New Internationalist

What Do You Believe In?

Issue 289

What are your ethics?

Read on to find out!

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Mainly As

You really don't like to rock the boat or hurt other people's feelings. This is at the root of your ethics. Compassion is your inclination. You tend towards woolliness and evasiveness and may lie to avoid causing pain. Your thinking is full of grey areas, and you would rather settle for a happy medium than an extreme point on anything. Aristotle, the moderate pragmatist, would probably be your sort of philosopher. You may also be something of a Utilitarian, looking at the consequences of actions rather than the motives, maybe even measuring actions in terms of the degree of pleasure or pain they cause. This means you tend to make up your ethics as you go along.moral responses.

Mainly Bs

Honesty is your forte. You have a clear-cut approach to life and have little time for moral grey areas and contradictions. For you ethics is a very objective business: you believe that there is a set of objective moral values that we can live by. Kant is probably your sort of philosopher. Your integrity commands respect, but you could also be open to criticism for having blinkered vision. Duty and order are all important, but your drive for these may at times mask a desire to punish. And your simple categorical approach could lead to your doing good and harm in equal measure - a notion you might find quite difficult to accept.Basically you are reliable, responsible and steady in your

Mainly Cs

Your ethics are unconventional and unpredictable. There is potential for courage and boldness - but also selfishness and capriciousness. It's hard to tell which way you will jump on moral issues. Anarchism probably appeals to you. The sceptical playfulness of some Post-Modernist philosophers might also suit you. Your subversive tendencies could land you in all sorts of moral tangles, and it may not always be easy to tell where your moral desire to challenge the system ends and your need to enact selfish desires begins. Morality can become quite a subjective affair for you, which earns you the disapproval of more rigorous people. But when it comes to it, you are probably no less moral in your actual behaviour than they are.

Mainly Ds

You take ethics quite seriously and notions of 'fairness' are very important to you. You are very concerned with 'doing the right thing'. Some people might see you as overly concerned with political correctness, a bit of a 'goody-goody'. You prefer to think the best of people - and in so doing may deny some of your more negative feelings. Basic Christian ethics have probably influenced you quite a lot, and guilt feelings play quite a powerful part in determining how you behave. 'Responsibility' is a very important concept for you. Modern 'social ethics' philosophers like John Rawls and Alasdair MacIntyr would probably appeal to you. You're inclined towards conventionality, following the rules of your chosen dominating ethic so closely that you could easily become intolerant of people doing things differently.

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