How Do Individuals and Societies Resolve Those Ethical Disagreements?
At its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives. Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy. The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition. If ethical theories are to be useful in practice, they need to affect the way human beings behave. Some philosophers think that ethics does do this. They argue that if a person realises that it would be morally good to do something then it would be irrational for that person not to do it.
Resolving ethical disagreements in scientific, technical, and engineering fields is harder or easier depending on the state of the objective information and the quality of the ethical reasoning brought to bear. Objective information includes verifiable factual information about physical phenomena under discussion, the causal processes at work in producing an effect or outcome, and the positive and negative effects of allowing the phenomena to occur or persist. The resources of ethical reasoning include clarity in defining the terms used in moral argument, common moral guidelines, debate through example and counter example, and logical probing of the coherence of arguments. Current controversies about such questions as the safety of introducing genetically modified organisms into nature, the safety of vaccines, the likelihood of H5N1 or some future strain of avian flu becoming contagious among humans and triggering a pandemic, or HIV treatments involve a mix of ethical and factual disagreements. Ending the factual disagreements does not guarantee resolution of all the ethical ones, because many ethical arguments do stem from differences of principle. However, working to develop factual knowledge sufficiently well proven to be accepted by many people with different ethical points of view would focus the ethical arguments differently.
An example of ethical conflict often arise where there is involvement of clients privacy and dignity. Clients have unequal power and status and hence their relationships with the human services professionals may differ significantly. An ethical conflict gets created because the client may not wish his her information to get shared to the public by the human services officials (Reid & Schram, 2012). To address this ethical conflict I would address the issue in an anonymous way through sharing of information using false names in blogs to create awareness, so that the client does not get affected directly by the sharing of the information. Sharing of certain information can help save lives in the community. Also, I would try to respect the clients’ wishes because some issues can lead to unnecessary lawsuits because different people in the client’s lives may feel offended. I would also identify organizations or groups of people that would get affected by my decision. The confidentiality code of ethics helps support my claim because it is important to keep the clients information private. Breaking this code could lead to loss of clients and thus disgrace the organization. Confidentiality helps the organization serve more clients and also helps the organization grow big. Also confidentiality shows that the human services professionals respect the traditions and cultures of communities and safeguard their believes (Woodside & McMlam, 2014).
As shown above, Moral realism now finds itself needing to answer questions about its veracity instead of posing them, and currently it seems to be struggling. This essay has shown that although the argument from moral disagreement is not necessarily valid in its most basic iterations, by narrowing the type of moral disagreement relevant to their argument, moral anti-realists can build up an extremely strong case against the existence of moral facts. The impetus is now with moral realists to defend their views, but, at least for the time being, we have very good reason to believe that the existence of moral disagreement does indeed give us good reason to believe that there are no moral facts.
Reid Mandell, B., & Schram, B. (2012). An introduction to human services: Policy and practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Woodside, M., & McMlam, T. (2014). An introduction to the human services. New York: Sharpe Inc.