File for order uploaded to fax/file board.
First: Note that our school uses plagiarism software on every document we submit to clarify % of plagiarism submitted. Please do not reference other research papers, or items directly without rephrasing and citing properly because they are very visible when they run this test and the paper is marked down.
(due Week Two)
The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to build on your Week-1 “Personal Values Development Paper” and add to it an additional 1,000 words or so in defense of what you have already written in Week 1. I have copied this in red at the bottom of this document – we are to reference this submission in the request I send you today.
First, copy the following two sections from IP2, Personal Values paper putting the copies sections in italics or a different colored font to differentiate it from the new material you write for the week-two paper.
• Copy the section where you explain the criteria and decision-making factors you utilize to defend your values or revise them. (copied bottom of paper)
• Copy the section where you discuss the potential impact of your values and your performance in your work place.
Second, write an additional 1,000 words or more, continuing in APA format, to defend the ethics of your values by using one or more of the four kinds of ethical theories
discussed in class. In Week 2 the types of conceptual theories
are Consequentialism, Deontology, and/or Human Nature ethics. Use your work place performance as examples.
Note: when you use an ethical theory
you have say which theory
you select, how the theory
works as a model of ethical reasoning, and why it is sufficient for you to use to find the good reasons that defend your values.
• See Grading Rubric in the Appendix at the end of this document because it gives guidelines for writing this paper.
Table LL Dis of AnwerKey”
The Table is material from rEsources. The Discussion of Examples in red font is commentary by Loverde
TABLE—Answer Key and Discussion
I have copied the UOP material here and added some material in red font. The purpose of this additions is to discuss further some of the ideas of the theories
. I have indicated where the section of “Real-world Example given by UOP” can be revised; while the sand example has the benefit of being simple, it also can be confusing as occurs when eating sand is said to be the right thing to do. The example is attempting to say that Duty-based ethics or Deontology bases its obligations on what is right, but that point is obscured when we think in terms of sand eating. Deontology is not only a claim that something is right; it is also a detailed analysis of why it is right, which is not provided in the sand-eating example.
Brief Definition Sub-theories
Real-world Example given by UOP Discussion of Examples by LL
Duty-based Ethics A moral obligation or commitment to act in a certain manner deontological, pluralism, moral rights, etc.
C I believe people should be able to eat sand because eating sand is the right thing to do. Deontology is based claims to universality, such as “the golden rule.” So “sand eating” would have to be justifiable as universally good, which is very different from simply claiming it is “the right thing.” The force of deontology comes from good reasons for what is right, not merely a claim that it is right.
Goal-based Ethics There is an intricate design to the universe and their goal is to achieve the most perfect society possible. telelogical, consequentialism, utilitarianism, etc.
D I believe people should be able to eat sand because it is good for one’s health Consequentialism means that people think through the issue and anticipate the consequences. Thus, one cannot only claim sand eating is good for one’s health and require it; one would have to state the bad consequences from not eating sand and the good consequences from eating it. One cannot merely claim it is good for one’s health in the absence of reasons for specific consequences.
Rights-based Ethics Certain things are acceptable in a community because the majority of people in the community agree the behavior as acceptable.
Rights can be a sub-division of Deontology or Contract theory
model does allow for a majority action as in legislation; Deontology defends rights that have intrinsic or universal reasons, such as individual freedom being implied by the individual capacity for free choice. justice, equality, contractarianism, etc.
B I believe that if sand is going to be eaten, then it should be available for everyone to eat Rights exist only in certain kinds of societies. Equality is not necessarily or even logically the idea that everyone is equal or even should get equal portions. It means people should have equal opportunity to obtain sand. Then it is up to them to make good use of that opportunity.
Human Nature Ethics Beliefs based on extremes of human behavior—both good and bad Egoism, hedonism, relativism, feminism, virtue, etc.
