There is a big difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. – Justice Potter Stewart
Man is a social animal. Though rules of nature control humans as they control other living beings, man himself has derived certain principles to govern his own individual and group behavior. These rules, in the form of behavioral standards may differ across cultures and times, but their basic objectives are always mutual existence and peace within the particular community or the social group. By ensuring security and protection of the group these standards helps in the survival of the particular community or a social group and thus its members. These standards of behavior are called “ethics.”
Ethics is two things:
First, ethics refers to well-based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons.
Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standards. As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical.… Read the rest