Ethics ?

Rich Parsons

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Some recent threads here and elsewhere have got me thinking.

Someone does something we might find unethical, is it ethical to do something to the person?

An unethical person goes out and starts doing stuff to people in person, in the media or on the internet (* I know it is a form of media but should be separated for its' own sake of forums et al *). Should one just ignore these types, or should one look to correct their errors?

Even if you try to correct their errors there will be people who will never believe you just because it is you who or who trained with or who they trained with.


Is it ethical to assume that everyone will operate with same ethical behaviour as you?


With the above questions for people to think about and post, I also wonder what questions others have for and about Ethics?
 

jarrod

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good topic!

i'll have to chew on this for a while before i can give a more detailed answer. for now i think it is sufficient to say that ethics are somewhat subjective, & therefore if you live your life in conflict with everyone who crosses your ethical boundries, you will live primarily in conflict with the world around you. so with that in mind:

no, i don't think it's okay to do something normally unethical in retaliation IN MOST CASES.

it is not ethical or unethical to assume everyone will operate by your ethical standards. it is, however, naive & unrealistic.

jf
 

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Some recent threads here and elsewhere have got me thinking.

Someone does something we might find unethical, is it ethical to do something to the person?

An unethical person goes out and starts doing stuff to people in person, in the media or on the internet (* I know it is a form of media but should be separated for its' own sake of forums et al *). Should one just ignore these types, or should one look to correct their errors?

Even if you try to correct their errors there will be people who will never believe you just because it is you who or who trained with or who they trained with.


Is it ethical to assume that everyone will operate with same ethical behaviour as you?


With the above questions for people to think about and post, I also wonder what questions others have for and about Ethics?

Life can be very unforgiving, especially if you are the type of person, that tries to do the right thing. But, not everyone lives under the same moral, or ethical standards. What may seem right to one, may be very offensive or hurtful to another. Focus on yourself, if wronged, dont lash out, and if you wrong someone, own up to it. Life is only as hard as you make it. J
 

sgtmac_46

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You see....The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee..........


That probably doesn't answer the question....but I just wanted to say it! :)
 

terryl965

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Ethics is something that should be around at all time no matter if you do MA or not. To me it is simply always trying to do the right thing. Notice I said tryingwe are not perfect and will never be so we need to relize this and so does the people that train with us we have great day and bad days and sometime they interchanged at a moment notice. So as we are being all ethnical remember we are human.
 

jks9199

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It's never alright to be unethical. However, in SOME cases, an act that might normally be unethical would be ethical. Using deadly for is a great example; it's not ordinarily ethical to kill someone -- but, at least in my book, it damn well is if they're trying to kill you or someone else. But that's not saying that you can justify everything, either, or that one wrong act always justifies another.

Ethics is not black and white -- but they should be consistent. There's a lot more to be said; I'm going to have to think about how to say it for a bit.
 

HM2PAC

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The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee..........

Samuel L. Jackson pulled those lines off perfectly, eh?

Ethics is a fun topic.

My belief is that they are different for each person, and non-existent in some.

Far too many people have gone to accepting immoral and/or illegal actions as OK because someone may have a "different belief system" or a "different set of ethics".

In our society today many ethical standards are becoming way too malleable. Very few people will stand-up and take the risk of stopping or changing a wrong.
 

Kacey

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Some recent threads here and elsewhere have got me thinking.

Someone does something we might find unethical, is it ethical to do something to the person?

This is too wide open for me to answer; that is, there are too many possible situations. I will, however, point out that "he did 'x' wrong first" is rarely, if ever, an acceptable response outside of immediate self-defense, on the theory that two wrongs don't make a right. Working with middle school students as I do, I hear this from the students all the time - that it's okay to do something wrong to someone else because they started it. That way lies long term problems... such as feuds and wars.

An unethical person goes out and starts doing stuff to people in person, in the media or on the internet (* I know it is a form of media but should be separated for its' own sake of forums et al *). Should one just ignore these types, or should one look to correct their errors?

Again, this is too wide open to give a blanket answer to; there are too many possible situations, too many possible actions, too many possible outcomes. In general - ignore what you can; respond when you must.

Even if you try to correct their errors there will be people who will never believe you just because it is you who or who trained with or who they trained with.


Is it ethical to assume that everyone will operate with same ethical behaviour as you?