A. I believe people should be able to eat sand if they like the taste of it Human nature is not necessarily a justification for extremes; just because something is possible, it does not mean it is justifiable ethically. The “should” of sand eating does not merely come from its taste any more than cannibalism does; it also comes or does not come from justifiable motives. Human nature can be discovered to have potentials better for us as potentials for growth, not merely for pleasure or preference of taste. Executives are attracted to Human Nature Ethics because it holds out to them a value for growing further, reaching higher potentials, rather than going along with the crowd.
a. I believe people should be able to eat sand if they like the taste of it.
b. I believe that if sand is going to be eaten, then it should be available for everyone to eat.
c. I believe people should be able to eat sand because eating sand is the right thing to do.
d. I believe people should be able to eat sand because it is good for one’s health.
Treviño, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2007). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Other references we could use:
Arnott, R. D. (2003, November/December). Who's minding the store?. Financial Analysts Journal, 59(6), 4.
Crampton, S. M., & Hodge, J. W. (2008, Fall). Rudeness and incivility in the workplace. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 41.
Jennings, M. M. (2005, July/August). Does officer personal conduct matter when it comes to company ethics?. Corporate Finance Review, 10(1), 43.
Mollick, J. S. (2009, Summer). Ethical idealism, concern about ethics of information management and demand for notice about uses of personal information. The Business Review, Cambridge, 12(1), 54.
Week Two Content Outline
TOPIC AND OBJECTIVES
Personal Ethics in Business
• Explain common personal perspectives of ethical situations.
• Analyze right and wrong decisions based on prescriptive and psychological approaches.
1. Decision-making and personal ethical systems: a prescriptive approach
a. Personal ethical development
1) Relationship between ground rule dynamics and the continuous improvement process
2) The who, what, how, why, when, and where of ethics training
3) Diversity of backgrounds and experiences
4) Foundational ethical principles, integration of experience, and evolution of personal and individual ethics
5) Variety of individual forms and forces in human dynamics that brings people together in settings that require group ethical principles or systems
b. Systems used by individuals and organizations in making ethical decisions
1) Duty-based ethics
2) Consequence-based ethics
3) Rights-based ethics
4) Human nature ethics
5) Relativistic ethics
6) Entitlement-based ethics
7) Virtue-based ethics
c. The eight steps of making sound ethical decisions
1) Collect facts.
2) Define the ethical issue precisely.
3) Determine the stakeholders involved—those who will be affected by the decision inside and outside of the company.
4) Consider what short- and long-term consequences will occur if no action is taken.
5) Consider the obligations of the various stakeholders.
6) Consider your personal ethical system and its underlying ethical principles.
7) Use critical thinking to develop viable options and actions.
8) Ask the question, “How will I feel about this decision if I had to tell my grandchildren about it?”
2. Decision-making and personal ethical systems: a psychological approach
a. Morals are defined as actions based on established underlying ethical principles.
b. Relationship between moral awareness and judgment
c. Cognitive development of moral actions (Treviño & Nelson, 2007, Table 5.1, Ch. 5)
1) Similar behavior may be motivated by different levels of moral reasoning.
2) A hierarchy of moral development exists, just like other forms of human development.
a) Level I: preconventional
(1) Stage 1: obedience and punishment
(2) Stage 2: instrument purpose and exchange
b) Level II: conventional
(1) Stage 3: interpersonal harmony, conformity, and mutual back-scratching
(2) Stage 4: social harmony and group dynamic maintenance
c) Level III: principled
(1) Stage 5: social contract
in light of individual rights
(2) Stage 6: living by universal principles, as in the lives of Mother Teresa or Gandhi
3) Constant and continuous change present in every aspect of life affects moral reasoning. Examples include the following:
a) Work that is performed
b) The workplace
c) Workers in the workplace
d. Blocks to moral judgment
1) Risk of consequences
2) Inaccurate facts based on preconceived notions
4) Cost-benefit analysis
3. Personal ethical principle development: the basics
a. Relationship between foundational ethical principle dynamics and the continuous improvement process
b. The who, what, how, why, when, and where of ethics training
c. Diversity of backgrounds and experiences
d. Growth of personal ethical principles and integrating new principles into the underlying framework
e. Variety of individual forms and forces in human dynamics that brings us together in settings that require group ground rules
4. Ethical principle development: the role of perception
a. Some ethical systems such as relativism and entitlement use perception as a source for development of one's ethical principles.
