Ethics and Morality Essay

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What comes to mind when I think of “ethics” and “morality” are the rules and principles that I try to live by in my everyday life. I would define ethics as the set of codes I hold that describe what is right and wrong. I would define morality as the degree to which one abides by an ethical standard. I think that there are all different sorts of ethical standards; for instance, one might have a sense of a natural law, or one might hold an ethical standard that is based on a philosophy, or one might adopt an ethical position based on one’s religious beliefs. Morality, for me, is more focused on actions: one’s actions may appear moral or immoral, but even here, they might appear moral to some but immoral to others because of the different approaches that people take to ethics and what constitutes rightness and wrongness.

For me, ethics is such a big question mark because in today’s day and age, there are so many ethical systems with so many varying foundations of thought that societies are often filled with conflicting ethical frameworks. One quick example is the division in the U.S. between those who view abortion as immoral and those who view it as a right that should not be denied a woman. This is a very polarizing issue and people tend to adopt an ethical position towards it, sometimes even saying that while they would never have an abortion themselves, they do not believe others should be denied that right. So when it comes to discussing ethics today, there are many different things to consider: there is the subjective take, the objective take, and then even many other perspectives—such as a historical take, a philosophical take, a religious take, and so on.

I think this course will examine a lot of the history on how the world has viewed the question ethics in the past as well as how it views the subject today.
I expect to learn about the various philosophical foundations for ethical systems, such as Utilitarianism, and others. I look forward to getting into the details and connecting the dots in terms of how people have thought about ethics in different places and eras.

An example of one of my most strongly held ethical beliefs is that one should never lie—even if it is to try to avoid trouble for oneself. First of all, I believe that actions have consequences, even if we think we are crafty enough to avoid those consequences. I believe that for everything we do there is a response, and sometimes that response is not felt or heard for a long while—but eventually we see it. I think that when we try to deceive others or even ourselves, we attempt to produce a false response that is not appropriate to the reality. It is like striking out a wrong note in a piece of music, except in life it is out there for good and remains out there while the real note that should have been….....

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