Ethics essay: Mills, Kant, Locke and Aristotle combined.

Ethics Essay. Moral code Synthesis

Nam Nguyen


What divides us from animals is a conscience and the ability to have thoughts and to comprehend feelings. We naturally may have urges to do the wrong thing from time to time but just thinking about it, if the consequence outweighs whether it is worth it or not that’s enough to let it go. If a person is harmed in the process of you obtaining/succeeding a status or objective it is not worth it. This is what Kant believes in his Kant’s formalism thesis. I will be talking about four topics in this essay; The greater good (Mills), golden means/functionality (Aristotle), Rights/laws (Locke’s) and the human conscience (Kant). I believe Kant’s human conscience is just the medium or center of this ethics trinity that allows the others to branch out because the human conscience affects all three to some degree. You must have a human conscience to know what is for the greater good, to deduce the medium of two extremes, and to determine the rights of a person are infringed or not. I have simplified these subjects into it’s elements generalizing all their work and will identify them as such in this essay.

Kant’s formalism is very broad and very general, It could also be the very soul of ethics whereas the others are merely branches. A person must know what it is to have a conscience; the state of being sensitive to people and your environment is basically a universal common sense if you’re human. A case study could be as basic as: Johnny’s going to a birthday party with his work friends. Johnny has the money he is suppose to give his friend for his birthday but since everyone else is not giving his friend money, maybe it is possible for him to keep the money. This is basically a scenario where no one gets hurt but it weighs on the conscience whether a person should or should not give the money. And who is to say the person may not be hurt, it is borderline because he may know but doesn’t say anything and that hurts the most when you are lied to or stolen from especially from a friend. Choose what’s right.

Mill’s Utilitarianism is focused on the overall greater good of what the outcome of a decision has been made. It asks what scale is this decision going to affect people; The magnitude of effect or if a person will benefit from it, or a group of people or the whole country/world. One case would be “Tammy is the best accountant in the whole building but she always takes Jody’s office supplies without asking. Jody tells her numerous times to stop taking her stuff and complains to the boss every time. Tammy finally did it this time and lost a really expensive stapler she borrowed from Jody’s desk. Jason steps in and he tells Tammy that he lost it and saves Tammy from getting fired. Without Tammy, their best accountant the firm would fall apart. Jason did a service to the whole department by keeping the peace. The thought of taking the hit for the team in order allow everyone to work in peace is noble, material loss put aside saves a lot of headache and drama that may come out of it and even a possible job loss.

Aristotle’s golden mean is finding the medium between excess and lack of. The medium of two extremes is crucial in all laws in that it encourages moderation. If a balance between the two extremes are met then there will be a chance the subject/system will become more efficient and possibly even self-sustaining/self-resolving. Majority of the time when money is involved and a job is to be done it will get done with the right amount of funding. Too much and it may be potentially wasted and too little will give an inadequate product/result. It is for example used to determine whether or not a person needs the government funding for school. If they will pay it back in time or not, how much funding they require and how long they need it for. Basic questions like does the pros outweigh the cons of borrowing money. Or How much of the money will be spent on living expense. These are Aristotle’s ways of implementing their greek phi law of proportion into ethics. It also mentions function in which giving a student his funding allowing him to achieve to his highest potential will give him the opportunity and hope for a brighter future.

Locke’s Ethics and the rights that entail them; The rights of Locke’s legal, equality and freedoms suggests to say that Lock was looking for guideline rules for a system that had a lot of implications with people getting around the law. Though this is so basic rules set down will slow down the progression of these sneaky people. It is quite difficult to determine whether or not another person is infringing on another’s rights until you hear the whole story but seldom do you always get to hear the whole story. Locks says that everyone has the right to freedom of speech, ownership and equalities of every man and woman should be the same. An example of these type of rules are “No plagiarism” “No public toxicity” “No public urinating” “The right to remain silent” These are some of legal issues you would run into for breaking the “guideline rules” It’s mostly common sense to stay away from these but it must be written down in order for it to be used against a person because it’s a rule. There are guideline rules that are easy to know that it has been broken and punishable and they exist today to protect the infringement and breach of other’s rights.

The conscience of a person rules over all other branches of these rules and ethics. If it sounds wrong it probably is. The heart majority of the time will be able to tell what can be done and should be done. A person just has to remember when evaluating a situation; Is it for the greater good? What is the golden medium of this situation/will it affect his functionality? Does it break any guideline rules? And does it feel right? Mills, Kant, Locke and Aristotle all had component ideas to a system that works today. The use of all their ethical works in our daily lives with or without thinking about it is a miracle. And for every action there is a consequence and reaction that happens. There are rules, rights, moderations, considerations, functionality and benefits to be considered when making a decision and it all comes down to doing the right thing.

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