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Ethics

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Ethics are everywhere. Essentially, every move that people make is somehow driven by an ethical motive. The definition of ethics by Merriam-Webster is a set of moral issues or aspects. The word ethics is actually the plural version of the word ethic. Ethic can be described as a set of principles that one lives by. Ethics and morality are tightly related. Ethics is also known as moral philosophy and is a sect of philosophy that studies the vacillation between good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust. The word ethic is used to describe something good, such as a person who works hard, arrives on time, and is motivated is often described as someone with a good work ethic.

The technicality of defining ethics can get complicated. It is a philosophical debate, which means that there is no clear definition, no black and white. Philosophical debates are always up for personal interpretation. However, society does interpret and enforce a code of ethics. For example, the legal system defines for society what they believe is best for the people. This is acted out by laws, rules, and regulations that tell people what is right and wrong. Not every decision or act that someone commits breaks an actual criminal law, but it may cross an ethical barrier otherwise known as a moral line.

Ethics are what drive society. They tell people consciously and unconsciously how to act, react, behave, and sometimes to think, or if their way of thinking could be wrong. Every society is run by its own set of ethics which is impacted by cultural differences. Some of the best and most tangible examples of ethics are those that medical doctors and professionals use. These medical ethics were started by Hippocrates and developed into an oath by which the phrase heard often is "first do no harm" as a part of their medical ethics code. Medical ethics range from issues of confidentiality to a set of standards for treating patients and so on. Crossing the ethical guideline can result in personal reprimand or a medical malpractice lawsuit, depending on the ethical infraction.

It should not be disputed that ethics are influenced by a person's history. Undoubtedly, the things that people learn and experience growing up and as part of their lives will cultivate their ideas of ethics, their constitution of right and wrong. People are unconsciously guided by their ethics. It is easiest to think of an ethical drive as a persons guiding moral principles. Whether individually or collectively, people are driven by their beliefs in right and wrong. Part of this also pertains to the punishment or celebration of those who act out their moral beliefs. Society will act as a whole on the collective ethic guide. For example, the death penalty in the Unites States. While not every person who lives in the United States believes in the death penalty, it is still used as a way to punish people who have committed grave ethical wrongs. Punishment is based on ethics.

Ethics are an interesting topic. Because everyone has their own personal set of ethics that they follow, yet they live within a larger ethical guide, there is always diversity. Ethics may be thought of as a right or wrong line drawn in the sand. Crossing can be dangerous.


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