Ethical reasoning

Ethical reasoning




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Ethical reasoning can be defined as reasoning and determining what part of human conduct can be called right or wrong. I don’t think there is any one universal definition of right or wrong but actions are supposed to be appraised as to what harm or good they do to others.

There are various types of ethical thinking: utilitarian, egoism, deontology, relativism and justice. Utilitarianism holds that any action or decision should be viewed at and assessed in terms of its cost and benefits to society. An action is morally right when it brings more benefits than cost to society has more than any other alternative does (Boylan, 2000). Ethical egoism is the complete opposite of utilitarianism, this where one places his own happiness first before the happiness of the entire society. Relativism is understanding that what is held as true and right by one group may not be so for another (Rossouw, 2002). Deontology is the absolute belief and adherence to what is right despite of the consequences that may bring for example deciding not to cheat in the exam even though cheating may help him get higher grades. Justice holds that everyone is to be treated equally unless if there is sufficient reason to treat him otherwise.

Last semester I decide not to aid a colleague in the exam room though I knew that such a decision put our friendship in a tough position. This kind of reason is deontology. Doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do despite of the consequences. That was the right decision then as it is now. My friend is very dear to me and I can do anything to make him happy but not when it comes to breaking the law. It is not that he doesn’t know that helping someone to do an exam is wrong and unlawful in our institution. The exams are all over on the notice boards he must have read them

In conclusion, I believe that doing the right is an opportunity we all should never miss despite of the circumstances or the consequences.


BOYLAN, M. 2000. Basic Ethics. New Jersey: Prentice Hall

ROSSOUW, G. J. 2002. Business Ethics in Africa. Cape Town: Oxford University Press

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