People expect to be treated as they treat others; therefore, an ethical person will expect others to treat them ethically - likewise, an unethical person will expect others to treat them unethically. This is a facet of human behavior that often makes little sense to me. Is it ethical to expect that people will respond with the same ethical behavior as you - well, that depends on your ethics, doesn't it? Whether you are ethical or unethical, you probably will expect the same in return - but if you are ethical, you'll get ripped off by the unethical, and if you are unethical, you'll be unable to trust ethical people, as they will make no sense to you.
"The rain is raining all around,"​
Uncle Douglas quoted,
"It rains on both the just and the unjust fellow.
But more, it seems on the just than on the unjust,
For the unjust hath the just's umbrella.
from The Moon by Night by Madeleine L'Engle

With the above questions for people to think about and post, I also wonder what questions others have for and about Ethics?

Like Terry, I try to do the right thing... and so do many of the people I know; others' only operating principle seems to be "what's in it for me?" Why do some people learn, and behave according to, ethical precepts, while others do not? It's not just environment, because one child from a particular home will learn, and another will not; by the same token, it's not just genetics. What causes the difference?
 

Cirdan

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Ethical is just a word for what is socially acceptable. The very word smacks too much of political correctness to me.

You make a lot of choises along your path, and live with the results.
 

hkfuie

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Ethical is just a word for what is socially acceptable. The very word smacks too much of political correctness to me.

You make a lot of choises along your path, and live with the results.

Wish I could have said it so well.
 

jarrod

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Ethical is just a word for what is socially acceptable. The very word smacks too much of political correctness to me.

i would disagree with this. socially acceptable has as much to do with traditions, etiquette, & norms as ethics, which is more specifically concerned with right & wrong. often what is ethical can even be contrary to what is socially acceptable. for instance, you could argue that even when slavery was socially acceptable, it was still unethical.

jf
 

Nathan20

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The laws and criminal Justice system today I think is all based on what everyone feels inside of them that Justice, retribution feeling whatever that wrongs must be righted.
That feeling of revenge and need for the person to be punished for there crimes is looked down upon in the western world, as if feeling that is wrong.
Victims are dis-empowered in the courts because they have no say and are put on the stand and victimized further, The courts and lawyers and judges and all those guys make a killing off what is the essentially the victims conflict.
Maybe I'm talking s**t I don't know I haven't slept in a few weeks.
 

Cirdan

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i would disagree with this. socially acceptable has as much to do with traditions, etiquette, & norms as ethics, which is more specifically concerned with right & wrong. often what is ethical can even be contrary to what is socially acceptable. for instance, you could argue that even when slavery was socially acceptable, it was still unethical.

I think you will find that all societies who practiced slavery like the Greeks, Romans, Persians etc considered slavery all right and not a bit unethical at the time.

The socially acceptable is only unethical to someone who has other definitions of right and wrong. Rare is the person who considers himself to be evil.
 

BrandonLucas

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Ethics is what's right...to you. Not to anyone else but you. How you were raised and taught and what you have lived through has shaped what your ethics are and will be. Is it ethically wrong to kill someone because they don't believe in the same thing as I do? For me, yes it is, but there are others in this world that do not share the same code of ethics. And, by every right, in their code of ethics, by believing in what I believe in, I am going against their ethics.

So who's right?

I don't think that there is an answer for that question. A better set of questions to ask would be:

Is there a right? Is there a wrong? If there is an ultimate right and/or wrong, who decides which is which?

The answers all come down to each individual person to answer, and there are as many answers to those questions as there are individuals that exist.

The point of all of this is that each individual person is responsible for their own actions, and each actions an individual performs is justified by their own individual reasons.

For example:

A man breaks into my home and is trying to kill my family. It is against my ethical code to kill someone, but it is apparently not against this man's ethical code. If the only way to subdue the attacker is to kill him in order to save my family, then the action is justified to me. I may still feel guilty about what I've done, and I may, in fact, be found to be guilty of murder by a jury that decides that there were other ways of subduing the attacker. But for me, since I'm the one in the situation, and don't have the luxury of being objective and can only make decisions based on being subjective, then what I've done in order to save my family is justified.

And technically, that is the purpose of a jury...to have a group of 12 different people with different ethics to decide the fate of the person on trial for the actions that they've taken that were justified in their mind by their own code of ethics.

Now, that's not to say that people don't ever act outside of their code of ethics, and do things that they know to be wrong by their own standards.

So, considering everything, is it ethical to me to do something that I would consider unethical to someone because they have done something that I would consider unethical to me? It's kind of a paradoxical situation: if I knowingly do something unethical by my own standards because someone else has done something to me that is unethical by my own standards, even if I have no choice, then the act in itself, by the very definition of my ethical code, would be unethical.

