M1 (Ballou)


Our ethics are derived from the culture and society that we are raised in. From childhood to adulthood, we learn our ethics from watching the people around us and from the punish vs. reward system in life, also called utilitarianism. If a child observes their parents stealing and committing other reckless crimes, isn’t the child more likely to steal and cause harm to others because that child has had different ethics established in their life? Utilitarianism is the idea philosophy that every decision we make is an effort to maximize the amount of happiness we feel. If a child is punished for stealing a chocolate bar and the punishment caused more unhappiness than the amount of happiness brought by stealing and eating the chocolate, then the child is not likely to steal. This child will likely consider stealing as unethical in the future. A person may also decide their ethical stand point so that it aligns with what makes them happiest. Consider a young woman who is a new drive and is very much against speeding. Ethically speeding is wrong to her because of the dangers it poses to the speeder and the other drivers on the road. After a few months of driver this now experienced driver realizes that driving fast can help you if your late, seem more time efficient, and can be fun. This young woman has changed her ethical position coincide with what makes her happy.