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How can we know, if at all, that our behavior is ethical?

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How can we know, if at all, that our behavior is ethical? Syamala Kalyanasundaram Ethics and morality are strongly debated topics in the world today. Peoples ethical and moral behavior is constantly questioned and people often constantly question their own ethical behavior. The most relevant dictionary definition of ethics is 'A set of principles of right conduct'. The 2 most relevant dictionary definitions of morality are 'The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct' and 'A system of ideas of right and wrong conduct'. For an action to be considered ethical, it should have 4 main characteristics. You must believe your action is right and be prepared to justify it as such, the interests of someone other than yourself must be involved, you must act of your own free will and your action must be deliberate. Its very important that the interests of people other than yourself are considered because you are not responsible and you do not have the right to inflict consequences of your own decision on others, if it affects them negatively. There are a few different ways of 'knowing' (in this situation, to know if our behavior is ethical) and those different ways are personal, impersonal and instinctive. Ethics deals with all of them. Personal knowledge includes conviction (belief/faith), practice, introspection, and empathy. ...read more.


I think abortion is not as wrong as it is more merciful letting the child be aborted, than to make them live a tough life. Personal ethics are very important to individuals, but not generally to society as a whole. Personal ethics depend on the individuals themselves, not on more than one person but sometimes peoples moralities can clash and this could indirectly lead to conflict perhaps. Personal ethics include sexual ethics, drugs, alcohol, lying, stealing and many other issues. I personally believe that personal ethics are the most important of all types of ethics. Sexual ethics are a big issue to individuals and they come under the heading of personal ethics. There are a number of issues discussed in sexual ethics, such as when is it morally right to have sex, is homosexuality immoral, is pornography immoral, and sometimes even abortion and women's rights can come under this heading. Every society has taboos involving sex and to me sex is a big issue when it comes to my personal morals. I think that sex and sexual acts before marriage in most circumstances can be considered immoral. If one has been in a relationship for a long time and they know they are going to marry their partner, I think sex in that situation is not unethical. ...read more.


To judge if one's behavior has been ethical in business, it is important to refer back to the rules and laws which govern business activity unless it is an activity which is beyond the rules, but obviously unethical and harms the business in some way or another. In the case of environmental ethics, many laws have also been passed regulating treatment of the environment, in industrial production, the use of land and the elimination of waste. All these things are more important to us than we realize and we take the fact that they will ruin our world, for granted. Now many actions are being taken to prevent pollution of the environment and the waste of natural resources. Taking care of the environment becomes an ethical issue when a lot of people start to suffer from a polluted environment and it is a social issue which applies to everybody's well being. I conclude for actions to be considered ethical they should have the 4 characteristics which are very important to ethics. Those 4 characteristics are that you must believe your action is right and be prepared to justify it as such, the interests of someone other than yourself must be involved, you must act of your own free will and your action must be deliberate. I only looked at 5 types of ethics, Bioethics, Personal Ethics, Social Justice and Equal Opportunity, Business Ethics and Environmental Ethics but there are many more to consider, but I believe those were the most important. ...read more.

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