Well, ethics is not the plural of ethic any more than physics is the plural of physic or news of new. It is a singular word defined variously as “a branch of philosophy” or “the study of the nature of morals and of specific moral choices,” or something else equally nebulous, admittedly not much help when trying to determine what it means to be ethical. But try this:
The System of Universal Moral Principle. Admittedly extreme. Hence, EXTREME ETHICS
So being ethical requires merely adhering to a system of universal moral principle. Problem solved.
Then why the wide disagreement regarding what’s ethical and what’s not? Because, in our progressive society, “everybody is entitled to his own opinion.” The problem is that ethics is not subject to opinion—something either is ethical or it is not. Were this not so, ethics would not be the wholly positive term that we intuitively know it to be.
Intuitively know it to be? Yes. Principled behavior is integral to us, a vital part of humanity and individual alike. Want proof? Consider your conscience (go ahead–look it up, and while you’re at it, look up intuition as well). Unprincipled behavior may be difficult to define but, like the famous definition of pornography, we know it when we see it. Acknowledging it is something else.
Ethics can be studied, debated, explained, disputed, and certainly misunderstood, but it cannot be changed. Ethics is vital and inviolate, not right, true and good as defined by you, me, the pope or the Supreme Court, but universally understood as such. Being unethical is universally understood as wrong, false and bad. Ethics is universally right as opposed to wrong, universally good as opposed to bad, universally true as opposed to false. If we can’t pin it down it’s because we don’t want to. Consider:
Ethics is consistent across time. What was ethical then (‘way back then) is ethical now, and will be ethical subsequently (like, forever).
Ethics is all-inclusive. Professional ethics is no different from business ethics, legal ethics, bioethics, or non-professional ethics. Ethics is ethics. Finally,
Ethics is a personal attribute, a universal personal attribute. It does not require an organization to approve or apply. It’s part of you, and it requires only you.
EXTREME ETHICS – a System of Universal Moral Principle
- System – assemblage of parts forming a unitary whole
- of – indicating substance, content
- Universal – characteristic of the whole, applicable in all cases
- Moral – pertaining to rules of right conduct
- Principle – fundamental truth from which others are derived
The system that applies directly to being ethical. Applied ethics to the max!
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