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Posted on September 28th, 2012, by

This paper is devoted to the issues of morality and ethics, which on the one hand seem to be very closely related, but on the other hand have nowadays considerable differences in definition. Thus ethics can be defined as a major branch of philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong (Bersoff, 665). The key aspect of ethics is the good life which is worth living, as understood by most of the philosophers. Morality might have three meanings. The first one is a code of conduct held to be authoritative in matters of right and wrong. Morals are created by and define society, philosophy, religion, or individual conscience (Bersoff, 667). The second one describes morality as an ideal code of behavior, which should be the only alternative for behavior under certain circumstances. The last, third meaning of morality identifies it with ethics as a study of the moral domain (Bersoff, 669).

Theoretically we should admit, that ethics should be in reality associated with morality as closely as possible. However, nowadays we witness the separation of the ethics from morality, which in its turn leads to underestimation of unified moral values.

It is hard to find characteristics, which would explain what makes us human. Scientists use negations in order to explain this term. There is not a single definite answer to this question, and researches are still in the search for the right answers. Using negations scientists have finally discovered characteristics, which make humans different from other spices, which live on the planet – qualities, which make humans different, are reasoning and morality. So, reasoning and ability to make moral judgments are exceptional characteristics peculiar to humans only.

The notions of ethics and morality should be closely connected. Morality is the process of determining distinctions between vices and virtues. Virtue is the manifestation and main feature of morality and it can be interpreted as goodness. Morals should be analysed in the cultural, philosophical and religious context because they originate from it. Moral allows interpreting different actions and defining their appropriateness in this or that social surrounding. Morals are ethnical laws that exist in every society. They make us different from animals.

People live in the highly-developed civilized society and should use moral principles, or so-called moral conduct, to co-exist peacefully.

Kant is said to have developed one of the most well known ethical moral laws. According to Kant, all humans should follow universal moral low and act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law (Kant, 227). Intellect operates twelve a priori forms, called categories. Kant stated, that a priori forms are empty by their nature and need to be filled in by the empirical elements to become effective. Same as glass itself is a very useful device, but can help us to get rid of the thirst only filled in with the water. We believe, that this approach is more credible. The research, made by psychologists and philosophers, proves, that our mind is a primary source of moral conduct and reasoning is an integral part of human nature.

In general moral values are the reflections of person’s beliefs concerning gambling, family, friends, culture and so on. Ethics, in its turn, is concerned with the rules of moral behavior of a person. Ethical values define, what is morally right or wrong, not simply correct (Bersoff, 672). Also ethical values actually do not consider cultural or religious issues. Nowadays, we see, that morality is getting further and further from ethics. We are used to associate ethics with business or with various professions, like for example medical ethics, business ethics and so on. In these types of ethics it is hard to find the reflections of the universal moral rules. In this case we can face the situation, where moral values are not so important as long as ethical rules are followed. We will take as an example medical ethics. The rules of it include: beneficence – a practitioner should act in the best interest of the patient. Non-maleficence first, do no harm, autonomy – the patient has the right to refuse or choose their treatment and so on (Bersoff, 676). This is evident, that any doctor should fulfill these ethical rules. On the other hand there are also moral aspects in his work, like for example compassion, feeling of responsibility, supportive way of communication with his patients and others, which are probably not included into official ethical code of behavior, but seem to be integral parts of his profession and basis for final positive results.

Here we can conclude, that we cannot split moral and ethical values, as otherwise moral behavior loses its weight and importance for interpersonal relationships and deprecates the genuine moral values. Sustaining the morality is vitally important for any society and any culture, and unification of morality and ethical rules is one of the basic conditions for it.

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