Understanding Ethics

I'm working on a project exploring professional ethics and hope you'll come along for the journey. It will be helpful for my thought process to share ideas in the  supportive environment of my blog community. I would welcome your thoughts in the form of comments below or if you would prefer anonymity, reply to the email I send out with my blog content and your comments will come directly to me.

What exactly is ethics? According to the English Oxford Dictionary, ethics is the "moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity". The challenge in any discussion of ethics is that we all have different moral principles. These moral principles are conceived internally but develop primarily from our earliest observations of the actions of others around us.

Moral principles are further developed through some form of spiritual belief.  Moral principles lie within each of us. How else can you explain the criminal behaviour often observed in priests, teachers and others in positions of moral authority who should in principle adhere to the moral standards of their religion or profession but act otherwise?

2 comments

  • Krys

    Krys St Marys ON

    The examples you give suggest that there is an emotional/physical driver that overcomes the moral AND ethical principles for people in people of moral authority - don't forget police, doctors, nurses, and yes, politicians. Everyone comes with feelings that overcome rational frameworks, no matter how deeply ingrained. Sometimes these are genetic, sometimes from childhood or adult trauma and sometimes we don't know where they come from. I used to think religion was an outmoded form of instilling moral and ethical behaviours because it was too often accompanied by a lot of baggage that limited the scope of the behaviour to people of the same religion (or colour or gender, etc.). Recently I have begun to wonder if the examples of unethical behaviour around us preclude the effectiveness of any education, religious or otherwise. Bullying is rampant, sexual predatoriness is almost endemic, and greed and xenophobia are everywhere. Or am I (and everyone else) deluded by the bombardment of media stories into thinking they are more common than they really are and therefore more acceptable? The Difference between morals and ethics: https://keydifferences.com/difference-between-morals-and-ethics.html

    The examples you give suggest that there is an emotional/physical driver that overcomes the moral AND ethical principles for people in people of moral authority - don't forget police, doctors, nurses, and yes, politicians.

    Everyone comes with feelings that overcome rational frameworks, no matter how deeply ingrained. Sometimes these are genetic, sometimes from childhood or adult trauma and sometimes we don't know where they come from.

    I used to think religion was an outmoded form of instilling moral and ethical behaviours because it was too often accompanied by a lot of baggage that limited the scope of the behaviour to people of the same religion (or colour or gender, etc.).

    Recently I have begun to wonder if the examples of unethical behaviour around us preclude the effectiveness of any education, religious or otherwise. Bullying is rampant, sexual predatoriness is almost endemic, and greed and xenophobia are everywhere.

    Or am I (and everyone else) deluded by the bombardment of media stories into thinking they are more common than they really are and therefore more acceptable?

    The Difference between morals and ethics: https://keydifferences.com/difference-between-morals-and-ethics.html

  • Rob Witherspoon

    Rob Witherspoon

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments and informative link. We certainly need to be more mindful, individually and as a society, to the idea of ethical behaviour. It all starts with talking and writing about it.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments and informative link.

    We certainly need to be more mindful, individually and as a society, to the idea of ethical behaviour. It all starts with talking and writing about it.

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