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A Review of Ethics Concepts & Theories

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A Review of Ethics Concepts & Theories

Educational Objectives:

1. Explain the type of problem that is addressed by philosophers. 2. Explain how ethical norms help address ethical issues that arise in accountancy. 3. Contrast the views of Mills, Machiavelli and Kant. 4. Describe what is meant by a social contract. 5. Analyze a given situation and tell why it would be appropriate or inappropriate to lie. 6. Explain the views of Kierkegaard and contrast him from other existentialists. 7. Discuss the concept that ethics cannot be based on religion. 8. Explain the use of ethical reasoning and how it can be used in your professional life.

Introduction

The major ethical principles accepted in the western world follow guidelines and rules that must be universally applied in all situations. These ethical principles are established primarily on the basis of teachings set forth by philosophers throughout the ages, starting with the great Greek thinkers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. As you might expect, there have been many alterations 修改 to these moral principles throughout the years. What was considered ethically correct by some was rejected by others and replaced with their own concept of what constituted moral or ethical behavior.

A Comment about Philosophy:
Philosophy, unlike science, addresses issues that cannot be solved. In fact, some philosophers state that if a problem can be solved, philosophers will not even address the issue, feeling that it should be considered by other disciplines. One of the most notable examples of philosophical inquiry is the commonly quoted question posed by Bertrand Russell: “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, will it make a noise?” While these types of mind games may interest some, they become difficult to apply when ethical issues need…...

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