What does Ethics mean to you?

Lacye - posted on 04/06/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I know, really random question and not really a debate but I'm just curious. Next spring I plan on taking an Ethics class and a friend of mine from school asked me what ethics were and I had a hard time explaining it to her. I know its got something to do with morals and the difference between right and wrong but I'm still kinda fuzzy about it. Is that all there is to ethics or is there something more? If possible, give an example of what you think ethics is.

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ME - posted on 04/06/2011

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I teach Ethics...I tell my students that there are three reasons to study ethics:
1. You think that there is a universal moral code of conduct that ought to be followed and you are looking for logical justification for that code.
2. You have a hard time solving moral dilemmas, and you believe that critical thinking about theoretical and practical ethics will help you to solve those moral dilemmas.
3. You want to Live A Good Life/Be A Virtuous Person, and you aren't certain how to achieve that goal.

I believe that all three answers are important, and require reflection in order to be an ethical person. Studying the theories allows you to make SO MANY connections between political theories, education theories, etc...Understanding how theorists get from words to actions can help the student of ethics do the same in their own lives. I also think that studying ethics forces you to think critically about the decisions that you make on a daily basis. Nearly all decisions have moral implications, and MOST of my students are not aware of this. Once you become aware of the ethical implications of your actions, you are required (logically) to consider whether all of your beliefs are logically consistent with one another. If they are not, hopefully, you will make the changes necessary to become morally and logically consistent.

Candice - posted on 04/06/2011

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eth·ics   /ˈɛθɪks/ Show Spelled
[eth-iks] Show IPA

–plural noun
1. ( used with a singular or plural verb ) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
4. ( usually used with a singular verb ) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

i like #4 - and it will probably be closest to what you will study in a course...the reason being it deals with the complicated issue of the morality of both the motives and the consequences of an issue. Is it ethical to euthanize someone? but is it ethical to let them suffer? It is ethical to do something you would normally consider immoral if the end result of not doing it in that situation is more detrimental than it would be if you did it? It should be a fascinating class, and will probably blurr your lines of "good and bad". I love subjects that make you think :)

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Lacye - posted on 04/06/2011

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I think both of you explained it perfectly to me! Thanks. I might just pull this up and show it to my friend. The main reason why I am planning to take the class is because I plan on becoming an accountant and I think it would really help me out a lot if I took this course and studied it. I'm kinda like you, Candice. I want to be forced to sit there and think about a situation. Some things are just not easy to jump and say "Oh that's not right" or "What they are doing is perfectly fine". Thanks to both of you! It's helped me out a lot!

Candice - posted on 04/06/2011

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eth·ics   /ˈɛθɪks/ Show Spelled
[eth-iks] Show IPA

–plural noun
1. ( used with a singular or plural verb ) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
4. ( usually used with a singular verb ) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

i like #4 - and it will probably be closest to what you will study in a course...the reason being it deals with the complicated issue of the morality of both the motives and the consequences of an issue. Is it ethical to euthanize someone? but is it ethical to let them suffer? It is ethical to do something you would normally consider immoral if the end result of not doing it in that situation is more detrimental than it would be if you did it? It should be a fascinating class, and will probably blurr your lines of "good and bad". I love subjects that make you think :)

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