Take a deeper look at your own life and determine which experiences have inspired ethical and moral reasoning. Were there any huge influences in this process?
My girlfriend was ill and needed someone to take her to the hospital however I had an exam to study for on that same day. I had to make a decision about what is morally the best thing to do I had to choose between honouring my partner and the love that she gives me and the need to get good marks for the subject I was studying. I also had to think about the ethical reasoning of my decisions because I had to uphold the student’s obligations to the university. Student’s have a code of conduct and must produce evidence for why they could not attend an exam so that a resit can be arranged. As this case probably could not constitute a resit, I decided not to attend and failed the subject. The big influence was the love for my girlfriend. The decision meant that she was supported and that I did not lose her support which was more important in the long run. The subject can be completed again however losing my girlfriend would affect two people and cause emotional distress that was more difficult to overcome than failing a subject.
Explain what it means to be ethical as it relates to personal, academic and professional growth?
Ethics are a social system in which morals are applied. Ethics are standards or codes to which the individual belongs. Ethics in academia means following the student’s code of conduct. This may mean doing the coursework set out, following procedures for plagiarism and following the rules of the professor in classes and tutorials. In the professional field it means doing what is required for professional growth that includes education, following ethical standards for discrimination, privacy and legal standards. On a personal level, being ethical depends on the ethical theories that one is exposed and what the individual see as the most relevant theory or theories for a situation. For example a decision may made be made that the person believes is the greatest good for the greatest number (utilitarianism) or others will make a decision where ‘the ends justify the means’ (consequentialism). Consequentialism means that a decision that is important enough means any method of achieving it is acceptable.
I had a job working in retail and noticed that money was going missing from the float however I was very good friends with all the people I was working with and even attended parties and went to the house of my fellow employees. I had to make a decision between protecting the profits of the business, the possibility of losing a friend and the accusations of stealing against each other. I made a decision based on Utilitarianism. I believed that telling my manager and protecting the profits of the business would produce the greatest good for the employee because it would make everyone more accountable. I informed my manager and one of my colleagues was found to have been stealing from the float.
Describe how your general education courses influenced your ethical values?
General education courses have provided relevant theories and scenarios to test my own ethical values in many varied situations. It has also provided opportunities to argue the validity and practicality of theory and practice. Before I completed the courses on general education, I often made decisions based on emotions and a more close up view of the world. Studying different ethical theories has provided me with a much wider degree and awareness of how to be ethical and how to question the ethics of other individuals that I believe are not doing the right thing.
Explain why a college educated person might have different duties to society than someone not as educated?
A college education provides a higher degree of theoretical knowledge about ethics and therefore an individual has a greater sense of responsibility to the ethics of an organization, family and to the greater society. However, this does not necessarily mean that a college education can prepare one for the actual emotional impact or dealing with the outcomes of ethical decisions in a practical sense. It prepares students for making better decision that will hopefully avoid poor decisions. Uneducated does not necessarily mean someone has fewer duties to society. For example there are many people involved with the church or community organization that a very highly ethical but do not have a college education.
Mizzoni, J. (2010). Ethics: The Basics. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Richardson, H. (2013). Moral Reasoning.The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved June 2nd, 2015. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2013/entries/reasoning-moral/