But, if I were to strictly follow my own ethical code without bending, then when presented with a situation where there is no other choice than to do something that I would consider unethical, then I could end up in a situation where ethics no longer apply...in other words, dead.

So, basically, I'm given a choice between doing what I consider to be the right thing, and end up dead, or doing what I consider to be something that's very wrong, and live.

It's human nature to survive, pure and simple.

So, if I'm doing something that I would consider to be unethical in order to survive, given no other choice, then by doing so would, by default, would be justifiably ethical to me.

The ultimate question, and the deciding question, would be:

Was there another option?

And there lies the paradox. In life, there are always other options: Where there is black, there's white. Where there's a beginning, there's an end. Where there is light, there's darkness.

So, if there are always other options, and I readily accept that there are other options, then to do something knowingly unethical by my standards is always going to be unethical, even when survival hangs in the balance.

That's why it's so hard for someone to accept ending another life in order to save their own or someone else's. Was there anything else that could have been done? Was there something that could have prevented this situation?

There is no concrete answer to the question in the OP. Basically, the situation ends in a paradox.

Excellent question, though. I haven't thought like that in a while.
 

BrandonLucas

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I think you will find that all societies who practiced slavery like the Greeks, Romans, Persians etc considered slavery all right and not a bit unethical at the time.

The socially acceptable is only unethical to someone who has other definitions of right and wrong. Rare is the person who considers himself to be evil.

Society does play a huge part in each person's ethical code. But, the same can be said for any aspect in a person's life that impacted them, whether it be negative or positive...it all shapes an individual's ethical code, and how each person acts when any decision is placed in front of them.

So, in other words, you can't just say that just because it was socially acceptable to own a slave that everyone within that society felt it was ethically and morally right.

Social acceptability is a part of a whole.

It's socially acceptable to wear $110 shoes to work out in. I can't ethically justify paying that much money for something that I can buy for less money that does the same thing, just because it is socially acceptable.

But, by the same token, I was raised in a society, family, and time that said that feeling attracted to another man was ethically wrong. Does that mean that I feel that others who make this choice are wrong for what they do? No. I feel that it is ethically wrong for me to feel attracted to another man. How someone else feels about another person is how they feel. It is not how I feel, and I choose not to pass judgement on someone else's ethical code...especially when it does not effect me or my way of living.

In essence, society dictated how that part of my ethical code was shaped...however, if society had totally dictated my ethical code, I wouldn't be able to accept anyone else's ethical code as to what is right for them, and would therefore think that any man who is attracted to another man would be wrong, no matter what the situation.

But, since I am an individual, and I have my own ethical code, I can accept that while it's not morally and ethically right for me to be attracted to another man, that someone else has a different code of ethics as to what's right for them.
 

hkfuie

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Someone does something we might find unethical, is it ethical to do something to the person?

An unethical person goes out and starts doing stuff to people in person, in the media or on the internet (* I know it is a form of media but should be separated for its' own sake of forums et al *). Should one just ignore these types, or should one look to correct their errors?

Even if you try to correct their errors there will be people who will never believe you just because it is you who or who trained with or who they trained with.


Is it ethical to assume that everyone will operate with same ethical behaviour as you?


With the above questions for people to think about and post, I also wonder what questions others have for and about Ethics?

I have formulate a few replies to this post, but I keep deleting them because I find it hard to stay on topic when the question is so vague. But I am going to give replying a try, b/c I think the topic itself is very interesting and fun to think about.

"Someone does something we might find unethical, is it ethical to do something to the person?"

That depends on what you do. If what I do is hurtful to the other, then I believe it is unethical. If I do something hurtful to the person who did something unethical, that is something I must live with. Since I have a strong conscience, I will cause myself suffering. That suffering is a good thing: I can learn to handle problems while being respectful and hopefully next time I will find a way to resolve the situation without causing me or them pain.

"An unethical person goes out and starts doing stuff to people in person, in the media or on the internet (* I know it is a form of media but should be separated for its' own sake of forums et al *). Should one just ignore these types, or should one look to correct their errors?"

Same response as above, I guess.

"Even if you try to correct their errors there will be people who will never believe you just because it is you who or who trained with or who they trained with. "

I think it is impossible to "correct" someone who does not want to be corrected. My philosophy is to show another way. If they want to take it, they will. If they don't, I cannot make them. If I try to MAKE them see the errors of their ways, I waste alot of energy trying to correct someone else's (the offender's) problem (by problem I mean their mistaken beliefs). You know what they say..Be careful when you argue with a fool. Doesn't take long before it's hard to figure out which one is the fool.

