, looking for a different perspective and perhaps finding better insight and understanding of ethics.

Santa Clara University, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics (see link below) article - “What is Ethics?” open my eyes and broaden my personal understanding.  The following excerpt provides a summary of this article.

  • Ethics is two things. First, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons.
  • Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards. As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one's standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Ethics also means, then, the continuous effort of studying our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based.

The other topic to broaden our understanding is the different types of Ethics, such as: 
  • Bioethics;
  • Business; 
  • Government; 
  • Internet;
  • Environmental; 
  • Global; 
  • Immigration; 
  • Legal; 
  • Media; 
  • Religious; 
  • Technology; and
  • Others.

What are your thoughts on Ethics?

References and Links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics (interesting discussion Descriptive ethics)

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