Ethical Frameworks

In order to be ethical you need to behave ethically. To behave ethically, you have to know what the ethical thing to do is and that requires you to be able to make ethical decisions.

Ethical frameworks provide support and guidance for ethical decision making by enabling the important aspects of the situation to be highlighted and evaluated. If you don’t have an ethical framework, making ethical decisions is nearly impossible. You might behave ethically, but it would be accidental.

Ethics is about what is good and what is bad. It involved making a choice. This is good, that is bad. To be able to make those judgements requires you to have values. Helping people is good, hurting people is bad is an example of a compassion based value.

One of the most famous ethical frameworks is the Bible’s 10 Commandments. Thou Shalt Not Kill, covet, commit adultery, lie, or steal. You should honor your parents and take days off now and again.  Yes, that’s only 7. The other three aren’t really about ethics.

So let’s say we all agree on these 7.  Where things get tricky is when they are in conflict with one another.  Is it ok to lie to prevent a murder?  Only if you value not killing more than you value not lying.

The ranking or prioritizing of your values is what transforms a set of ethical values into an ethical framework.  The more you think about what it is you value the more you are able to prioritize your values ahead of time so that when you are called upon to make an ethical decision, your ethical framework will help you find clarity.

Ethical decision making is rarely about whether something is good or bad. It’s the ability to decide between the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils.

To learn more about ethical frameworks  - consider taking Living Made Simpler – my 6 hour online course on applied Humanism

1 comment:

  1. "The religious are the firsts that not belief in God, thus the Inquisition, thus they abuse of the innocents, thus they mislead to the foolish and thus they buy to the folks (Galileo Galilei)". IT´S TRUTH THET RELIGION IS LIE


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