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What is ethical and what is not?

Prior to studying the ethical frameworks, I always knew that ethics had to do with good and bad. When something is ethical it means it is good and when something is not ethical then it is bad. I always had the belief that good and bad things were obvious and universal so there won’t be dispute over whether a thing is good or bad because everyone knows what is good and bad.

It was not until I left my country that I my belief got challenged. I realized that people in this part of the world do things differently. For example people here dress differently, married ladies would put on shorts and walk around, male security guards and even bankers would put on ear rings. I saw these practices as bad and unprofessional, these are things that my society frowns at. The most surprising thing was that the people here did not see anything wrong with these practices. I asked myself why a society condones such practices when it is obvious that these practices are bad. To console myself; I concluded that this society is a crazy one.

If good and bad were undisputable things. Why this contradiction; one thing considered very bad in my society but accepted and even considered good in another society.

This question troubled my mind for many days, I tried finding an answer but I couldn’t find a satisfactory one. I got even more confused when I saw she males, I told myself that there is something wrong with she males, are they that ignorant to not realize that being a she male is bad.

All my questions and doubts were cleared during one of the ethics lecture. The teacher explained that there are many ethical frameworks and explained each of them. He told us that different people use different ethical frameworks when judging things. So to say something is ethical would depend on the framework that one is using. One thing could be ethical in one framework and unethical in another framework. Since ethics is all about good and bad it also means that good and bad weren’t isn’t something universal, rather it depends on the ethical framework that one is using. My question has been answered.

The effect of this to me was immense; thereafter I was more tolerant towards people’s judgment. I understood that people could use different ethical frameworks on the same issue. So the same issue could be considered ethical by someone and unethical by another one.

In conclusion, I must say that learning about ethical frameworks was one of the most important things that I have ever learned because it has not only answered my questions but it has changed me into a more tolerant person.


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