How do we develop our ethics? What are the primary sources for us to develop our ethical position?

To answer the questions above, I believe from the time we were children we have been developing concepts of right and wrong which shaped our ethics. Our ethics are developed based on our family and teachers or whomever we were spending most time with during childhood. Other things like personal experiences, religion, and culture can influence the way we develop our ethics. In the text William H. Shaw states “many things influence what moral principles we accept: our early upbringing, the behavior of those around us, the explicit and implicit standards of our culture, our own experiences and our critical reflections on those experiences.’ During my youth, following the rules were very important to me. I have a memory as a child that I still remember do this day involving a personal and cultural experience. I was in the car with my mom and my sibling driving home. My sister refused to put her seat belt on, after a couple of minutes of my sister arguing with my mother about how she must wear a seat belt, my sister still refused. My mom then decided that if she wouldn’t listen to her then she would listen to the police. She started driving to the police station and I began to cry. I couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t wear a seat belt when that’s what all of society does. We arrived at the police station and my mom told my sister to get out of the car and explain to the police why she wouldn’t wear her seat belt. Instead of my sister getting out of the car she began to realized the importance of a seat belt. She has worn it every day since. In this situation the term ethical relativism is relevant. Ethical relativism is the theory that what is right is determined by what culture or society says is right. Society and our culture say we must wear seat belts, or we will be punished with a costly ticket. However, in countries such as Afghanistan there is no law on wearing your seat belt at all. This example shows how different cultures and society shape us as citizens.


Here is a link of where i found out which countries do/don’t require a seat belt. I found it to be quite interesting!



Shaw, William H.  Business Ethics. 9th ed., Cengage Learning, 2017

ChartsBin statistics collector team 2011,  Seat Belt Legislation, ChartsBin.com, viewed 24th May, 2019, <https://chartsbin.com/view/2028>.

2 Comments for “M4(Avise)”



I also wrote in my post, and therefor agree with you that our upbringing and childhood participates greatly in creating the ethical compass people bring into adulthood. Your example of culture is enlightening, I specified different culture within the United States. I like your example with Afghanistan and the vastly different laws that can be had by the culture of the country. Perhaps for a future post you could also tie in the ethics of not only seatbelts but women drivers and their limited capabilities in Afghanistan and how that compare to us. Your example even shows that it was a personal ethical experience that didn’t happen directly to you but still impacted you till now. What do you think some of the top ethical relativisms in the United States are today?

-Elizabeth McJannet Bratton



I completely agree with you that ethics is developed while growing up as a child! I believe that parents teach their children their own ethical morals through the use of words, and importantly through their actions. Parents tell us right from wrong and discipline their children if they do wrong through words or actions. I enjoyed reading your personal memory of how your mother handled the situation of your sister not wanting to put her seatbelt on. The story shows the love your mom has for both you and your sister, by caring that your sister keeps her seatbelt on while driving in a car so she is safe if an accident ever occurs. By driving to the police station, your mother is also teaching you both the importance of seatbelts, following the law and morals of what is right from what is wrong. Thank you for sharing!