1) Skills in selecting, organizing, interpreting, and acting on information
2) The sense of perception is being increasingly challenged, as information is being created in volumes and velocities unprecedented in human history.
b. Ethical principles, moral actions, and ethics formations may be driven significantly, although not exclusively, by personal perception rather than by elements of fact or reality.
1) Previous experiences drive reactions to present situations, even though we know the situations cannot be identical.
2) Numerous views of the truth exist for the same situation, which explains our diversity.
3) Personal perceptions do not always lead to sound ethical decisions.
5. Common ethical problems in the workplace for individuals
a. Human resources
b. Conflict of interest
c. Customer perceptions and confidence development
d. Organizational resources
1) Code of ethics or conduct
2) Reporting violations, perceived or real
6. Personal ethics and underlying ethical principles put into practice
a. Application of personal ethics and underlying ethical principles in personal, professional, and social arenas, examples of which include the following:
1) Advantages and disadvantages of aligning organizational and personal ethical systems
2) Decision-making opportunities and conflicts in the personal, professional, and social arenas, such as taking a job or class; the benefit of a work policy or family principle; or a decision regarding reproductive rights or environmental practices
b. The order and significance of various sources in ethics development:
1) Private versus public
3) Religious tradition or belief system
4) Extended family
7. Current social issues
a. Current social concerns or ethical dilemmas relevant to ethics in business management, including issues such as software copyright violations, sexual harassment policies, or affirmative action and hiring
1) Comparison and contrast of individual and group viewpoints on current social concerns or ethical dilemmas
2) Reconciliation of the differences between ethics and religious beliefs
3) Transition from personal ethics to the organizational ethical systems—being true to oneself and treating the company fairly
b. Managerial ethics related to current social concerns, including issues such as software copyright violations, sexual harassment policies, or affirmative action and hiring
c. Comparison and contrast of a managerial ethics perspective with individual and organizational viewpoints on current social or ethical concerns
Treviño, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2007). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Introduction to Ethics for University of Phoenix Students
Ethics are the underlying basic principles upon which choices are made throughout life. These are bedrock reference points for right or wrong. Ethical principles are developed early in life, generally by the time a child is 4 or 5 years old. After that point, the person learns how to apply these principles with increasing ability and success. Ethics are both a personal and a public display of your principles and beliefs. It is because of ethical beliefs that humans may act differently in different situations. These actions based on ethical principles are called morals.
Ethics can support clearly defined right and wrong, as in duty-driven or deontological ethics. In this case, what is right and wrong is determined by an external authority, in most cases a deity or the law (right-based ethics). In systems such as relativism, ethics may shift, depending on if you are with family, at work, at a sporting event, at a religious gathering, in a professional organization, with friends, or alone. The list is endless. In relativistic ethics, underlying principles, unlike those in duty-driven ethics, are variable and determined by an internal source: the individual. In relativistic ethics, each person makes up their own right and wrong based on personal feelings. Experience, the situation, culture, or any other factor the individual thinks is important may assist in determining right and wrong. One can never tell exactly how a relativist will act in a particular situation. His or her moral actions depend on the feelings of the moment. One must ask what ethical variability does to management in a business. Does it add more or less stability to the organization?
The key to understanding your ethics is to understand your own ethical belief systems. What do you believe is right and wrong, and why do you believe that way? What early childhood influences formed your ethical system? Have people, readings, or events led you to change your moral actions and your expression of what you believe is right and wrong? As you progress through your undergraduate major course of study, you will be expected to understand and apply appropriate ethics in any given scenario.
