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Morality, Ethics and Human Behavior

This chapter focuses on defining morals and ethics and what is included in the ômoral arenaö (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 ôprinciples of behavior in accordance with standards of right and wrongö and ethics as ôthe philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and the rules and principles that ought to govern itö (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 ôbad,ö while young people are considered not yet to have reached the ôage of reason.ö 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 behavior (Pollock-Byrne, 2002, p. 6).

This chapter explores two approaches to understanding how moral beliefs are developed. The first approach relies on philosophical explication to describe basic ethical systems. It posits that humans are creatures of habit who rely on general principles of right and wrong to avoid having to make new decisions each time a situation arises (Pollock-Byrne, 1989, p. 13). These underlying principles of right and wrong are our ethical systems or, as some wri...

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Morality, Ethics and Human Behavior. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:11, January 24, 2017, from