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An Outlook On Ethics

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The Outlook on Ethics in an Academic Environment

Chakara Forney, Stephanie Goodloe, Reddick Hart

University of Phoenix - Little Rock


For academic institutions and environments to flourish, there has to be a code of conduct to assure the achievement of the purpose of the institution. This is where ethics comes into play. The word ethics is derived from the greek culture and means arising from habit. It is simply the study of value or quality from a personal stand. In an academic environment, the rules and regulations deemed a necessity by a university may vary, but the ideal of student behavior is a template nature. Due to the social, economic, and geographical blend of the student population, the moral standards exercised there in will definitely differ. With this stated fact, it is evident that an academic environment can only be as ethical as those who inhabit it. Lester says, "Skeptics must remember to always keep their eye on the goal. They must see the long view. They must attempt to win the war for rational beliefs, not to engage in a fight to the death over any one particular battle with any one particular individual or any one particular belief." In a world with many different ethical beliefs a person can not be bias to an opinion or the truth which is often misunderstood.

The Outlook on Ethics in an Academic Environment

Academics, an area, that in the past century has become ever changing due to the advancement of technology and the involved persons' innovative ideas. Ethics is a psychological study that has 3 major areas. First, meta-ethics: the study of ethics is in general, (what does an academic environment deem as ethical student behavior). Second, normative ethics: determining what is ethical and how to share it, (what are the institutions expectations of a student and how can they become common knowledge). Lastly, applied ethics: the study of how ethical knowledge is used, (how does a student apply the ethics expected of them). The fact is that ethics are primarily personal observations on situations, and the behavior to comply with the expected.

For centuries, many people have written on the subject of ethics trying to figure out the important concept of the matter. Are ethics just ones belief that a person has to follow pre-determined rules or instilled principals from their childhood teachings? General ethics, in one's opinion is an "understood" truth. This describes the first area of ethics, meta-ethics. Lester says, "Because a basic tenet of both skeptical thinking and scientific inquiry is that beliefs can be wrong. It is often confusing and irritating to scientists and skeptics that so many people's beliefs do not change in the face of disconfirming evidence." Dealing with ethics in any environment varies because people are different in each environment. People's actions, are generally governed, by their feelings towards their present situation and the company involved. People do what they feel is right mainly because of their up-bringing, even though it may not be right or accepted by all. Kuhlam says, "Since all people start of non-ethical, some people eventually learn good and others failing to learn continue on the path of short-sightedness."

Exactly what is the perception of the "ethical" student's behavior? A student with the behavior to, increase productivity and understanding in an academic environment, has a thorough understanding of what ethical student behavior is. Definite inclusions would be honest, respectful, helpful, responsible, and even punctual. These characteristics help explain the second area of ethics, normative ethics. The idea of ethics is not solely a personal interest. The purpose of ethics is to make everyone involved in the activity/environment comfortable. So, in a learning institution, a student that only uses their own information and research, waits their turn to speak, assists other classmates with general questions, pays attention for their own understanding and assignments, and does not distract the class with fashionably late entrances is one that any institution would be happy to have enrolled. Ethics is an expression of emotions and morale absolution. Meaning, a student would behave as ethically as the previous example, not for themselves but for their peers as well. This action is the basis for normative ethics.

The attempt to arrive at practical moral standards to distinguish right from wrong is normative ethics. Their base is on our actions being intrinsically good, which is good within itself. The fact that a person has the desire to further their education, for whatever purpose, reveals that some "good" traits are present within. Normative ethics has 3 approaches or possible views. The initial view is virtue ethicists, moral character. Then deontological ethicists, meaning what you have is not as important as how you got it. Finally, consequentialist-utilitarian, stating conditions are contingent upon one's behavior.

In an academic environment, these 3 approaches or views can be visible on a daily basis. A student who exerts moral wisdom and excellence is practicing the approach defined as virtue ethicists. We should strive and allow excellence or dedication for the common good in certain virtue ethics. Virtues are our characteristic traits that enable us to act in ways to develop to our full potential. Virtues allow us to pursue the ideals of honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, fidelity, integrity, fairness, and



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