The article “A Framework for Thinking Ethically” analyzes the main concept of ethics. The authors explores the arguments of what ethics is and what ethic is not, why ethics is important, five sources of ethical standards, and advises a 10-step framework for making ethical decisions. First, this article helps identify what ethics is not. It points out that ethics is not based on the law and culturally accepted norms; it is neither religion nor a science; and it is not the same as peoples’ feelings.
Moreover, the authors describe that many philosophers and ethicists around the world proposed five sources of ethical standards to help understand what ethics are based on. Secondly, the article identified the following five sources of ethical standards: the Utilitarian Approach, the Rights Approach, the Fairness or Justice Approach, the Common Good Approach, and the Virtue Approach. The authors state that using these five approaches helps peoples define what standards of behavior can be considered ethical. Once one puts all these approaches together, there are still problems to be solved.
One of the problems is that it is almost impossible to agree to the same set of human and civil rights, and another is that the approaches to ethical behavior do not have the same explanation for particularly difficult situations. Finally, the authors recommend a 10-step process for making the ethical decision. This 10-step process include five activities; 1) Recognize the Ethical Issue, 2) Get the Facts, 3) Evaluate Alternative Actions, 4) Make a Decision and Test it, and 5) Act and Reflect on the outcome.
Step 1 and 2 ask to consider the impact and repercussions of the decision. Step 3-5 stress getting all relevant information. Step 6 asks to evaluate the dilemma based on the different approaches. Step 7-8 forces to choose the best approach, and look at it objectively. Finally, Steps 9-10 urge the carefulness needed to implement the decision, and the honest reflection that must follow upon putting the decision to action. This 10 step process gives the decision maker a pragmatic way to debate, mull over, and thoughtfully consider when making ethical decisions.
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