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2. Decision-Making Model Analysis Paper

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Ethics are many things, but they are also not many things. It is easier to first say what ethics are not: a religion; a political stance; or a fad. Ethics are also not something that can only be understood by extremely intelligent people.

Ethics are personal and, at the same time, a very public display of your attitudes and beliefs. It is because of ethical beliefs that we humans may act differently in different in situations. Ethics can and do shift, whether we are with family, at work, at a sports event, at a religious gathering, in a professional organization, with friends, or alone. The list is endless.

The key to understanding our ethics is to understand our own belief systems. What do you believe and why? What people, readings, or events have led you to believe what is right and wrong? As you progress through your undergraduate major course of study, you will be expected to understand and apply appropriate ethics in any given scenario. Ethical standards do differ, which is why we so often hear the phrase 'situational ethics' to describe how people justify their own shifts in ethical stances. Why ethical standards differ depends on a number of factors, including personal background, field of study (e.g., a scientist may have different ethics from an English professor), and the attitudes of other, respected people. A person's ethics may also shift because he or she may or may not want to take responsibility for an issue or action. Usually, whether they realize it or not, an individual's personal and professional ethics are built on a foundation of basic ethical theory.

The great Greek philosopher Aristotle used ethics first as a standard of behavior (e.g., a code of ethics) and, secondly, as an area of study exploring the nature of morality:

* What is good?

* What is not good?

* Why do we think of it as good?

* Why do we think of it as not good?

This is the philosophical or theoretical use of the word ethics. It is this use of ethics that forms a major area of concern in many areas of society today. It is important that we root our ethics in an ethical theory so that we are as consistent as possible in our decision making.

We also need to realize that our personal and professional ethics may clash with the ethics of others, depending on their view of the world and their own background or understanding of a situation. There are always ethical reasons to help us explain what we do and why. These ethical reasons can and often do help us in our decision-making process and in our actions. At the same time, we should recognize and honor the ethical decision-making processes of others that may be different



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