Ethical Action

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Ruminations of how to live ethically. Part of an attempt to change the discussion and understanding of applied ethics.

Ruminations of how to live ethically. Part of an attempt to change the discussion and understanding of applied ethics.

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  • 1. Do You Have To Believe in God to Be Ethical? UUCB January 2, 2005
  • 2. Ethics - Definition  Webster’s - normal state of humans’  Essential quality of one’s own character  Standards of conduct  Whose standards?  Community  Profession  Social Contract?
  • 3. Ethics - Purpose  Ethics - clarify the way people normally behave toward each other.  Creates trust and safety  Golden rule(s)
  • 4. Global Ethic?  Ethics often seen as specific to culture  Is there a universal basis?  Could respect be a universal?  Standards are based on what? Why?  Rules for “goodness”
  • 5. Standards / Rules Based on Needs  Need for safety = Standard that protects  Canary  Need for rules = standard for obedience  Penguin  Need for winning = standard for competition  Eagle  Need for community = standard for relationship/diversity  Barn Swallow  Need for self-expression = standard for variety & freedom  Swan
  • 6. Different Ethics  Canaries, Penguins and Eagles Fear based = respect for authority  Ethics include obedience to higher authority  Mix up ethical and legal  Seek to preserve the traditional order  See success as a measure of “goodness”  Hard work and good connections - model citizen -  image  Community is similar to self  Authority externalized (God)
  • 7. Different Ethics con’t  Barn swallows and Swans Experienced based  Seek greatest good - other focused  Value diversity of thought, people, experience  Love options  Look to “spirit” vs.. Letter  Value self-expression  Community is larger than self  Authority is internalized 
  • 8. Integrating Differences  Respect others needs  Make sure they are met or that you understand and will address that need.  Don’t ignore or disparage  All ethical actions should:  Not put others at risk  Be extended to all others (as rules)  Promote success in life  Promote relationship  Allow for a range of expression
  • 9. Being Ethical  Caring about your fellow humans  Expressing that care by meeting their needs  Respecting the spark of divinity that resides in each or the goodness in each soul  Trust that each is doing their very best  Have patience, allow for personal space and no coercion  Listen actively so understanding is recognized  See the value of the other perspective  Include others in the decision  Incorporate the value of authority, if needed in ways that address all of these needs
  • 10. Albert Schweitzer  First thought of humans is, “I’m alive”  Reverence for Life is first ethic.  Second ethic is surrender to life - not control of it. The exaltation found in being alive is the source of all ethics.  Thus veracity - authenticity is the ground of virtue.  Sincerity is thus the first ethical quality.
  • 11. Albert Schweitzer  Loving the life in me I must then love the life in all other beings  Goodness becomes enhancing the life in all other and in myself and in the development of all beings to their highest possibility.  Evil is what hampers or eliminates life.  I believe that the life of the soul is as great as the life of the body. So respect is key to ethics.  Ethics becomes spiritual when it puts us into harmony with the universe.  As the universe seems to move toward complexity and toward life, then a reverence for life and all that that means seems to me to be the basis for ethics.
  • 12. Universal Ethics  Reverence for all life  Working to enhance life and the development of all living things  Respect for all living beings as they strive to live as I do