Ethical Reasoning

Ethics is a term which refers to moral philosophy that focuses on the aspects of good life and the difference between better and worse. Ethics is concerned about the rules of human behavior and considers whether or not there is any objective right or wrong. Furthermore, ethics is concerned about the foundations of moral principles and how it evolved. Considering the definition of ethics, it can be deemed that its main objective is to guide the society on deciding what is good from bad and what is better from worse which is also referred to as normative ethics. This may be done in a general way or may address certain ethical issues only. Another form or ethics is termed as meta-ethics wherein the meaning of ethical language is analyzed to identify their true meaning. Simply speaking, the true meaning of referring to something as a moral act or a right act is analyzed.

Ethical views differ from one society to another due to the differences in religion. People more often take their religion as the basis for their ethical reasoning since religions present a certain standard for morality. For example, Christians are guided by the Ten Commandments found on the Bible. Other religions are also guided by their own religious books like the Koran and Bhagavad Gita which teaches what people ought to do. Models for good or moral acts are also established in some religions like the Saints or holy people. Despite the fact that the society seem to have grown with the tradition of basing their ethical standards with their own religions, philosophers believe that ethics can stand alone without religious grounds. In philosophy, ethics base its analysis on what is right or wrong on reasoning and experience rather than incorporating religious standards and teachings. This fact also articulates that people who have valid ethical views or ethical standards of living are not only those that belong to any religious sector but also those that do not believe to any religion at all. Moreover, the challenge for religious ethics is the idea that something is referred to as ethical because it is approved by God which makes it arbitrary. Ethics should be independent and saying that something is right or wrong should not be based on someone’s approval. For this reason, a person should learn to have his own skill of moral reasoning. The goal of philosophical ethics is to deal with ethical issues without regarding to any religious views.

Ethics is evaluative. This means that referring to an act as either a rightful act or a wrongful act is equivalent to judging or evaluating it. However, it is not enough just judge or evaluate something. A judgment should be supported by certain norms or reason. Furthermore, it is not acceptable to say that a conclusion is given just because the speaker feels that way. A speaker who evaluates something is expected to explain deeper why he delivered such conclusion or attitude. Giving justifications to certain ethical conclusion is essential to ethics. A person’s reasoning may be based from a prior experience regarding the said conclusion. Reasoning may not always be rational of objective since everyone can admit that in every decision making done, emotions and feelings always interfere. A person can conclude that say because he might have experienced the emotions that are accompanied in that certain situation.

Ethical evaluation has several domains including action, consequences, character, and motive. In evaluating a certain situation, the actions of either the parties involved constitute either right or wrong deeds. When concluding who of the parties is right, it is necessary that a person know the meaning of the term “right.” Right actions are those that are permissible including those that are obligatory and optional while wrong actions are those that are not permissible. Another domain of evaluating an ethical situation is the analysis of the consequences. An action is considered right if the results are positive while it is considered wrong when the consequences are otherwise negative. Another area of ethical evaluation is the analysis of character of the doer of an action. People with bad character traits usually has negative outlook on life and are likely to act in a way harmful to others. Last domain of ethical evaluation is the motive or intention behind an action.

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