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A Critical Structure for Evaluating Modern Ethics Essay

  • Submitted by: farouq1212
  • on February 21, 2013
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 6,867 words

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Below is an essay on "A Critical Structure for Evaluating Modern Ethics" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics

Second Prize - 1990

The Meaning of Ethics Today: A Critical Structure for Evaluating Modern Ethics
Steven Jeffry Allen Edgewood College Madison, WI


The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity 529 Fifth Avenue Suite 1802 New York, NY 10017

The Meaning of Ethics Today: A Critical Structure for Evaluating Modern Ethics
The significance of ethical formulations, today, as in all times, is in their power for shaping attitudes and constraining behaviors.1 Ethics provide for a basic social need by defining the behaviors we expect and will accept from one another. In the ideal, our ethics allow us to live together, productively and in harmony. But within our generation there is the appearance of a growing disregard for the ethical standards we have been given. The erosion of these ethical norms is a source of social anxiety, creating distrust and moral callousness. In order to prevent further deterioration of the underpinnings of our society, we must act to discover and remedy the sources for our growing moral confusion. But I also believe we must act carefully and thoughtfully. As with any complex social problem, this ethical crisis will resist simplistic attempts at resolution. It is a mistake to equate a break-down in the function of the ethics with a deterioration of public morality. Our generation is not simply more self-centered or less moral than our predecessors. I contend that this appearance of moral degeneration is more accurately perceived as moral confusion. When we ask why individuals act unethically, we must also be prepared to ask why it is that our ethics make it seem to be in the individual self-interest to do so. Because our common morality limits our freedom to behave in ways we might otherwise choose to, it is not enough to simply proclaim the wrongness or rightness of an act. In order for our ethical...

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