Final - Nancy Ng Huang Prof Eliot Smith Intro to Ethics 27...

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Nancy Ng Huang Prof Eliot Smith Intro to Ethics 27 November 2007 Final Exam-“Can Ethics be Taught?” Can ethics be taught? We questioned this all semester long. After almost half a year of “learning ethics” I have come to the conclusion that ethics cannot be taught. According to dictionary.com ethics is “a system of moral principles.” And I personally think that principles cannot be taught because one cannot force their own believes onto another person. A person can learn ethics but it cannot be taught. For example, under any circumstance an individual can decide for its own what he/she believe is right for wrong but we cannot tell that person what is right or wrong. A case frequently used by my ethics professor is that of a young man stealing food for his sister newborn baby. It is easy to argue for either side. One could say that stealing is wrong and that the young man should get a job so he could feed his family for it is not fair to the person whose food originally belongs to. On the other side, one could also argue that society is cruel and does not give the young man a chance to support his family so he has to resort to stealing. Both sides have its point and in their own way they are all right. Who is to say which side is “righter”? For ethics to be able to be taught first there have to be a set of principles that dictates what is right and what is wrong. Obviously, this set of principles does not exist because it is not possible to write it. What is wrong to one person might be perfectly reasonable to another. Another case frequently used in my ethics class is that a man stealing medicines for his dying wife. Was it right of him to steal? We could argue that stealing is wrong which for the majority it is, but his dying wife cannot afford the medication and who is to say she does not deserve to live because they do not have the money to pay for medication. On the other hand, what if the medication that was stolen was supposed to use for another person on a deathbed. Who gets to decide who deserves to live?
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Ethics is the hardest subject in life. One might argue that medicines or law or
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This note was uploaded on 05/02/2008 for the course INTRO TO E EC151 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '08 term at BC.

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Final - Nancy Ng Huang Prof Eliot Smith Intro to Ethics 27...

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