Personal Ethics Paper

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Personal Ethics Paper (What Ethics Means to You)

When one takes an ethics course, several thoughts may come to mind. Some examples of these thoughts include, “This class is useless. How will it help me in my career? Why is this class even required?” However, I believe ethics is a very important topic, especially to myself because in less than two years, I will enter the business world as a professional accountant. As an accountant, we are responsible to report the financials of a company. Investors depend on these financials to decide which company or companies they will invest their hard earned money. If these financials were skewed by the accountants or upper management for merely personal benefit, an investor could be fooled into investing into a company who is about to declare bankruptcy or in serious financial trouble. The investor could then lose their hard earned money due to lack of ethics from the accounting department. This is why ethics means to me to always be honest and do the right thing even if it causes harm to yourself.

As history progressed, several ethical theories developed. These ethical theories include the Golden Rule, egoism, teleology (Utilitarianism, Consequentialism), deontology (Rights Principles, Kant’s Categorical Imperative), virtue ethics, and the Six Pillars of Character. I believe the ethical theory Utilitarianism fits me best. Utilitarianism’s ethical doctrine states, “Actions should be performed with the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people in mind.” Utilitarians consider the interests of all stakeholders affected by a decision and choose the decision that produces the “greatest good to the greatest number” of people. I consider myself a Utilitarian because I do exactly this: every decision I make that affects other people besides myself, I try to maximize the benefits while minimizing the harm. For example, if I had dinner plans with my friends, and we had trouble choosing a restaurant, instead of just choosing a restaurant that only I like, I would choose a restaurant that the greatest number of my friends likes, even if I do not like it myself. For instance, if I was having dinner with five of my friends, and four out of the five friends prefer to have Mexican food, then we would decide to have Mexican food that night. We would have Mexican food even if I did not want to have Mexican food because a majority, four out of six people, wanted Mexican tonight. Choosing to eat this maximizes the benefits to the six of us. Another example would be if I had scheduling conflicts. For example, if I had class at the same time my mother needed a ride to a doctor’s appointment, I would definitely skip class to take my mother to the doctor. As a Utilitarian, I want to maximize the benefits to my mother and myself. If I were to not take my mother to the doctor and go to class, my mom would still be sick and be required to wait until another time to go to the doctor. However, if I skip class and take her to the doctor, my mom would get better quicker and I can just get the notes from my friend and study at home. Benefits have been maximized and harm has been minimized to my mother and me.

Even though I am currently a Utilitarian, I have not always been this way. I feel that as we age, we learn to think of others and therefore become less selfish. When I was younger, especially during my teenage years, I was certainly a self-interested Egoist. However, I also cared about the interests of others, so I believe I used to be an Enlightened Egoist. Enlightened Egoists have self interest as their first priority, but they still permit for well-being of others. I made sure no one was harmed in the actions I did for my personal benefit. For example, I am currently a Masters student in the Masters of Accountancy program at the University of Houston. I am doing this program because I know it is better for my future. Receiving this degree, I will most likely receive better...
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