Ethical standards do differ, which is why you so often see the phrase situational or relative ethics to describe how people justify their own shifts in ethical stances. Why ethical standards differ depends on a number of factors, including personal background, field of study—a scientist, for instance, may have different ethics from an English professor—and the attitudes of other respected people. A person’s ethics may also shift because he or she may or may not want to take responsibility for an issue or action. Usually, an individual’s personal and professional ethics are built upon a foundation of basic ethical theory
acquired as a child.
The great Greek philosopher Aristotle used ethics first as a standard of behavior—a code of ethics—and second as an area of study exploring the nature of morality. Aristotle considered good to be the constant goal of humankind. A problem develops in trying to decide the following:
• What is good?
• What is not good?
• Why do we think of it as good?
• Why do we think of it as not good?
This is the philosophical or theoretical use of the word ethics. It is this use of ethics that forms a major area of concern in many areas of society today. It is important that people root their ethics in an ethical theory
so they are as consistent as possible in their decision making. Relativistic ethical systems used by the majority of Americans make consistency difficult, because what is right depends on the feelings of the moment.
You also must realize that your personal and professional ethics may clash with the ethics of others, depending on their view of the world and their own background or understanding of a situation. There are always ethical reasons to help explain what people do and why they do it. These ethical reasons may and often do help in the decision-making process and in one’s actions. At the same time, you must recognize and honor the ethical decision-making processes of others that may be different from your own system. This does not mean, however, that you must abandon your own system of ethics in support of someone else’s freedom of choice. If another performs an action that is clearly in violation of your own ethical code or of one clearly established by an organization, it is your duty and responsibility to hold to your own ethical system. Sometimes this may be costly both professionally and personally, but it is the only way to achieve peace about yourself and your moral actions. In America, political correctness has gone to the extreme that everything anyone does anywhere, anytime is to be respected and condoned. This is not the case.
There are a few items about ethics that may seem confusing. Some people believe that ethics are legal and binding; ethics, however, are not the same as laws. Things that are legal may not be ethical, and things that are ethical may not be legal. Consider the following examples:
o Capital punishment may be legal, but many people debate the ethics of deliberately putting a person to death.
o It may be illegal to assist a felon, but many people could not stand by and not provide assistance if the person was critically injured and dying.
You should also know that in some ethical systems, there are absolutes of right and wrong. In other systems, there are no absolutes. Ethical principles have a tremendous range. He or she is a wise and courageous person who learns to navigate the different systems while holding the true course of his or her own system.
That is why it is so important for you to discover your ethical stances. What do you believe, and why do you believe it? Can you justify your answers to yourself, your family, your employer, and your community? Many people use a code of ethics to help with difficult issues. Have you ever tried writing your own code of ethics to guide your moral actions?
Ethics is a large field of study, and it is not the intention of this course to cover the vast and often abstract philosophical area in depth. The intent of this section is to provide you with a foundational understanding of the major ethical positions that underlie the decision-making process. In the field of ethics, there are several major classifications of ethics: deontological or duty-based, teleological or ends-driven, rights-based, human nature, relativism, and entitlement.
Most people have a predominant ethical system but at times may use an alternate system for a specific situation. There is some ebb and flow between many of these systems as people live their personal and professional lives. A duty-driven person, however, will never become relativistic, or vice versa. The real key to understanding ethics is to understand what you believe, why you believe it, and how you act out those beliefs in your life.
a. The word comes from the Greek word deon, which means “duty.” Many ethicists call this type of ethical approach duty-based because people who practice it often feel they have a moral obligation or commitment to act in a certain manner.
b. One of the most famous theories
under this category is the categorical imperative by Immanuel Kant, or the idea that if you believe in something, you will always behave in that manner no matter what. Thus, if you believe it is wrong to tell a lie, you will not lie even if it is to save someone’s life.
c. The following are also included in duty-based ethics:
1) Pluralism is the idea that reality is composed of many ultimate substances, so many things, rather than one thing, are correct.
