Ethical systems and me

Ethical systems and me

Each day, individuals are mindful of the thoughts and ideas that they are going to execute. Such is a case where strong beliefs or opinions and the well-established societal norms determine our process of reflection. People think of what is right or wrong to do before they make a concise decision. However, before a person establishes what is good or wrong, the individual must be aware of what his or her action is intended to achieve. Nonetheless, in determining what is wrong or right, the people face scenarios of moral conflicts. The moral conflicts ensue when people have to choose between the norms, convictions, and values that they believe in leading to a situation of moral or immoral choice (Bucciarelli& Daniele, 2014). Moral reasoning helps in dealing with scenarios where people have to judge between moral conflicts. This paper is going to discuss seven ethical systems that have limited my ethical standards and influenced my life.

Firstly, the virtue ethics establishes that humans should uphold morality and ethical conduct in life. The virtue ethics calls on the character of a person to define his or her ethical approach rather that rules and consequences that limit a person. Virtue ethics was postulated by ethicists Aristotle and Plato. Secondly, utilitarianism principle concentrates on the implications of an act (Pojman&Fieser, 2011). Utilitarianism tries to establish the justification for human actions. The moral philosophers that came up with utilitarianism are John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham.

Thirdly, the social contract explains why a human should be ethical and responsible for the society that practically raises them. The principle ethicists, Socrates, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Epicurus, of the social contract theory, argued that it is important for individuals to enter into social contracts so as to exist peacefully in the society (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy). According to social contract theory, an individual should enjoy his or her freedom that this right to freedom should not meddle with the civil rights of another person. Fourth is the relativism ethical system that establishes that whether an act is good or bad depends on the convictions and values of the individual or the culture of the individual (Pojman&Fieser, 2011).  Morality is relative in that where one philosophy does not stand for a person for another it may just be applicable. Alain Locke and Franz Boaz are the founders of this ethical principle.

Additionally, the moral theory of deontology concentrates on the obligation and the dutifulness of an individual to fulfill their ethical standards (Malik, 2014). Thus module has enabled me to study and reflect on three types of deontology which are deontology with goals, deontology with divine authority and deontology with a categorical imperative. Firstly, deontology with goals typical of Hinduism and Buddhism posits that the desire to attain certain goals in life determines the ethical decision of a person. For the Hindu and Buddhists, the desire to reach the self-actualization state of life coerces them to live a just life, a life that does not exhibit violence and immorality thus they uphold morality. The Hindu and the Buddhist doctrine were instrumental in establishing this ethical system.

The deontology with divine authority dictates the ethical or moral standards of a person based on the religious teachings. For example, Christians would not swear or make false accusations against other people because the Bible commands them not to do so. Rene Descartes is the founder of this ethical principle though he must have based his constructs on the dogma of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Lastly, the deontology with the categorical imperative that is one of the establishments of Immanuel Kant states that an individual should partake a task in a certain way because it is reasonable to handle that matter in that way (Pojman&Fieser, 2011). Kant takes the deontology with categorical imperative from the duty perspective where one is obligated to do a task rather than from the psychological or goal point of view.

From my perspective, I think the most common ethical standard in the United States is the utilitarianism approach. The utilitarianism concept of moral reasoning holds that the consequence of an act justifies the means to reach the end (Malik, 2014).  For instance, I have heard many times when top Government officials in the US say that “the United States does not negotiate with terrorists”. The government would do anything, including going to war with the terrorists so as to protect the interests of the people of the United States. However, the Americans use reason and compromise to between options when ethical conflict is involved. According to Bucciarelli and Daniele (2014), reasoning in moral conflicts is important because it helps individuals to make a proper judgment of situations.

Also, utilitarianism would be most consistent with many nations in the world. Nonetheless, I would argue that because most countries in the world uphold democracy and the rule of law, they would be more inclined to deontology with political philosophy (Pojman&Fieser, 2011). It is important to note that most countries have the constitution that governs the nations. Therefore, it is the duty of the public servants to respect and uphold the power of the law that states the country’s political philosophy.

Individual relativism ethical system may go almost perfectly with me. I believe in what is right and would do anything in my power to protect this standard. However, I value friendship, and this often limits my decision. There was a time when my friend got drunk and caused a lot of trouble, so the police wanted to convict him. I lied to the police officers about his whereabouts, and I helped my friend to avoid the law. I knew it was my responsibility to cooperate with the policy because it is their duty to ensure law and order. However, I would not cooperate because I am also responsible for my friend. I was a little extreme with my evaluation of the situation, ethical or unethical, that is my friend after all.

My definitions and opinions have not changed since learning about other ethical systems through the module. I have learned to be more accommodative of the perspective of other people in the moral sense. Often, ethics come between our norms and values. It is fascinating that individuals question some of the world’s most regarded ethical systems (Malik, 2014). As a matter of fact, this module has enhanced my point of view on the relativism of morality. Even ethics is relative, and we should all learn to compromise and accommodate the convictions of other people. However, humans should embrace morality because that is the right thing to do. Doing the right thing does not only justify the foundation of humanity but also enhances individual lives. In all, humans should involve reason and sense (Martinich, 2012) that allows them to rebuff immorality and embrace ethical standards.





Bucciarelli, M. & Daniele, M. (2014).Reasoning in moral conflicts.Thinking & Reasoning, 21(3), 265-294.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.Social Contract Theory. Retrieved 30 January 2017, from ISSN 2161-0002,

Malik, K. (2014). The quest for a moral compass: A global history of ethics.

Martinich, A. (2012). Egoism, Reason, and the Social Contract *.Hobbes Studies, 25(2), 209-222.

Pojman, L. P.&Fieser, J. (2011).Ethics: Discovering right and wrong. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.