"Is it ethical to assume that everyone will operate with same ethical behaviour as you? "

I agree with Jarrod on this one. If I were to expect everyone to live by my code I would not only be naiive, I would cause myself lots of unnecessary suffering.

People who cause conflict have taught me countless lessons. Sometimes good things can come out of conflict if I can find an elegant response. It's a challenge. :) I think this is the art of life. I may be a fingerpainter in the art of life, but I practice lots. Someday I hope to be an artist.

At a women's training camp one year (PAWMA) I did an Aikido class with an amazing woman who talked about a quote that referred to the greatest expression of Iaido is "finding the sword that cuts together." I interpreted that to mean using the art to create unity. Seems like the best expression of martial arts training, in spite of all the work we do practicing destruction.
 

BrandonLucas

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I have formulate a few replies to this post, but I keep deleting them because I find it hard to stay on topic when the question is so vague. But I am going to give replying a try, b/c I think the topic itself is very interesting and fun to think about.

"Someone does something we might find unethical, is it ethical to do something to the person?"

That depends on what you do. If what I do is hurtful to the other, then I believe it is unethical. If I do something hurtful to the person who did something unethical, that is something I must live with. Since I have a strong conscience, I will cause myself suffering. That suffering is a good thing: I can learn to handle problems while being respectful and hopefully next time I will find a way to resolve the situation without causing me or them pain.

"An unethical person goes out and starts doing stuff to people in person, in the media or on the internet (* I know it is a form of media but should be separated for its' own sake of forums et al *). Should one just ignore these types, or should one look to correct their errors?"

Same response as above, I guess.

"Even if you try to correct their errors there will be people who will never believe you just because it is you who or who trained with or who they trained with. "

I think it is impossible to "correct" someone who does not want to be corrected. My philosophy is to show another way. If they want to take it, they will. If they don't, I cannot make them. If I try to MAKE them see the errors of their ways, I waste alot of energy trying to correct someone else's (the offender's) problem (by problem I mean their mistaken beliefs). You know what they say..Be careful when you argue with a fool. Doesn't take long before it's hard to figure out which one is the fool.

"Is it ethical to assume that everyone will operate with same ethical behaviour as you? "

I agree with Jarrod on this one. If I were to expect everyone to live by my code I would not only be naiive, I would cause myself lots of unnecessary suffering.

People who cause conflict have taught me countless lessons. Sometimes good things can come out of conflict if I can find an elegant response. It's a challenge. :) I think this is the art of life. I may be a fingerpainter in the art of life, but I practice lots. Someday I hope to be an artist.

At a women's training camp one year (PAWMA) I did an Aikido class with an amazing woman who talked about a quote that referred to the greatest expression of Iaido is "finding the sword that cuts together." I interpreted that to mean using the art to create unity. Seems like the best expression of martial arts training, in spite of all the work we do practicing destruction.

What you're saying is true to a degree.

Basically, my argument is this:

By definition, ethics is what our decisions in life are based on individually. There is no set code of ethics that everyone is required to follow. We each live by our own morals and code of ethics, and by doing so, everyone's definition of what is right and wrong is going to be different.

Take for example:

In the tragic events that transpired on 9/11, the Taliban felt justified in what they had done. To us, the vast majority of the world that do not believe as they believe, what they did was extremely unethical and unjustified. To us, they killed so many innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with their way of life, and that is unexcusible, by our code of ethics. (Or, so that this isn't confusing, by my code of ethics)

Now, on the other side of the coin, the Taliban felt as if they were opperating well within their ethical code. They felt as if we, as Americans collectively, had brought this on ourselves by simply going about our lives as we normally do. By their code of ethics, we, as a collective nation, were extremely unethical in our everyday actions, and thusly, they felt as if what they had done was ethical by their standards.

So while you and I think what happened was a terrible tragedy, the Taliban see it as a means to an end, and justified.

If there was a governing set of ethics that all of humanity was expected to live by, then the world would be a far, far different place than it is now.
 

hkfuie

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What you're saying is true to a degree.

Basically, my argument is this:

By definition, ethics is what our decisions in life are based on individually. There is no set code of ethics that everyone is required to follow. We each live by our own morals and code of ethics, and by doing so, everyone's definition of what is right and wrong is going to be different.

