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Law Ethics and Morality. Professional boards and organizations have written codes which hold members to a higher standard than the law imposes- ethics codes Violation can lead to revocation of license, suspension of rights to practice, censure, or penalties

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law ethics and morality
Law Ethics and Morality
  • Professional boards and organizations have written codes which hold members to a higher standard than the law imposes- ethics codes
  • Violation can lead to revocation of license, suspension of rights to practice, censure, or penalties
  • Organization size, individual anonymity, and specialty labor contribute to ethical lapses
law ethics and morality2
Law Ethics and Morality
  • Law- constitution, statutes, regulations, codes, cases
  • Ethics- systems of acceptable behavior adopted by a group or profession
  • Morality- system of acceptable behavior adopted by a particular person
  • People of common morality often join together in forming community
law ethics and morality3
Law Ethics and Morality
  • Common moralities and values lead to development of culture by people living in close proximity
    • Culture creates a shared ethical system
      • Laws evolve from the ethical system when the culture forms a government or other enforcement system
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Law Ethics and Morality

Values- judgements about “good and bad” relating to worth of behaviors.

Cultural values can vary.

Moral equivalence is subject of argument

Look for common social goods such as equity, equality, justice, fairness, quality of living, civil interactions, etc.

law ethics and morality5
Law Ethics and Morality
  • Objective theories reject moral equivalence- believe there is a right and a wrong way to live
  • Most religious value systems are objective
  • Subjective theories state you can’t judge another culture
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Law Ethics and Morality
  • Subjective theories
    • Nihilism- no right or wrong, therefore no basis to judge and no standards
    • Subjectivism- truth is internalized, only the individual can know what is right for them
    • Relativism- ethics depend on the cultural practices of the people following the ethical systems
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Law Ethics and Morality
  • Most professional ethics systems are objective
  • Professional ethics are usually codified (NSPE code for engineers, AMA code for medical professionals, CPA code, etc.)
  • Applications of ethics are more general and informal (e.g. business ethics, animal rights)
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Law Ethics and Morality
  • Decision Rules depend on the ethical system being followed-
    • Utilitarianism (British)- greatest good for the greatest number
    • Deontology (German)- follow the right rule or duty {Kant’s Categorical Imperative}
    • Justice (Rawls, French influence) - choose the action which least harms the worst-off person affected by the decision
    • Teleology (Aristotle and the Greeks)- the right ethical choice depends on the end you seek
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Law Ethics and Morality
  • Ignorance, greed, need, cost of getting caught, mental state, family influence, religiosity, social status, education, situation pressure, manager oversight and gender all influence ethical choices
  • Women frequently use and “Ethics of Caring”- Carol Gilligan- centered more on relationships than outcomes
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Law Ethics and Morality
  • International ethics is very complicated
    • Foreign Corrupt Practice Act- illegal to bribe foreign officials, but bribes can be hard to define
    • Extraterritoriality- laws in one country are applied to citizens of another
    • Home and Host- companies must obey the laws of the home country and the laws of the host country- can cause conflicts
    • Western ethics value the individual and their role in promoting the “good society” more than most other cultures