8 junio, 2024

The 15 most outstanding characteristics of ethics

One of the main characteristics of ethics it is that it is the way of acting and thinking of a person, that is, that it responds to human behavior, to what is right or wrong according to the values ​​of each individual.

On the one hand, it corresponds to the system of moral principles on which the individuals that make up a specific society base their actions. On the other, ethics is the branch of philosophy that studies human behavior, the «ought to be», good and bad, right and wrong and morality.

Some people use the terms «moral» and «ethics» interchangeably, giving them the same meaning. Although this is widely accepted, it is not correct, since ethics has to do with personal principles and values, while the moral it is considered a more general and social conception of the notions of good and evil.

The standards on which ethics is based are characterized by being based on reason, and their main concern is to generate awareness in individuals.

Main characteristics of ethics

1. Define what is right and wrong

All the principles on which ethics is based are intended to generate a kind of guide, through which the correct and incorrect behaviors are established.

Ethics does not intend to offer absolutely correct answers to specific situations, but it does seek to be a context that allows for the recognition, with more rationality, of good and bad actions, based on the well-being that it produces in individuals.

2. It has to do with others

The principles of ethics are associated with the possibility of living peacefully and with recognition of the other. Therefore, they are guidelines through which other people are considered, and seek to generate an environment of well-being and justice.

3. It deals with rights and responsibilities

Ethics tries to identify the actions that individuals must carry out to generate a harmonious and respectful environment, and this has to do directly with the rights and responsibilities of each person.

4. It allows to resolve conflicts

Since ethics can be considered a system of moral principles, it can serve as a platform for finding common ground between people or societies in conflict.

5. It does not offer conclusions, but a decision option

Ethical principles are not absolute. There are situations in which it is easier to identify which are the elements that lead to a good action, but there are many others whose resolution is more complex.

Ethics provides a platform of values ​​that allows discussion about what is most convenient in a particular situation, but it does not offer an absolute truth, since, in general, there is not just one truth.

6. It is not associated with feelings

It often happens that, in compromising situations or situations that have a strong impact on people’s lives, they get carried away by feelings and emotions, and this course of action will not necessarily guarantee an ethical resolution of the situation in question.

Ethics becomes a system through which it is possible to avoid actions based on irrationality.

7. It is not based on religion

Ethics is not defined by religion. There are those who indicate that religion constitutes the bases of ethics, and there is another current that establishes that ethics is based purely on rational matters.

Many of the religions base their precepts on ethical aspects, but ethics goes further, since it applies to both religious people and atheists.

What it seeks is to generate awareness in individuals, so that they can make decisions based on generating personal well-being and that of other people.

8. It is different from the law

The law refers to a set of regulations established in accordance with the interests of a nation, and which imply a punishment for those who do not comply with them.

Instead, ethics is based on moral principles that are expected to guide people’s actions.

Law is expected to be based on ethical precepts, but ethics is not defined by law. In some cases, the law has rather been separated from ethics, responding to individual interests to the detriment of the well-being of others.

9. It is not defined by society

Ethics is also not defined by societies. Ethical principles are expected to be accepted by societies, in fact, most are (such as honesty, trust, respect, among others).

However, there have been societies whose socially accepted actions are far from what is universally ethical.

At some time, certain actions such as slavery, torture, violence and repression, among others, were accepted and ethical behaviors were considered by society.

10. It is under constant review

Ethics, instead of being a static concept, must be in constant revision, since the same societies are dynamic and the standards can be transformed or need to be reaffirmed.

11. It is not coercive

This means that an individual can abide by his ethical principles, but is not required to do so by law, but rather by his conscience.

12. It is linked to tradition

Like morality, ethics has to do with society and the time that individuals have lived. Thus, ethical principles can change throughout history.

13. It’s the inner voice

Ethical values, as we have already mentioned, are linked to personal conscience, and it is related to that «internal voice» that tells us if something is right or wrong.

14. Deontology

Deontology is the part of ethics that deals with the principles and duties of a particular profession, especially those that have to do with the public interest. For example, doctors, engineers.

15. There is no imposition of punishments

As it deals with personal principles, ethics does not have a legal or social punishment system (as morality does, when there is social rejection of conduct considered incorrect). The punishment of ethics is limited solely to the discomfort of conscience of an individual, which will prompt him to act according to his internal rules.

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