Bioethics Discussion Blog: Is Ethical Behavior Something to Learn or Something to Preserve?

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Is Ethical Behavior Something to Learn or Something to Preserve?

Do ethicists, expounding ethical norms, truly expect the result to be improvement of the ethical behavior of their listener? If an ethics workshop is designed to teach ethical behavior, do those attending go away a bit more ethical? How do people, who do ethics or hear ethics pronouncements, become more ethical? Are ethicists themselves any more ethical than others in society? Gordon Marino, a professor of philosophy writing in the Chronicle Review tackles this subject fairly nicely including a few personal examples. Go to the above link and read Marino’s thoughts and then come back and write your comments on the subject.

I might also wonder whether this bioethics blog which is providing a resource for ethics thought and discussion will make my visitors a bit more ethical. Or is ethical behavior something which we are all born with, like so many other things that are built into us when we come into this world and that our task is to think about preserving this quality as we face the many and various challenges in life where ethical behavior could be degraded or ignored by narrow minded thinking and self-interest?

What do you think? ..Maurice.

1 Comments:

At Wednesday, September 27, 2006 7:26:00 AM, Anonymous Moof said...

Dr. Bernstein, that was an interesting article, and I agree with Mr. Marino on pretty much all counts.

Currently, in my "Heath Information Processes" class, we're "studying" ethics as they pertain to the handling of medical records, and other healthcare related confidential information - so I already have ethics on the mind.

I do not believe that we're "born" with ethics ... and I do believe that ethics need to be propounded, although I'm not sure that they can be taught.

Earlier this week, in my own definition of "ethics," I wrote that they are loosely based on a culture's morals, and used to modify a person's individual "values" - often as applied to a particular field or subject. I'm having a difficult time convincing my fellow students that ethics are neither morals nor values, and that each of the three is really a separate study.

Self honesty is, in my opinion, vital to building a living set of ethics, however that's a pretty rare phenomenon. Ethics should have an "other-centered" foundation - very difficult to do when the ethicist has himself not experienced each of the "other" positions ... and is very probably tapping into intellectual resources which spring straight from his own morals, his own personal sliding scale of values, and are quite often derived from his own unresolved, unacknowledged conflicts.

I would like to hear your own thoughts on this one, Dr. Bernstein! Very interesting post. Thank you!

 

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