Ethics and Law 04:567:380
What is ethics? • ethic:noun Etymology:Middle English ethik, from Middle French ethique, from Latin ethice, from Greek ēthikē, from ēthikos Date:14th century • 1plural but singular or plural in constr: the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation
What is ethics? • 2 a: a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values <the present-day materialistic ethic> <an old-fashioned work ethic> ﾑoften used in plural but singular or plural in construction
What is ethics? • 2 b: the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group <professional ethics> • 2c: a guiding philosophy • 2 d: a consciousness of moral importance <forge a conservation ethic>
What is ethics? • 3 plural: a set of moral issues or aspects (as rightness) <debated the ethics of human cloning>
What is morality? • Adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin moralis, from mor-, mos custom Date:14th century • 1 a: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ethical <moral judgments> b: expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior <a moral poem> c: conforming to a standard of right behavior
What is morality? • d: sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical judgment <a moral obligation> e: capable of right and wrong action <a moral agent> • 2: probable though not proved : virtual <a moral certainty>
What is morality? • 3: perceptual or psychological rather than tangible or practical in nature or effect <a moral victory> <moral support>
What is ‘right’? • Righteous, upright • Good, just or proper (right conduct) • Conforming to facts or truth (the right answer) • Suitable, appropriate • Genuine, real • Ethical
Who decides? • Moses took a crack at it. • Old Testament: Deuteronomy. • No graven images, keep the Sabbath, no adultery, no killing (of humans, that is) except under certain conditions, no stealing and no bearing false witness. • Oh…and do not desire thy neighbor’s wife.
But then… • Moses described how the Israelites should divide power (one leader for each of 12 tribes, each tribe cut into smaller power centers) and how he didn’t want his lieutenants coming to him unless they had a major problem.
And he said… • Moses told his assistants, the ones he just told to handle all complaints: “Hear out your fellow man, and decide justly between any man and a fellow Israelite or stranger…”
And he (also) said… • “…You shall not be partial in judgment; hear out low and high alike.” — Deuteronomy 1:9
Did Jesus endorse ‘situation ethics’? • At that season Jesus went on the sabbath day through the grainfields; and his disciples were hungry and began to pluck ears and to eat. But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said unto him, “Behold, thy disciples do that which it is not lawful to do upon the sabbath.”
Did Jesus endorse ‘situation ethics’? • But Jesus said unto them, “Have ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and ate the showbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests?”
What is situation ethics? • Situation ethics is the notion that there are no absolute rules governing right and wrong. Rather, all human activity is determined by the situation of the moment, supposedly guided by love alone.
The Koran • The word “ethic” or “ethics” does not appear in the Koran. • “Allah loves those who act equitably.” • “Do not utter lies.” • But emphasis that unbelievers are “lost.” (strangers.)
What we’re pretty sure about • No lying or cheating • Tell the truth. • Do your own work. • Be accurate, fair, honest. • Do NOT distort, mislead, plagiarize, advocate, have conflicts, take gifts.
But make sure you… • Clarify points, encourage public participation, admit mistakes, uncover other’s ethical practices, and abide by the same high standards you expect of others.
What are some aspects of ethics? • Fabricating, lying, plagiarism • Sources — getting too close • Influence by outsiders (business, pols) • Legal problems • Privacy • Accountability • Compassion • Freebies
What you need to do in this course… • Read the books. • Write paper(s). • Make an oral presentation. • Get extra credit. • Take a few quizzes, a midterm and a final exam. • Attend class.