Natural law ethics
Answer 1 - Definition of Ethics
The word ethics comes from the Greek word ethos meaning character. Ethics are the foundations or defining elements of character.
Answer 2 - Personal Ethics System
Moral judgment is defined as the ability to chose right from wrong and to know why that difference exists. To consciously be able to give up the wrong and accept and embrace the right is the essence of an ethical system. A personal experience in regard to upholding my own ethical system arose when as a student, I had to chose to side with my class or take a separate opinion. One of my classmates had cheated on an exam and was caught. He was to be suspended for two weeks, and placed on probation for another semester. However the entire class decided to back him up, and protest against the decision. But knowing that my classmate was in the wrong I felt in against my ethics system to support him. I therefore refused to back him up and was joined by a few of my other friends. Thus there was no protest.
Of all the eight systems presented, the one that is seen to have most merit by the writer is that of Situation Ethics. According to this system, although generalizations exist regarding certain ethical and moral dilemma and there is a basic code of ethics that is adhered to, there is yet no confinement. There is a respect of the fact there is no absolute decision or action. It also conforms to the principle that people behave differently given different circumstances with different stimuli. It condones certain actions but it also makes them acceptable in certain exceptional circumstances, making the implementation of the ethical system dependent on the situation.
Situation ethics demands as is stated that a face be attached to a moral or ethical dilemma and not just the silhouette. It demands that that face be defined in all its contours and textures before any judgment is made regarding a decision. It calls for rationalization and the need to depend on ones own sense of justice and morality that should not be rigid and constricting rather subtle and flexible. However that does not imply that it should be any less morally enforced.
It is seen that the system with the least merit is that of Behaviorism. The reason primarily for this is that it undermines the humans ability to rationalize and make intelligent decision regarding moral dilemmas on his own. It calls for a go with the flow attitude, that is unacceptable to the definition of ethics. As ethics is defined as a system whereby one chooses what to do and also knows why he makes that choice. In other words he rationalizes a choice of makes it out of duty or due to a rule or law, but he makes the choice. Behaviorism states that the human will merely react to external stimuli. It also states that the human behavior may be changed if it is unacceptable, but that the behavior will change when the stimuli are changed. Again attesting to the fact that behavior is again dependent on the stimuli and not the individuals rational choice to behave in a certain manner.
This system also contains the primary drawback, which is but an extension of the one currently explained in that it makes another person the controller. As that some other person has to change the stimuli to which the person on question will react in a certain behavioral manner.
My own personal ethics system is developed based on the command ethics as well as the situation ethics systems. As I believe in a Supreme Being - God, who has laid out a set of guidelines, but I also feel that I certain circumstances, exceptions to the rule may exist. Life is not static. And neither can a human being be. Rationalization is the greatest part of my personal ethics system. I believe that all humans are born with the ability to choose right from wrong, and that all humans are aware of a certain code of ethics that exists. However they are also provided with a rational mind, which has the ability to make conscious choices and decisions in certain situations that may be exceptional to the code. That rational mind is further honed in by the influences that one receives in his or her own lifetime, such as cultural, parental and peer, as well as religious. In my personal case my religious training as well as my parental influences have been the greater factors that have contributed to the development of my ethical system, which I base on rationalization.
According to Aquina's circles the most basic laws are in the innermost and the more general are outside, where reason plays a greater role. An example of a law that may be on the outer side is that two people of the opposite sex must not behave intimately in a social gathering. Or perhaps that one must never attempt to wrong another purely due to creed or cultural difference.
The one factor that is the “gatekeeper” of our natural inclination is “human reason.” Or the rational mind. It is what helps to define the nature of what is acceptable when and what is not acceptable when. It is the one facet of Natural Law Ethics that justifies and also helps to interpret the baser instincts of man.
Answer 8 - Relationship Between Natural Law Ethics And Science
Natural Law Ethics allows scientists to explain how things work in the universe, and that leads to the question of why? It helps people to attain a certain degree of knowledge that may answer the why, by taking them to a theological threshold. Some may rationalize it as there being a Supreme Being that controls things; others may claim it to be the natural order. But scientific knowledge attempts to clarify the natural law.
Answer 9 - Primary Problem With Natural Law Ethics
The chief complaint and problem that exists and is encountered by those that attempt to follow the system of Natural law Ethics is its ambiguity. They are faced with its lack of clarity and the fact that it leaves a lot to human reason. The interpretation and the definition of a great many laws are situational or especially the ones that are on the outer circles according to Aquina, are not specific rather generalized. They can be interpreted based on cultural relativism as well as duty and virtues. But the underlying factor is human reason.
Natural Law Ethics as a system stands out in the two particular areas of the possibility of universality and its common sense approach. It is universal in that all people and all humanity can embrace its concepts, as they are based on the simple and basic codes of human nature that is prevalent in all humans. Thus all can abide to it. And secondly it attempts to answer all questions with reason and common sense leaving the further interpretations beyond basic human nature to reason and the individual and how reasons with himself and the laws.