Many people tend to equate ethics with their feelings. But being ethical is clearly not a matter of followings one’s feelings. Ethics, however, cannot be confined to religion nor is it the same as religion. Being ethical is not the same as following the law. The law often incorporates ethical standards to which most citizens subscribe. But laws, like feelings, can deviate from what is ethical. Finally, being ethical is not the same as doing “whatever society accepts.” In any society, most people accept standards that are ethical. But standards of behaviour in society can deviate from what is ethical. An entire society can become ethically corrupt. Nazi Germany is good example of a morally corrupt society. What then, is ethics? Ethics is two things. First, ethics refers to well based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standards (Williams, 2010, pp. 2-4). Cheating is defined in the dictionary as, to deceive by trickery; swindle, however the dictionary fails to tell you if it is right or wrong to cheat. People have many different beliefs when it comes to cheating; some think its fine to do while others completely disapprove (Sullivan, 1992). Consequentialism/Utilitarianism:
Utilitarianism is the best known version of consequentialism. According to Mill, “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” (Mill, 2003) So the ultimate aim of each person is predominantly, if not exclusively, the promotion happiness (pleasure).
Is it ethical to cheat?
According to a study of Washington Post conducted over the last year, 64% of high school students have cheated on a test and 38% did more than two times. “Though 64% of high school students said they cheated, 93% said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character.” (Boenisch, 2008) Whether an act is morally right/ethical, it depend consequence of the act and/or on related things such as motive behind the act or a general rule requiring acts of the same kind. For example; if we ask people if it is ethical for a wife to have a baby from other man while live with husband. Most people would say it is not ethical. But if we look at the story; in the book of Eat Pray Love (Gilbert, 2006); the writer met a Balinese healer who used to treat people for physical, mental, and social illness with the knowledge of healing, goodness, and ethic. Women, who cannot make baby, come to healer to have baby. After examine healer finds no problem with wife but the husband. Blame always goes to wife even beaten by husband. Not only is that, wives threaten to divorce. So, only solution to live together is to have baby. Healer arranges young man from village to live with the women. Most of the cases healer was successful. Now I believe many people might thing that action is right because of related thing and the consequence of torturing.
Is it the ethical obligation to report cheating?
Let’s look at our question from the utilitarian point of view. If someone reports cheating it’ll create problems for the cheater and he’ll be unhappy, so here we can’t talk about promoting happiness and pleasure. But at the same time the person who reports will feel happy because he acted according to his conscience. And also the act of reporting cheating can change the cheater and while it isn’t late make him stop doing it. As a result he’ll become a better person. In the situation if we report cheating we see that amount of happiness created is more than amount of unhappiness.
Now let’s see what will happen if we notice cheating and don’t report it. The cheater will be happy because he wasn’t caught and will get a good mark. But at the same time will be made great harm to the college or school where he...