Morality, Ethics and Human Behavior

 
 
 
 
This chapter focuses on defining morals and ethics and what is included in the "moral arena" (Pollock-Byrne, 1989, p. 1). Morals and ethics relate to human behavior, which behavior stems from free will and free action (Pollock-Byrne, 1989, p. 2). The chapter defines morals as "principles of behavior in accordance with standards of right and wrong" and ethics as "the philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and the rules and principles that ought to govern it" (Pollock-Byrne, 1989, p. 4). Morals, therefore, are the ideas of right and wrong that govern behavior and ethics is the study of that behavior. The chapter also notes the difference between a teleological system of punishment, which focuses on the consequences of actions, and a deontological system, which focuses on motive and intent (Pollock-Byrne, 1989, p. 3).

The chapter also notes there are cases where many writers agree the concept of morality and ethics do not apply. For example, most writers exempt both insane and young people from moral responsibility. Insane people are considered sick rather than "bad," while young people are considered not yet to have reached the "age of reason." Notably, many states disagree on when children reach this age and legal punishments for children differ according to states' response to this particular question. Finally, the chapter notes that laws, regulations and rules are a means of inscribing ethics and morals into society's beha

     
 
 
 
    

 

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