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About Personal Ethics

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Ethics, also called moral responsibility, is a set of principles that governs an individual or group. Ethics provides a framework for making decisions. Personal ethics, or morality, is the actions taken by an individual within an overall ethical framework.


Personal ethics, or morality, is the effort to guide one's conduct by reason while giving equal weight to the interests of all individuals who are affected by one's decisions. Essentially, a person is to adhere to the ethical principles of his chosen position but also must scrutinize the application of these principles to make sure they are justified.


Often decisions are complex and no simple solution is apparent. In this case, the action that must be taken is the one for which the best reasons exist. The person must carefully consider all the implications of the action and try to bring about the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people. This is the basis for the principle of benefit maximization.


Personal ethics directs that a person be willing to examine and possibly revise her prior convictions and act on this examination. Such examinations allow a person to more readily keep pace with the rapid information and technological advances occurring in our world.

  • "The Elements of Moral Philosophy" (6th Edition); Stuart Rachels; 2010.