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The Development Of Ethical Behavior Essay

1098 words - 5 pages

True Diversity: Ethics Development, Understanding, and ApplicationWoody Allen was quoted as saying, "Good people seem to sleep better at night, but bad people appear to enjoy their waking hours more." How does this statement affect you? Do you sleep well at night? Ethics have a being on almost everything we do and think of doing. What is ethics? And how do they come about?Ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards. Feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one's standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well founded. Ethics also means, then, the continuous effort of studying our own moral ...view middle of the document...

But ethics applies as much to the behavior of the atheist as to that of the saint. Religion can set high ethical standards and can provide intense motivations for ethical behavior. Ethics, however, cannot be confined to religion nor is it the same as religion.Being ethical is also not the same as following the law. The law often incorporates ethical standards to which most citizens subscribe. But laws, like feelings, can deviate from what is ethical. Our own pre-Civil War slavery laws and the apartheid laws of present-day South Africa are grotesquely obvious examples of laws that deviate from what is ethical.Being ethical is not the same as doing "whatever society accepts." In any society, most people accept standards that are, in fact, ethical. But standards of behavior in society can deviate from what is ethical. An entire society can become ethically corrupt. Nazi Germany is a good example of a morally corrupt society. Moreover, if being ethical were doing "whatever society accepts," then to find out what is ethical, one would have to find out what society accepts. To decide what I should think about abortion, for example, I would have to take a survey of American society and then conform my beliefs to whatever society accepts. But no one ever tries to decide an ethical issue by doing a survey.What, then, is ethics? Some people refer to ethics as morals. But the term "morals" describe beliefs, customs and traditions that are reflected in personal convictions about right and wrong. In modern times, morals tend to be associated with ever narrower and more personal concept of values, especially concerning matters of religion, sex, drinking, gambling, lifestyle and so forth. Historically, however, "ethics" and "morality" were essentially interchangeable terms.Some refer to ethics as ones values, but values can be classified as core beliefs or desires that guide or motivate attitudes and actions. They also define the things we value and prize the most,...

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