CDLE Ethics Paper 1 - 2016

Dr Guy Forsyth

Ethics and morality are often seen as esoteric concepts, and are often misunderstood. Just like good manners, everyone thinks that they have been correctly taught what is right or wrong, good or bad, but the reality is that most people do not have a framework for understanding the conceptual underpinning of why they hold these particular beliefs. In order to behave ethically and know the difference between ethical extremes one must be aware of the different perspectives of ethics. These perspectives are known as meta-ethical perspectives; they provide a means of determining whether one’s conduct is ethical under different perspectives of ethics. Moreover, they enable us to make ethical decisions by considering more than one, often our default, perspective. The four perspectives of virtue, rights, utility and care are presented to identify the ways in which any decision can be rationalised based on one perspective or another. This understanding is essential to leaders, in particular, who must demonstrate ethical conduct and exercise ethical decisions if they are going to engender trust in followers and, most importantly, exercise good leadership