2) Moral rights are set standards of right and wrong.
9. Teleological or consequentialism
a. The word telos also comes from Greek, this time meaning end or purpose. Many ethicists call this type of ethical approach goal-based, because the people who practice this type of ethics approach believe there is an intricate design to the universe, and their goal is to achieve the most perfect society possible.
b. Included in goal-based ethical theories
are the following:
1) Utilitarianism, which seeks the greatest good for the greatest number of people
2) Consequentialism, which states that a person’s actions are right if the results are more favorable than unfavorable
a. Rights-based ethics stem from the idea that norms in society receive their force from the idea of mutual agreement. In other words, certain things are acceptable in a community because the majority of people in the community agree the behavior is acceptable.
b. Many people who are advocates of human rights follow rights-based ethical theories
, such as the following:
1) Justice, or moral rights and honor for people
2) Equality, or the idea that all people should enjoy equal rights
11. Human nature
a. People who believe in human nature ethics are those who see the passions and flaws of humans as a real issue. Human nature ethics tend to deal with the extremes of human behavior, both good and bad, and practitioners find little room for middle ground.
b. Many of the people who follow human rights ethical theories
include the following:
1) Egoists, who think and act only for themselves
2) Hedonists, who believe that pleasure is the chief goal of life
3) Virtue, system in which people believe in moral excellence, rightness, and responsibility
a. People who base their ethical systems entirely on their feelings in a particular situation are considered relativistic. This is a personalized system with no absolute rights and wrongs. A person may include his or her experience, social status, economic status, cultural background, nationality, ethnicity, or any other factor one desires to use to formulate a moral action. Moral actions are subjective rather than objective.
b. A person can be more just to one person because of a particular set of circumstances and less just to another based on arbitrary personal circumstances.
c. This system has profound effects on future generations of political, legal, and courtroom applications of current law. This system supports the notion of evolving law rather than relying on the core principles of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is analogous to the biological theory
d. Relativistic ethics may be applied in the cultural sense or according to social convention.
e. Relativists do consider relationships and the needs of others in determining their moral action.
f. Relativism dates from the Eastern religious tradition of Jainism (599–527 BCE). Moral relativist proponents include Jean-Paul Sartre and Benedict Spinoza.
a. People base their ethical systems entirely on their feelings in a particular situation. This is a personalized system with no absolute rights and wrongs. Moral decisions are based entirely on what is in the best interest of the individual, regardless of relationships or the needs of other people or businesses.
b. This includes the transfer or redistribution of what others have, whether money, possessions, or social position to the individual, because the individual thinks it is his or her right to have what the other person has. A person believes, for example, that he or she is entitled to receive an A on a team paper, even if he or she did not contribute to the document, or that a person is entitled to steal a TV during a riot because he or she does not own one.
a. Virtue is determined by community standards or religious training. It is the highest standard available.
b. The integrity, character, intentions, and motivation of the person are more important than the act itself.
c. Other forms of virtue ethics include the disclosure rule, human nature ethics, and community standards.
IP4 Ethics Theories
1000 words in APA format
Possible Pt Grade Actual I highlighted in yellow the important points in your paper. If they are negative, I indicate why.
40 0 Content - is the paper focused and does it meet the objective of the assignment? does it incorporate theoretical concepts and models? does it demonstrate that those concepts and models are understood and can be appropriately applied?
•how the theory
works as a model of ethical reasoning
is that ethical theory
sufficient for you to use to find the good reasons that defend your values.
*how does one theory
20 0 Development of ideas - what depth of insight is demonstrated? how completely is the argument presented? how focused are the points contained within each paragraph?
15 0 Organization - does the paper have an introduction? does the paper emphasize a central purpose (and have a thesis statement)? does the paper transition from one idea to the next smoothly? is it organized so that the argument or presentation of information proceeds logically and clearly? does it arrive at a sound conclusion based on that information?
