Ethical ramifications are the positive benefits or negative consequences of making situational choices. This includes the chance to strengthen your soul, as Plato suggested, as well as Aristotle’s vision of ethics leading to personal happiness and the religious perspective of redemption. Individual integrity provides an opportunity for you to present yourself as an individual moral agent and demonstrate your reliability to those around you.
Plato proposed a vision of ethics that centered around doing good for your soul. For Plato, the act of making good ethical decisions is a process of exploration that begins with you questioning your ethics. According to Plato, negative ethical ramifications were the result of making ethical decisions that were not questioned or well-thought-out, resulting in a weakening of your soul's strength. Critical thought and introspection were key features of Plato’s vision of ethics. The positive result of a good ethical decision is a strengthening of your soul and a growth of your wisdom stemming from contemplation upon your sense of morality.
Aristotle contended that the purpose of ethics was happiness. His practical approach to morality centered around the individual setting strict moral goals and accepting the joy of meeting those goals. For Aristotle, the act of meeting your ethical guidelines leaves you with a feeling of joy and success, equaling happiness. Similarly, the negative ramifications of failing to meet your ethical standards are unhappiness and eventually feelings of self-doubt. Aristotle designated human emotions as extensions of the moral ideals of the individual.
Your moral integrity is a general term that includes you being a complete moral figure; that is, a responsible moral agent and a socially dependable person. A responsible moral agent is characterized by self-imposed moral standards and an independent desire to live up to those standards. The result of integrity is a sense of social dependability, or the ability of others to rely on your consistent ethical choices. The ramifications of good ethical choices are a strengthening of your integrity and the consequences of poor ethical choices are a weakening of it.
Religion presents another view of ethical ramifications, through the chance for spiritual redemption through an adherence to religious standards or the chance for condemnation based on a failure to live up to those standards. The idea of religious ethical ramifications relies on an acceptance of eternal consequences in the afterlife for moral choices made during one's life. Forgiveness plays a significant role in religious-based morality, allowing you to reinvest yourself in a moral lifestyle after making poor moral choices.
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plato's Ethics: An Overview; Dorothea Frede; May 2009
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle's Ethics; Richard Kraut; May 2010
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Religion and Morality; John Hare; October 2010
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Integrity; Damian Cox; August 2008
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