Ethics 1, Question 3
Discuss how an individual learns to determine right from wrong and explain the factors that influence this determination. (100 words minimum)
Humans tend to learn how to distinguish "right" from "wrong" from their early role models (most often their parents). In addition, as they grow and begin to take their place in society, they learn about society's notions of "right" and "wrong." (Thompson, 8) As they do this, they begin to determine where they fall within society, and how the nuances of society's morals will affect their own. In addition, they will learn to respect the values of whatever subgroup they may be part of (religious, political, econiomic), and so they will learn that what is right in some cases is not in others. (ibid.)
There is also the notion that humans are automatically endowed with a notion of "right" and "wrong" simply by being human, called conscience, which will lead us to the notion that some people are "broken" (psychopaths and sociopaths) as a result of their inability to learn to use these skills (or as a result of missing them entirely). I don't really buy this notion, that people are sometimes just naturally "broken," but the alternative that it is learned behavior to have either no conscience or one that functions improperly due to learned behavior may actually be more frightening to me. (79)
- Thompson, Mel. "Teach Yourself Ethics." Blacklick, OH: McGraw, Hill Companies, Inc., 2006.
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