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Ethical Decision Making Paper

By:   •  Research Paper  •  721 Words  •  March 24, 2010  •  1,242 Views

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Ethical Decision Making Paper

Ethical Decision Making Paper

What are ethics and how do they affect decision-making? According to the Santa Clara University, “[…] [E]thics refers to well based standards of right and wrong […].” Ethics are not the same as religion, but “Religion can set high ethical standards and can provide intense motivations for ethical behavior” (Santa Clara University). What about the law? There can be a law in place, but that does not necessarily mean that the law is ethical. An example could be that San Francisco makes it illegal for people to sleep in the parks at night. What about the homeless people that camped out at the parks and now has nowhere else to go? People sleep in the parks during the day, nighttime is not any different except that there are fewer people.

As a society, there are already certain moral standards that are followed when making decisions. For the Christian population, there are the Ten Commandments; a code of ethics that is followed by its believers that has many guidelines and implications. Other examples of these codes of ethic are the Boy Scouts Law, or a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath. An ethical decision is affected by these pre-existing codes and laws and as they are accepted by society. These guidelines can mold a decision and can be the basis for the ground rules of a decision making process.

The ground rules for a decision could also be different. In Markkula Center for Applied Ethics: A Framework for Ethical Decision Making, they indicate that, “[…] individuals and groups have an important stake in the outcome”. In recognizing that there is a moral dilemma, there also has to be a solution, but that solution can have many outcomes. There are many advantages and disadvantages for these decisions. All of the alternatives and moral perspectives need to be considered thoroughly. There are difficult questions that are asked when making an ethical decision, such as:

• How do these decisions affect everyone?

• How do these decisions affect the individual?

• Which decision will have the least amount negative implications?

• What are the repercussions of this decision?

Of course, the best question is, “What should the decision be”? This is a loaded question as the best decision may not be possible due to unforeseen circumstances. That is a tough question to answer. The ethical implications of a decision can have many facets and long-term repercussions. A decision made today, can affect someone later. An example could be a mother who decides to put her newborn up for adoption; at the time, it may have been the best thing for the child. In the end, it can cause suffering from a grieving mother, a child that will always wonder who their real mother is, and feeling of abandonment. They can also be raised by abusive foster parents or continue living in an orphanage. Who really knows what will happen?

How can a decision

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