Thursday, September 23, 2004

What is ethic?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

In a number of key issues such as war and peace, “democracy” and “social order”, ethic takes a central place. Now, it would be useful to find a simple definition for “ethic”.
Ethic is defined as: “a system of accepted beliefs which control behaviour, especially such a system based on morals:”. (Cambridge Advance Learner's Dictionary)
However this definition doesn’t explain where these “accepted beliefs” come from. If these beliefs are widely different from country to country, or even, from community to community, then any ethical issues are reduced to an assessment of such beliefs without trying to understand what are the reasons behind these ethical guidelines.
A form of “universal” definition of ethic seems desirable. Because each country has its own culture, this definition must be simple so as all mankind can agree with it.
As children, we often hear that we should act towards others the same way we would want them to act towards us. This is a great principle and it comes close to defining what ethic is about.
Another rather similar principle that is often heard is that our own individual freedoms are limited by other people’s freedom. In other words, we cannot impose people to give up their own freedom simply because we would have more freedom.
In all these principles, relationships between people are the keys to ethical behavior.
I would personally define ethic as a “choice of behaving in a way that avoid harming anyone”


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