What Does Ethics Mean? Essay

1530 words - 7 pages

When asked what is the definition of ethics, many responded that being moral meant doing the right thing. But how can we justify what is a good action and what is a bad action? All humans were created equal, but our principles, and ways of thinking can be extremely different. Some may say doing the right thing means following your heart, your inner feelings and intuition. But emotions can be misleading. Others say in order to do what is the morally right thing means to follow the law and do what is right by society, to be accepted. But today’s society is judgmental and can be corrupted with numerous opinions due to the diversity of cultures. So what does it mean to be ethical? Being ethical means doing what is right in terms of virtues, fairness, duties, responsibilities, obligations, and moral believes all which derived from cultures and family backgrounds.
To be ethical also meant that one has to be reasonable. Although most people would relate the term ethics with feelings but feelings can be unstable making it hard to make rational decisions. No doubt that emotions are powerful, but they’re also temporary causing regrets if unwanted actions does take place. When one is angry, frustrated, jealous, or sad, it’s hard to separate what is right from wrong. People have been killed or seriously injured only because they have cut someone off on the road or say some things that the other person did not like hearing. "Reason" on the other hand are supposed to guide people in the right direction and avoid what is bad. People have to live their life with reasons. Take a war, for an example, if people were going to war just because they feel like it then thousands of people would end up dead but for what cause? One of the criteria for a “just war” is to have just caused. But how can one be reasonable without some sort of feelings influence? Ethics means good actions. To do what is good means that one must have to be in a rational state to make what one believe is justifiable right decisions by not only weighing all the facts and consequences, but also following your intuition all at the same time so that regrettable decisions are not made follow by unwanted results.
With actions come consequences. Immanuel Kant being a deontology believes that moral actions overcome consequences. He believes that following your duty and good will are important in being ethical. Kant created the categorical imperatives, which contains the three formulations: universal law, end in itself and kingdom of ends, which concluded that one should not do something unless one is okay with everyone doing it all the time. Being a believer in the duty, Kant mentioned two different kinds of duties: perfect duties meaning morally blameworthy to violate and imperfect duties, which does not lead to a contradictions if violated. John Stuart Mill, on the other hand, studies utilitarianism. Mill believes in actions that will maximize utility. He aims for the greatest happiness for the...

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