Brandon,

I don't see where what you are saying is anything different from what I am saying.

I think I said the same thing as you, but just wrote it in the words and concepts I use to think of it in my mind.

Now, it's also the same thing Cirdan said. Except I used LOTS more words. Something that is not unusual for me!

I agree with you. I set my own code of ethics. I have to live with what I believe to be right. I was just trying to address the OP b/c I get so fuzzy and go off into left field when I am speaking in such broad generalities.

Actually, one of the posts I formulated and deleted was in response to your post:

I agree with you...but I would add that in situations where there is a right/wrong, I always try to find at least a couple more options. A better exaple would be black/white. Before I close a decision for either black or white, which may be fine options, I would look for a yellow or purple option.

As far as your Taliban example, I agree. They see it as a means to an end and that the deaths were justifiable. They even believe this is what "God" wants. They believe they will be rewarded for this.

I wonder: what kind of God would want some of his creatures to torture and kill his other creatures? Personally, I cannot believe that any god would want that. But that is what I have chosen to believe. Maybe when I die, I will find out the absolute truth. Or maybe I will find nothing (gosh, I hope it's not that one!). Or maybe, like the last samurai, I will find..."they're all....gasp...perfect!"

If in reading my post you see that I am not agreeing with you, either I am misreading your posts, or you did not read my post...or maybe it's the yellow option: I did not express myself very clearly? Maybe it's the purple option...having a discussion like this on a forum board is really tricky and easily leads to miscommunication?

P.S. If, indeed, what I am expressing is different from what you are saying, please tell me how. I would be interested to hear what you have to say.
 

BrandonLucas

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Brandon,

I don't see where what you are saying is anything different from what I am saying.

I think I said the same thing as you, but just wrote it in the words and concepts I use to think of it in my mind.

Now, it's also the same thing Cirdan said. Except I used LOTS more words. Something that is not unusual for me!

I agree with you. I set my own code of ethics. I have to live with what I believe to be right. I was just trying to address the OP b/c I get so fuzzy and go off into left field when I am speaking in such broad generalities.

Actually, one of the posts I formulated and deleted was in response to your post:

I agree with you...but I would add that in situations where there is a right/wrong, I always try to find at least a couple more options. A better exaple would be black/white. Before I close a decision for either black or white, which may be fine options, I would look for a yellow or purple option.

As far as your Taliban example, I agree. They see it as a means to an end and that the deaths were justifiable. They even believe this is what "God" wants. They believe they will be rewarded for this.

I wonder: what kind of God would want some of his creatures to torture and kill his other creatures? Personally, I cannot believe that any god would want that. But that is what I have chosen to believe. Maybe when I die, I will find out the absolute truth. Or maybe I will find nothing (gosh, I hope it's not that one!). Or maybe, like the last samurai, I will find..."they're all....gasp...perfect!"

If in reading my post you see that I am not agreeing with you, either I am misreading your posts, or you did not read my post...or maybe it's the yellow option: I did not express myself very clearly? Maybe it's the purple option...having a discussion like this on a forum board is really tricky and easily leads to miscommunication?

P.S. If, indeed, what I am expressing is different from what you are saying, please tell me how. I would be interested to hear what you have to say.

We're actually saying the same thing. I think I misread your previous post. It's actually hard to keep straight the points being made because the topic is so topsy-turvey.

It's a very interesting topic, though, and an enjoyable discussion.
 
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Rich Parsons

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Everyone,

First, I left the idea open, as it is open. I cannot think of a way to define it in without putting PHL 345 in front of it and then it owuld be a narrow discusison. I was hopinh to see some general ideas that might lead to specifics.

Second, I did not make it open to upset or bother people, if you have specifics, then please narrow it down as that helps define the problem or helps create a model with given assumptions and inputs.

Last, Here is my way of defining issue which is different from the way BrandonLucas is definging them:

Morals - Ideas/concepts/etcetera coming from a small specific group such as a sub-culture or religion

Values - What the individual Values, and uses to make their personal choice.

Ethics - What soceity of representatives of a group determine to acceptable. i.e. Medical Ethics comes from within the Medical Community, based upon input from Society and the individuals defining the ethics.

Laws - What a group of people put in place to enforce or punish people for breaking societies ethics. i.e. Federal and State Laws for Murder or Theft, but not to exclude By laws of the Medical community or others that are used to remove a license for unethical behaviour.

Not that my Definitions are the only ones, but from where I was coming from when I made the post.
 
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