We will start the course with a brief discussion on just what are ethics.

Our ancestors were known for their highly ethical behavior. Can we apply those ethics to today’s world? What exactly are ethics? First, let us define exactly what ethics are not.

What Ethics are Not: Ethics are not doing what feels right. Ethics do not originate from religion nor is it the same as religion. Ethics and law are not always the same. Ethics are not necessarily doing whatever society finds acceptable.

Definition of Ethics

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So then, what are ethics? Ethics can be defined in two different ways: (1) as standards of behavior, and (2) as the study and development of standards.

Standards of Behavior: Ethics can be defined as well-based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, and specific virtues.
a. Rights: Ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy.
b. Obligations:Ethics, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud.
c. Virtues:Ethical standards also include those virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons.

The Study and Development of Standards: Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one's own ethical standards. Feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one's own standards.