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"ETHICS LECTURE NOTES"

06/24

The practice of law and any other profession is guided by ethics. Our everyday
actions are guided by standards, norms, principles. There is an implicit
understanding among us that when something or someone does an act to
another, we can pass judgment which is attained on commonality and similarity.

We have a common understanding, for example, we abhor violence. There is a


norm, a standard that governs a particular community or culture. These norms
are technically ETHOS in Greek, where the word ETHICS was derived. ETHOS
was inherited by the Roman culture, using the term MORES, where the word
MORAL was derived. MORAL and ETHICAL are equivalent terms and can be
used interchangeably. These become standards of our actions. These are
derivative norms which allow people in the community to make judgment on what
is right, wrong, proper and improper.

TYPES OF NORMS OPERATIVE IN THE COMMUNITY:

1. TECHNICAL NORMS something to do with relating means to ends;


designed to cope with changes of nature; part of these norms is exploring
and developing ways to be more efficient in coping with the different forces
of nature.

Ex. Means to survive in floods, typhoons, earthquakes

2. SOCIETAL NORMS norms that ensure unity, solidarity; provides


certain manners (speaking, relating with others, customs, attitude,
dressing) rituals, celebrations, ceremonies; to uphold sense of
belongingness in the society; determines the appropriate and
inappropriate; expresses the identity of culture.

Ex. Marriage rituals

3. AESTHETIC NORMS norms which are purely subjective to a particular


culture in perceiving the beautiful and pleasing in terms of its form, shape,
taste, texture, etc; concerned with pure emotion and sensation, not
intellectual. Ex. Fixing and grooming ourselves, arranging things in our
homes
07/01

In review of the different norms, operating in our society, norms that are technical
are those that have something to do with how people, how the society would try
to cope up with different forces of nature, like flood, typhoons, pollution,
environmental sanitation, hygiene.

So, thats why every community formulates ordinances, laws, policies, in order to
address these concerns. Because of course, we have to attend to these
problems like flooding in Davao, we can always say, some authorities would say,
it happens all over the world, of course we can invoke that.

Perhaps its not so much in terms of rationalizing and justifying, but its more of
what can still be done to improve our drainage system, etc. Plus other factors
contributing to the flash floods, like the ongoing development of so many
subdivisions and villages up there, and resorts.

Technical norms are those that would allow us to cope up, to avoid, to address
different changes in nature, forces of nature, climate changes that would threaten
the survival of individual members of society.

Closely intertwined are the societal norms, which are very important because
the society has to maintain its being intact, united, being bonded together. They
also come up with norms that would insure these manners of speaking, attire,
specific rituals observed, conduct which is permitted, approved, disapproved,
prohibited. These are societal norms. Part of these are what is called norms
that would determine how we judge people, those who belong and those
who dont. We can more or less identify which those who come from a particular
area and those who come from a different area. In terms of how man behaves in
his particular community. We can recognize new members of the community,
visitors or strangers.

Aesthetic norms. One of our deepest yearnings as individuals is to express


what is inmost in terms of the beautiful because in expressing it, we tend to
be creative, and productive in our self-realization, that we become fully
human, that we are able to attain our highest self-realization in being able
to express ourselves according to our desires, and yearnings, especially
the beautiful. The experience of what is beautiful in terms of how people
perceive would also allow people to experience the therapeutic, soothing,
pleasure in being able to take hold of ones being, being able to appreciate
oneself, being able to express what is inside by expressing what is outside.
There are what we call norms that would help us articulate, express this deepest
yearning for what is pleasing, what is soothing, what is ennobling, what is
therapeutic.

1. ETHICAL/MORAL NORMS in the narrower sense (not general);


emanates from a particular community or culture, which may not be in
equal footing with another culture that may also have a peculiar sense of
what is moral on the basis of their own tradition.

There is peculiarity or variation in subcultures. Moral norms in a narrower sense,


have something to do with the very tradition of a community. The tradition of a
particular community manifests itself through a peculiarity. Moral norms in a
community, for example, in a parish, what is moral is whatever the church
says or teaches (ethico-religious). The word of the church in the
community is the last word, which people will refer to as the basis for any
action. And it becomes a moral decree, which people are bound to follow,
an authority which expects obedience from its constituents. In many places, it will
be expressed in varying ways, example, church collections. Non-compliance of
which can result to being ostracized, or punished, or sanctioned. Ethico-
religious norms that operates in the society, according to which, we seem
to conduct ourselves, subconsciously at times. In a particular community,
these ethico-religious norms creates an ideal vision or goal which serves as an
implicit guide. On the basis of this ideal vision, our acts are considered to be
good or bad, right or wrong.

This ideal vision creates an exigency, an imperative, a demand, whether


we like it or not. As an imperative, it is what compels, obliges, forces us to do
only that which is approved, and not to do that which is proscribed. It becomes
fundamental because we feel that we do not have the right to question such
authority.

DEONTOLOGICAL ETHICS act done is a moral duty, obligation

Right or wrong refers to moral obligation, duty.

Approved right. Not approved wrong, deviation from the ideal vision.
TELEOLOGICAL ETHICS telos (end); act done brings fulfilment, completion,
perfection as an end

Good or bad conformity, fulfilment, completion, perfection.

In accordance with ideal vision good. Not in accordance with ideal vision bad.

07/08

VALUE useful, significant, desirable

1. the desire, need, yearning of a person in general. Ex. Food, water,


clothing
2. the qualities of the object which addresses the need, the yearning, the
desire.
3. the actual desires of a person, independent of the others.
4. what the community actually desires.
5. what is intrinsically desirable. Ex. Respect for human dignity and human
life

ETHICS and MORALITY the moral experience which we inherited from our
predecessors and which we have internalized. Forms part of our whole being.
Received as a tradition, not our own, but undergoes transformation.

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO MORAL TRANSFORMATION

1. Psychological maturation internalization, which later leads to


appropriation and questioning. a person makes it his own. application,
reapplication. creative interpretation
2. The very nature of moral experience leads to reflection compliance,
later leads to realization of an imperative or exigency that observance is
needed, which leads to an action. The action is born out of a persons
discernment. reflective action arising from initiative.
3. Encounters with other cultures exposure to other culture unfamiliar to
own, later leads to the realization that own culture may not be sufficient.
Utilization and accommodation of other cultures in addition to ones own.
No culture can claim a monopoly of truths. These encounters
contribute to the development, maturation, and dynamism of ones culture.