The Routledge Dictionary


Date of publication: 2017-08-22 09:16

In its emphasis on character, Aristotle’s account is much closer to Hume’s than to Kant’s, since character is about tendencies to feel and behave in various ways, as well as to think and choose. Given that Kant’s moral psychology is usually thought to be less plausible than Aristotle or Hume’s, it is interesting that Kantian approaches have, nonetheless, dominated modern approaches to retrospective responsibility. Why should this be so?

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For people who are not religious, or who have a different religious faith to decision-maker, these words are a little disturbing in the context of ethical decision-making.

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Culture is inextricable from conflict, though it does not cause it. When differences surface in families, organizations, or communities, culture is always present, shaping perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes.

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However, in asking "What is it to be responsible?" we might also have a second question in mind. We often praise some people as responsible, and criticize others as irresponsible. Here responsibility names a virtue – a morally valuable character trait. We may also praise an institution as responsible. One of the word’s original uses was to call for "responsible government." We can compare this with the more recent demand that corporations be "socially responsible." This aspect of responsibility has received very little philosophical attention.

A modern definition of 'stakeholder' is broader than the conventional ideas about shareholders, investors and partners, etc.

And because there are several choices there is often conflict. Making a decision does not always relieve this conflict, because you have rejected potentially useful or attractive choices. And there is often pressure to relieve this discomfort (or dissonance).

When we don't understand that others may have quite different starting points, conflict is more likely to occur and to escalate. Even though the starting points themselves are neutral, negative motives are easily attributed to someone who begins from a different end of the continuum.[6]

Examples of this happening through (Western) history illustrate the tendency for ethical considerations to drive the law: women's suffrage (women's right to vote) the abolition of slavery and modern human rights and equality legislation are examples of ethical pressures causing change in law.

A separate article, collective moral responsibility , discusses the issues that arise here. It may be useful, however, to indicate briefly how the four aspects of individual responsibility discussed above might apply to the collective case.

Though culture is intertwined with conflict, some approaches to conflict resolution minimize cultural issues and influences. Since culture is like an iceberg -- largely submerged -- it is important to include it in our analyses and interventions. Icebergs unacknowledged can be dangerous, and it is impossible to make choices about them if we don't know their size or place. Acknowledging culture and bringing cultural fluency to conflicts can help all kinds of people make more intentional, adaptive choices.

Humankind's - or any society's - capacity for ethical behaviour increases with its own safety and confidence of survival and procreation.

Extending this theme, in a practical sense, aside from what is covered by law or other clear standards, whether something is considered to be ethical by people (markets, customers, media, etc) is generally a matter of opinion. The same might be said of morality. Both concepts - ethics and morality - are subjective and a reflection of society and civilization, which of course implies that precise meanings will change. Both are relative in time and situation.

investment - few and fewer investors want to invest in organisations which lack integrity and responsibility, because they don't want the association, and because they know that for all the other reasons here, performance will eventually decline, and who wants to invest in a lost cause?

If you are reading this you realize how important decision making is in your life. In fact, your whole life is determined by the decisions you make , whether big or small.

A simpler broad definition of the word ethical is 'fair'. And 'fair' to fair-minded people, especially those affected by the situation. This is not a scientifically robust definition, but as you will see, when we peel back the layers of what is ethical, it's very difficult to be scientific and firm about what it all means.

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