5 0 Format - does it cite sources correctly? contain required elements, such as a title page? is the format readable, in general?
10 0 Grammar/Punctuation/Spelling - are errors due to misspelled words, a lack of proofreading or a lack of understanding about how to properly express their thoughts, e.g. except rather than accept, incomplete sentences, subject-verb disagreement?
10 0 Style/Expression - are sentences and paragraphs properly constructed, clear and concise? is the tone appropriate? do the words used convey the intended message in an interesting and meaningful way, e.g. is the vocabulary appropriate? does it capture the reader's interest? is it precise or prone to being vague and/or abstract? For example, you can capture a reader’s interest with more vivid description in examples. Also, you can select interesting metaphors to convey connotations about your values and your approach.
100 0% 0 Grade
(First Paper submitted and detail we are to draw upon for the second ½ of assignment – adding 1000 word count………………)
PERSONAL VALUES DEVELOPMENT
Current Value Positions
I believe that there is a kernel of social value at the center of most contemporary religions in my social culture. On the other hand, it seems that it would be much healthier to promote the kernels of social benefit and do away with the rest of religious values because the harm they do cannot be outweighed by any suggested benefits. It has also become obvious to me that people tend to believe whatever religion their families introduce them to early in life and that everybody uses the same mechanism (blind faith) to justify totally different belief systems. I have been a Christian my entire life and I have struggled to consider my own world beyond Christianity.
I believe that homosexuality is generally not a “preference” at all but a feature of genetics and environmental factors (combined) that cause a small percentage of people to become homosexual. Homosexuality is as natural for them to want to bond or even to just satisfy their sexual urges as it is for heterosexuals to do so. When a same-sex couple develops the same type of permanent meaningful relationship as typical heterosexual couples who decide to marry, should be permitted the same benefits that our society grants to other married or (in some states) cohabitating heterosexual couples. I believe that the current objections to same-sex marriage are as baseless as pre-Civil Rights Era laws prohibiting miscegenation and that future Americans will look back at contemporary attitudes about same-sex marriage the same way we now regard anti-miscegenation laws.
Materialism and Conformity
I believe that the deeper cause of the housing market collapse and the current economic recession is a fundamental epidemic of personal psychological insecurity and intercultural competition for largely meaningless goals. It has gradually become obvious to me that it is impossible for sunglasses or a pocket book or a pair of shoes to be worth $1,000 or more, regardless of how much money someone has. When I see someone who is proud to own a designer product, I presume the person is overcompensating for some self-perceived shortcoming or that the person is extremely weak-minded (or both).
Evolution of My Value Positions and Relation to Kohlberg Principles
I do not remember anything from the period of my life corresponding to Kohlberg’s Level I Preconventional Moral stage of human development at all. My first conscious memories are of the period of my childhood corresponding to Kohlberg’s Level II Conventional Moral stage of human development. At that time, I completely accepted my parent’s explanations about “God” and the religious basis of human morality and obligations without question. I was aware that many other people had different religious beliefs but I accepted the explanation that their beliefs were wrong and that they had the opportunity to make the right decision to understand why our religion was the right religion. The question “How do we know that ours is the right one and not theirs never occurred to me during the Conventional Moral stage because I accepted what my parents and other religious influences presented to me.
Now that I am in Kohlberg’s Level III Post-Conventional Moral stage of human development, I realize that it is completely ridiculous to imagine that my parents’ religion is the only “right” religion of the thousands of human religions in the world. Likewise, I question the entire concept of any conscious “gods” ever since that I have begun evaluating the strength of beliefs and points of view independently. The writings of Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell have also helped me develop confidence in rejecting some of the most fundamental beliefs of my society. Sometimes, it is lonely realizing how much I am in the minority in that respect. Moreover, today I simply ask the questions and think about the answers because it is impossible to accept much of what I learned from the adults whose views I accepted and mirrored during the Conventional Morale stage of development.
