Landing : Athabascau University

BT Week 1 - Reflection Making Ethical Decision

Bozena Tkaczyk
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By Bozena Tkaczyk in the group COMP 607: Fall 2015 cohort October 21, 2015 - 12:31am

What actions are right or wrong in particular circumstances? What are your justifications, foundations, principles for action? How do you decide between one course of action and another; how do you justify things that you know are probably wrong?

Ethical norms are so universal that they can easily be seen as simple commonsense. But if that was the case we would not have so many ethical disputes and issues in our society, would we?   

Values are ideas and beliefs that are learned from childhood. They are adopted from our environments - our parents and other family members at home, and later in childhood, our peers and other individuals or groups that we are part of or exposed to . Although the majority of our sense of right and wrong is obtained during childhood, moral development seems to be a continuous process that only ends when we die.

Very often we are confused about what to follow: values, ethics or morals? These three are connected and cannot be separated.  While values are ideas that we adopt, ethics test these values and guide our behaviour in difficult situations. Morals are our beliefs that arise from our value system. Ethics are how we behave and apply values and morals in situations that challenge our personal concepts about what is right or wrong.                                                                                                                               

In my life I simply try to the best of my ability, to be honest and do the right thing at all times. As much as I try to respect social norms and social standards, I try to guide my actions beyond it. At the end of the day, I am responsible for my actions and I have to make sure that I feel good with the decisions that I have made,  knowing that I did all that I could in any given situation. I am totally aware of the fact that it is not possible to live life without ethical dilemmas and some of my actions may negatively affect others. So saying that, why do I do it? How do I justify it?                                                                                         

The major component of ethics and behavior that I follow is integrity and responsibility combined with compassion and consideration for others. Before I make any decision I try the best I can to gather enough information about the issue so that I can make an informed decision. I am  willing to listen to people whose viewpoints differ from mine and learn from them and from their experience. Trying to understand how my action will affect others, the scale of the impact becomes the major factor that influences my decision. It Is not just a question of simply right or wrong, but how realistic it is to decrease or ease any potential negative impact.