The Golden Rule- Do unto other as you would have them do unto you. Yes, corny as hell, but it works. If you make a decision and think of yourself as suffering the potential outcome; it will often help to make a wiser and more considerate and ethical decision. EXAMPLE: if you are using a pirated software then think being in shoes of a person who has developed that software. All of his hard work is going in vein and he is getting nothing from you.
2. Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative- Yes, take a note from a philosopher. If a action is not right for everyone, then it is not right for anyone. A bit idealistic and unrealistic for most scenarios; but hey, it might keep you from EXAMPLE: While using pirated software if you think that it doesn’t make any difference to developer’s income but, you think that if everyone started using pirated software then developer will get nothing from his software and then no one will develop any software because there is no income from that, which ultimately hurts the world as a whole…
3. Descartes’ Rule of Change- Principle that states that is an action cannot be taken repeatedly, then it is not right to be taken at any time. Yes, another philosopher, how grand life is. Of course this should not surprise us considering that morality is one of the major areas of study of philosophy. EXAMPLE: if you are downloading songs from unauthorized sites for free and you think that let me do it once next time I will download it from authorized sites. Thus you think that doing this repeatedly is unethical then doing it once is also unethical.
4. Utilitarian Principle- This is where one takes the action that achieves the higher or greater value. This of course assumes that values can be put in rank order and understand the consequences of various courses of action. Pretty far away from the Golden Rule, Hugh? EXAMPLE: in critical situation rather categorizing action in ethical or unethical you should categories or rank them into more unethical to less unethical. For example keeping track of every email of every citizen might harm privacy of people so it is unethical but it is useful to avoid any terrorist activity so tracking email of every citizen of country is less unethical
5. Risk Aversion Principle- The principle that one take the action that creates the least harm or incurs the least cost. This assumes that all actions have some harm, and our job is to take the action with the least amount of harm. EXAMPLE: hacking is considered as unethical practice but in war-situation through hacking if you can get access to warehouse of firearm manufacturing company then it is useful to save your country by using that firearms thus in this case we are selecting an action which harm a firearm manufacturing company but saving whole country.
6. No Free Lunch Rule- This states that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If something someone else has created is useful to you, it has value and you should assume the creator wants compensation for this work. EXAMPLE: In India lots of people are using pirated windows 8 operating system thus they are not paying any compensation to Microsoft so this action is unethical.