Arguably, ethics describes certain standards of behavior telling how humanity should act when faced with various decisions or situations. An evaluation of ethical systems helps the society to discern and determine what is beneficial or detrimental to the survival of humanity. An ethic represents an acceptable moral behavior that controls how a person or a group of people behaves. Good ethic is recommended in any given society as it promotes moral values among people. Notably, ethics should be entirely based on human reasoning, as it is a vital factor in ensuring accepted behaviors among people. In any location where good ethics is practiced, minimum cases of criminal activities are reported.
Basing ethics entirely on human reason has a number of benefits that makes it acceptable among many people and societies (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007). Such benefits are also supported by various theories, for instance, the Kantian ethics theory that asserts that the immediate advantage is basing ethical issues entirely on human reasoning. According to this theory, there should not be any form of discrimination against any part of humanity or social order as both only appeal to some innate reasoning (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007). Notably, a cohesive and relevant ethical system is crucial as it cushions against any form prejudice. Also, such a system sets acceptable guidelines and principles to ensure strict adherence to moral conduct in a society (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007). Additionally, a feasible ethical standard emphasizes on the respect and justice (equality) of humanity. It is also important to note that basing ethics entirely on human reason is significant in that it discourages making such decisions that can be detrimental to a social order. Generally, ethics is crucial in overcoming some innate problems that face societies and the corporate world, such as favoritism (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007).
In correspondence to these observations, natural law theory also explains strengths of basing ethics entirely on human reason. The theory explains that all the creation by a supreme being (God) have an inherent reason for existence. Part of the reason that forms the basis of natural law theory is the significance of using human reason in performing various activities for example reproduction (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007). Among the fortes explained by the natural theory include preservation of life. The law preserves lives in numerous ways as it protects the rights of the people and appreciates human lives. Ethics allows all society members to live together without any form of dispute, given that everyone will respect the rights of the other (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007). Human rights are essential and, therefore, for a peaceful coexistence, there is need to respect everyone’s rights. The law appreciates human virtues, for example, justice for all, and this encourages peaceful existence among various people (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007).
Ethics requires a non-judgmental approach, especially when making some crucial life decisions, and does not require emotions to influence any aspect of human life. In many occasions, many people, given the privilege to make decisions, have failed to apply the natural law of ethics and in turn have made unacceptable decisions (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007). Humans are required to apply the natural law of ethics, especially those who are in high authority. Emotions should also not guide (influence) decisions that people make in their daily lives.
Essentially, natural law offers morality approach that is rational and explains that different cultures and societies have their own values that they consider ethical (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007). The natural law theory asserts that basic common sense should guide people in establishing good moral values and behaviors that are accepted by the society. In the world today, various cultures and communities have varying differences on behaviors, values, and practices that are considered ethical (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007). For instance, a particular practice in one socio-cultural system may be considered ethical while the same practice may be viewed as unethical in another social system. For example, the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in some of the Asian cultures is considered ethical while the same practice is unethical in the American society (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007).
Even though basing ethics entirely on human reason has numerous strengths, it equally has some flaws (weaknesses). The weaknesses negatively influence good morals, values, and behaviors in various societies. Kantian ethics law explains that most people lack knowledge on moral laws. The moral laws that translate to good ethics are not well-founded among several people (Sullivan, 2004). Different people have different opinions and perceptions on moral laws, and this makes it difficult to encourage good morals among various societies. For the past decades, blames have been apportioned on social media for promoting negative ethical behaviors in the American society (Gilbert, & Rasche, 2007). The social media is viewed as encouraging the vice by showing various activities that are considered of ‘bad morals’ in other cultures (Sullivan, 2004). Lack of knowledge on moral laws has led many people losing ethics and following those behaviors that do not promote ethics. Additionally, Kantian’s theory suggests that moral law is not well established (stipulated), such that several persons are not well conversant with various ethical issues (Sullivan, 2004). The argument shows the weakness of entirely basing ethics on human reason.
A universal maxim is a universally memorable guide (quotation) aimed at promoting good values among people (Sullivan, 2004). Maxims should be easy to interpret and comprehend given that they revolve around the inherent nature of rationality of humanity. Various maxims are developed so that people may always be guided by the strength of the word contained in the maxim (Sullivan, 2004). An example of a developed universal maxim may include the rationality of human nature, which Kant describes as ‘Human nature is rational’. It is basically an active role played by the human to ensure the guide is followed to the later (Sullivan, 2004). As such, the idea of maxim can only be of significance if it is followed properly by the society. Most developed maxims are of benefit as they stimulate ethical standards in a society. For maintenance and development of any given maxim, humans must play certain roles. In the above developed maxim, humans must take certain roles (Sullivan, 2004). Humans are rational naturally, and hence, the maxim is relevant. In addition to that, they should be objective to satisfy the maxim that human nature is rational.
In the United States, the ethical system design is largely based on the principle of such behaviors that can only be understood through an in-depth examination of the various factors and force interactions (Cohen, 2006). In essence, the current American ethical system revolves around accountability and compliance to the set legislations and ethical standards. Any conflicting interests in the ethical system are solved through various ethical standard approaches that are universally accepted. For instance, the US ethical system largely applies the theory of utilitarianism in its approach to the various ethical issues facing the American populace (Cohen, 2006). Essentially, utilitarian approach propagates that the actions of humanity should provide the most good (benefits) and positively contribute to the welfare of humanity. Notably, the US ethical system can be described to be based on ‘rules and regulations’ that aims at providing the best benefits to the society and uphold the welfare of the populace. However, to some scholars, the US ethical system can be described as ‘situationism’ (situation ethics) (Cohen, 2006). The argument is that the American system is tone between legalism and a system that rejects all the principles regarding the morality of humanity (Cohen, 2006). However, given the position of the US in the global stage and its role in ensuring that the rule of law and equality prevails in countries with repressive regimes, the prevailing ethical system can be described as that which adheres to the ‘rules and regulations’ (Cohen, 2006). For example, the freedom and rights of the US citizens are protected by the constitution that has legislations barring any form of discrimination. Similarly, the US Government emphasizes on the strict adherence to the rule of law and to the set codes of conducts among its citizens and in other countries globally (Cohen, 2006).
The human race has a tendency of being irrational given that people mostly follow their ‘instincts’, but a viable ethical system acts as a control of such thoughts. The conduct of an individual should be one that is universally accepted.
Cohen, F. S. (2006) (Eds.). Ethical Systems and Legal Ideals: An Essay on the Foundations of Legal Criticism.
Gilbert, D. U., & Rasche, A. (2007). Discourse ethics and social accountability: The ethics of SA 8000. Business Ethics Quarterly, 17(02), 187-216.
Sullivan, R. J. (2004) (Eds.). An introduction to Kant’s ethics. Cambridge University Press.