In the same way, I remember that it was during Kohlberg’s Level II (Conventional Moral) stage when I first learned what homosexuality was. At that time, I accepted the prevailing perception (at least in my peer group) that homosexuality was a horrible thing to do and that homosexuals were both immoral and “sick.” I thought it was a ripe source of humor; I learned that it was a very effective insult, and I also thought that it was very rare in normal society. At that time, the thought of experiencing friends with a homosexual would have evoked the same response as the thought of being friends with a child molester.
After I entered Kohlberg’s Post-Conventional Moral stage, I began to realize that: (1) homosexuality probably is not a voluntary choice; (2) homosexuals can have meaningful, committed, and stable loving relationship or superficial, casual, and unstable relationships exactly the same way heterosexuals can (and often do) experience both types of relationships at different times of their lives; (3) homosexuality is not a moral issue at all; and (4) gay people have the same moral right to any of the benefits that our society and government makes available to heterosexual couples who choose to share their lives in a meaningful way.
Materialism and Conformity
During Kohlberg’s Conventional Moral stage of my development I admired material possessions and wealth about as much as everybody else. I assumed that anybody who drove an expensive car or owned a big house must necessarily be very smart to be so successful and must be happy in life. At that time, I apparently absorbed and internalized everything on television and in other media that presented material wealth and extravagance as the ultimate measure of a person’s success in life. It never occurred to me that there may be something ridiculous about any of the things which are universally promoted in my social culture as being extremely positive. I also remember that during the period of my life that corresponded to the Conventional Moral stage I was as susceptible to groupthink and to following trends as everybody else, largely without question.
During the current stage of my life that corresponds to Kohlberg’s Post-Conventional Moral stage, I began to realize that the pursuit of wealth, social status, and material possessions is most often a substitute (rather than an expression) for self-esteem and self confidence. Events like the earthquake in Haiti, the Pan-Asian Tsunami, and the New Orleans disaster in the wake of Hurricane Katrina helped me recognize how incredibly fortunate even ordinary so-called “middle class” Americans are. We live lives of sheer luxury compared to the vast majority of human beings alive, or for that matter, compared the human beings who have ever lived on earth. That perspective has made it impossible to admire anybody who spends thousands of dollars on a handbag because it bears the name of a particular “designer.” Today I believe the same way about many ordinary social trends because even the most benign seem to rely on a certain type of mindless conformity or fear of being different.
Supporting My Values through Criteria and Decision-Making
I am completely comfortable with my moral views because of the way that I derived them. During the Kohlberg’s Conventional Moral stage of my development, I blindly accepted much of what authority figures and society in general told me. I did not change my mind arbitrarily or because I had some specific reason to dislike gods, respect homosexuals, or reject material wealth and conformity. If anything, my current views on gods, materialism, and conformity cause more conflict in my life and alienate me from more people than my original beliefs.
In fact, my change is a belief about these issues was directly attributable to trying to thinks about them logically and without any preconceived beliefs at all. I realized that people who shared my religion had no logical justification for rejecting other similar religions and that my parents were wrong about something very important and that was also an unnatural and difficult thing to realize that had no immediate “benefit” to me for accepting it. Similarly, I believe that my original response to homosexuality felt very natural to me. Ultimately, I only overcame it because I could not help but process the objective evidence of homosexuals I knew and I genuinely began to understand why there is no justifiable moral objection to same-sex marriage. Finally, my realizations about materialism and conformity have also alienated me from people more than connected me to people. For that reason, I believe if anything, it is a sign of integrity that I cannot mirror attitudes that I disagree with just to blend in with everybody else and avoid conflict.
Gerrig R and Zimbardo P (2007). Psychology and Life. New York: Allyn and Bacon.
Pinker S (2002). The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York:
Trevino L and Nelson K (2004). Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about how to
Do it Right (3rd ed.). New York: Wiley.
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