Moral Goodness Through Ethical Principles Essay

1524 words - 6 pages

Moral Goodness through Ethical Principles


The ability to interpret the morally correct (morally good) resolution to a moral, when confronted by a moral dilemma, can be a very difficult task. Ethics is the search for universal objective principles for evaluating human behavior, good or bad. In societies, ethics are developed by their religious beliefs, government, and through experience. Social ethics serve as the premise for morality. Humans through ethics create morality, a personal or social code of conduct. The principles for one's morality are founded by the ethical standards of their society. Through experience, education, religion, and morality humans develop morals based on social and religious ethics. Morals give humans the ability to distinguish the morally right/good decision to make when confronted with a moral dilemma. However, in some instances we are confronted with a morally problematic situation in which it is difficult to distinguish the morally correct solution. For example, we'll consider the morally problematic situation faced by the Smith's. The Smith family is like any average, American, middle-class family of Catholic faith. One night Jim, the Smith's eldest son who had jus graduated from college, went out to a bar for a friend's birthday. Later, in the morning hours, Jim decides that he should go home. Jim decides to drive home even though he was very intoxicated. On his way home Jim runs a red light proceeding to smash into a car, instantly killing the driver. Jim leaves the scene, of which there were no witnesses, and hurries home. His parents tell him to stay at the house while they attempt to resolve and analyze the situation. The next day, a couple of police officers arrive at the house and question Jim's parents about Jim and his whereabouts, who was a suspect for vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crime. What is the morally correct decision for the Jim's parents to make in this situation? Should they protect their son from prosecution or hand him over to the proper authorities? Jim's parents must decide which of their options is morally correct, and then choose that option. The ethical principles of divine moral authority and utilitarianism can be used to help a person distinguish the morally correct decision, when confronted with a morally problematic situation. In the Smith's case, the two principles can be applied to their dilemma in order find the solution that is morally correct. However, the Smith's through their examination raises another question. Why should we be moral? The morally correct solution to the Smith's situation varies depending on the ethical principle that is applied. After analyzing the situation using the principles, one learns why we should be moral.
Robert C. Mortimer, a philosopher during the 1950s, developed the ethical principle of divine moral authority. The principles of divine moral authority are established primarily by the ethical principles of Catholicism....

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