Universal or Core Values

Topics: Ethics, Value, Truth Pages: 5 (1434 words) Published: July 23, 2007
Universal or Core Ethical Values
Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship — are six core ethical values. Using core ethical values as the basis for ethical thinking can help detect situations where we focus so hard on upholding one value that we sacrifice another — eg we are loyal to friends and so do not always tell the truth about their actions.

Trustworthiness concerns a variety of behavioral qualities — honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty. Honesty
There is no more fundamental ethical value than honesty. We associate honesty with people of honour, and we admire and trust those who are honest. Honesty in communications is about intent to convey the truth as best we know it and to avoid communicating in a way likely to mislead or deceive. There are three dimensions:

Truthfulness — truthfulness means not intentionally misrepresenting a fact (lying). Intent is the crucial distinction between truthfulness and truth itself. Being wrong is not the same thing as being a liar, although honest mistakes can still damage trust. Sincerity/non-deception — a sincere person does not act, say half-truths, or stay silent with the intention of creating beliefs or leaving impressions that are untrue or misleading. Frankness — In relationships involving trust, honesty may also require us to volunteer information that another person needs to know. Honesty in conduct prohibits stealing, cheating, fraud, and trickery. Cheating is not only dishonest but takes advantage of those who are not cheating. It's a violation of trust and fairness. Not all lies are unethical, even though all lies are dishonest. Occasionally dishonesty is ethically justifiable, such as when the police lie in undercover operations or when one lies to criminals or terrorists to save lives. But occasions for ethically sanctioned lying are rare - eg saving a life. Integrity

There are no differences in the way an ethical person makes decisions from situation to situation - no difference in the way they act at work and at home, in public and alone. The person of integrity takes time for self-reflection so that the events, crises and the necessities of the day do not determine the course of their moral life. They stay in control. The four enemies of integrity are:

•Self-interest — Things we want
•Self-protection — Things we don't want
•Self-deception — A refusal to see a situation clearly
•Self-righteousness — An end-justifies-the-means attitude Reliability
When we make promises or commitments to people our ethical duties go beyond legal obligations. The ethical dimension of promise-keeping imposes the responsibility of making all reasonable efforts to fulfill our commitments. It is also important to:

Avoid bad-faith excuses — Honourable people don't rationalize noncompliance or create justifications for escaping commitments. Avoid unwise commitments — Before making a promise consider carefully whether you are willing and likely to keep it. Think about unknown or future events that could make it difficult, undesirable or impossible to keep your commitment. Sometimes, all we can do is promise to do our best. Avoid unclear commitments — Since others will expect you to live up to what they think you have promised to do, be sure that, when you make a promise, the other person understands what you are committing to do. Loyalty

Loyalty is about promoting and protecting the interests of certain people, organizations or affiliations. Some relationships — husband-wife, employer-employee, citizen-country — create an expectation of loyalty. Prioritizing Loyalties. Because so many individuals and groups make loyalty claims on us, it is often impossible to honor them all simultaneously. Consequently, we must rank our loyalty obligations in some rational fashion. In our personal lives, for example, it's perfectly reasonable, and ethical, to look out for the interests of our children, parents and spouses even...
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