Re: Ethics

Scott Badger (
Fri, 3 Jul 1998 09:58:46 -0500

From: davelook <> wrote:

>>> What exactly makes something unethical is *your* opinion of the act,
>>>even tho
>>>I may feel it to be an ethical act.
>>> Ethics and morals are totally subjective.
>>>Dave L.
>>>Ethics is not my field but I was never of the opinion that something is
>>unethical because *you* perceive it to be. *** I always thought the acid
>>boiled down to whether you were doing harm to another person or not.***
> That itself is a subjective judgement.
>>And not harm as you may narrowly interpret it, but harm as perceived by
>>victim of your actions (or inactions).
> The victim and you may have very different opinions of an act.
>If you prefer to say that the victim should decide the ethics of an act,
>fine by
>me. But you'd probably disagree once in awhile, in which case, who is
>"right", you or the victim?
>Dave L.

Yes, a better response to your original statement is that ethics are generally defined to be the rules of conduct (or the moral percepts) of a particular culture or group, and as such are understandably subjective. Individuals *can*, of course, have a code of ethics separate from the group, but when there is disagreement between two individuals' ethics, the most reasonable course is to make a judgement based on consensual ethical standards. In other words, whether harm was done must ultimately be left up to a jury of your peers. A sociopath can't be allowed to harm whoever s/he wishes simply because s/he has a *different* set of ethical standards. Likewise, a chronic *victim* cannot be allowed to gain by unfairly accusing others of harming them. Both individuals may be acting ethically from their frame of reference, but to use a phrase I've hear often lately... So what? Ethical standards have little meaning if they are confined to the individual level. Anyway I still disagree with your original assertion at the top of this post:


Got get me a snappy little byline, too.