Personal Morality

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Write 4–6 pages in which you articulate the basis for your personal ethical code and apply it to a contemporary issue.

Ethical conduct is an intensely personal, individual choice. Once you have formed a personal ethic, it is also important to articulate it.

Competency 1. Explain the nature of ethical issues.By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

    • State alternative positions with respect to a significant ethical issue.
  • Competency 3: Engage in ethical debate.
    • Assess the advantages and disadvantages of differing approaches to a contemporary issue.
  • Competency 4: Develop a position on a contemporary ethical issue.
    • Defend a personal approach to ethical decision-making.
    • Defend a position on a contemporary ethical issue.
  • Competency 5: Communicate effectively in the context of personal and professional moral discourse.
    • Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for professional communities.

    When it comes right down to it, ethical conduct is an intensely personal, individual choice. No one can distinguish right from wrong in a way that is binding for anyone else.Each individual is responsible for:

    • Developing a coherent set of ethical principles.
    • Applying them effectively in making moral decisions.
    • Pursuing actions that constitute a worthwhile life.
    What is your position? You will want to begin by placing your own position among the three distinctive approaches to normative theory. The difference between duties, consequences, and virtues is non-trivial, so all of us take into account what rules apply, what results we desire, and what traits of character we admire.

    • If you adopt a deontological approach, the crucial steps are to identify the source of moral rules and the conditions under which exceptions may be made to them. You will also need to devise a practical method for adjudicating between rules that conflict with each other, perhaps by prioritizing their importance.
    • If, instead, your approach is consequentialist, what matters most is the set of outcomes you aim to produce—are you concerned only with your own welfare, or that of the world more generally? Do you judge the intended results of your actions individually, or by reference to general guidelines?
    • If virtue theory is your approach, then it is vital to specify the traits of character and habits of behavior that you value most highly in life. In addition, your position will likely involve a detailed account of how these habits are best formed and maintained in individual lives.

    Naturally, many of us consider all three ways of thinking when faced with difficult life choices. But it will sometimes be necessary to pit their contrary recommendations against each other, leaving the ultimate standard and personal consistency at issue.Once you have formed a personal ethic, it is also important to articulate it. You would not devote your own life to a set of fundamental principles unless you believe them worthwhile for others as well. But even if you doubt that other people will accept your point of view, it is worth your own while to state and defend it explicitly, showing how and why you have committed yourself to this approach. Genuine clarity about your own position will emerge in the engagement that moral discourse provides.Finally, living an ethical life also requires that we extend our commitments to some larger cause; there must be something we care about, a moral project. What great issue do you care about? How can you share your own ethical convictions in a way that will promote the right position among other people? What legacy will you leave as your mark on the world?

Questions to consider

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

  • Although some thinkers believe that people invariably act in their own self-interest, others argue that genuine self-respect leads to personal responsibility. Whether we rely on a notion of duty, calculation of outcomes, or aim to be virtuous, the choices we make not only guide our own actions, but also commit us to a life of meaning and significance. What grounds your moral philosophy, and how does this view carry itself forward into strong convictions about broader issues?

Assessment instructions

Write a paper in which you explain your own basis for making ethical decisions. You are welcome to employ what you have learned from your study of traditional approaches, but you may also develop your own distinctive approach. In either case, explain in some detail exactly what foundation and process you rely on for choosing the right course of action, and support your statements with research from professional or scholarly resources.

As part of your paper, select a contemporary ethical issue about which you have strong convictions. It may be a social issue—such as environmental ethics, marriage equality, or bioethics—or a more personal issue—sexual morality, familial obligations, or care for the elderly, for example. The choice is up to you, but make it something you care about enough to make this project interesting and worthwhile. Address the following in regard to your chosen ethical issue:

  • Summarize the issue and explain alternative views about its resolution.
  • Assess both sides of the issue, critically analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Finally, show how and why your own position is correct. Think of this as an opportunity to persuade potential opponents of the reasonableness of your view.

Additional Requirements

  • Written communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: Include a title page and a references page, formatted according to APA (6th edition) style and formatting.
  • References: A typical paper will include support from a minimum of 3–5 references. You may use some of the materials recommended in the Resources, but you should also include support from your independent research of scholarly or professional materials.
  • Length: A typical paper will be 4–6 typed, double-spaced pages in length.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12-point.

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