Ethics is a Science (domain of knowledge)
When we think of ethics as a science (domain of knowledge) we can concentrate on learning the principles of ethics just as we would any other science. To be skilled in any science we must comprehend the fundamental principles of that science and we must learn how to utilize those principles in an objective manner.
Although ethics can be studied as a science it must also be studied as a matter of judgments made by humans under great sociocentric forces. Ethical principles must be applied in very complex situations in which we have only partial comprehension and are forced to make quick judgments.
What strategic elements can we rely on to help us in our effort to become sophisticated ethical agents? I think there are three such elements necessary for consideration when difficult ethical questions must be considered.
• Mastering ethical concepts and principles
• Distinguishing the science of ethics from other sciences or thinking
• Mastering the self when great ego, economic, and socio centric forces are in play
I think that at least some ethical principles are universal and to look for those principles I turn for guidance to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Here are a few principles laid out in the 30 articles of the declaration:
- All humans are equal in dignity and rights.
- All humans have the rights of life, liberty, and security.
- No human shall be enslaved.
- No human shall be tortured.
- All humans have a right to an adequate standard of living.
- All humans have a right to education.
- All humans have a right to peacefully assemble.
- All humans are equal under the law.
Many of these ideas come from “Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life” by Paul and Elder.
I think that we should study ethics both as a science and as a judgment made by humans under very difficult situations. What do you think about this matter?