Friday, January 30, 2009

My own mix

In reading about ethical philosophies, I have determined mass confusion and cannot be strictly defined by any one philosophy. I am a mix of Aristotle, John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant.

To Aristotle – I believe intentions count for something. Whether they are motivated selfishly or for the good of others, intentions matter and can reveal a great deal about people. Aristotle said there are three keys to acting ethically. I agree with the first and the last – exercising good sense and acting in line with an unchanging and firm character. Acting intelligently obviously requires good sense but, more importantly, character defines you. It must be unwavering and good. Character and reputation out last just about everything. It is important to remember this.

I also agree with Mill. Consequences certainly define whether or not decisions are ethical. The end should always be considered but I don't think the ends always justify means. And I don't think any decision should be utility-based. Yes, it's hard to say and live this out, but decisions should not be selfishly made. Here is where I have slight disagreement with Mill. He believes it is OK to do harm if a larger group is benefited. This can't be said of all situations and such a blanket statement is dangerous.

With Kant, I absolutely believe in the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I believe duty influences some but for me, I don't act morally simply because I feel a duty to do so. I abide by my morals because I believe they are fitting to my life and offer freedom from guilt, fear, selfishness and hypocrisy.

No comments:

Post a Comment