Morality refers to the way in which we conduct ourselves or make decisions with regard to what we consider right or wrong. Morality defines the conducts, values and principles of human behavior. According to Joyce, morality determines human conducts or moral responsibilities in relation to predetermined standards, values and beliefs (2010).
Morality is multicultural in nature and thus may vary from one culture to another. Morality derives its principles and values from a variety of cultures (Clark & Poortenga, 2003). For example, what may be considered moral in Western America may be rebuked and considered immoral in Southern Africa or East India. In my view, morality describes the principles, values and standards that direct, control and guide ours actions and decisions. Furthermore, morality entails moral codes conducts, values and principles that guide a person in decisions making processes and in determining the most appropriate courses of actions to take when faced with various life problems or challenges.
Reasons for Being Moral
For my part, an individual needs to be moral for his or her own benefit and existence. Moral principles often help one in refraining from destructive behaviors and conducts. It also helps one in making rational decisions concerning life issues. Through strict observance of moral values and principles, an individual is able to make rational judgements between what is right and what is wrong. He or she is able to differentiate between good and bad. Morality controls our conscious and thinking. This consequently results into making appropriate decisions and hence taking productive courses of actions.
Additionally, morality is needed to create harmony and peaceful co-existence within the society. An individual must therefore choose actions that are beneficial to him or her as well as have the capability to serve the best interests of the society as a whole (Clark & Poortenga, 2003). For example, a person should not pollute a water body such as a river that is used by other people in the society because this may hurt them. Water pollution is a threat to the health of society members.
Morality also teaches us how to conduct ourselves before others. It teaches us good behaviors. Morality also helps us in determining appropriate goals and objectives to pursue in life. For example, a person cannot aim at starting a drug dealer business given that it is morally wrong in most societies.
Domains of Ethical Assessment
This refers to a set of four tools that are used in assessing the morality of a conduct, value or belief. These four domains include action, character, consequences and motive. Action refers to what facilitates or ignites a particular conduct. In moral assessments, an action refers to a particular act or accomplishment undertaken by an individual. It is the actual conduct of a person. Moral actions are those conducts that are directed towards good are considered rightful whereas immoral conducts are directed towards wrongdoings. When making particular actions, a person must give adequate considerations to moral standards. On the other hand, character refers to personal traits and qualities. In morality, an individual’s characters are fundamental in determining his or her ultimate behaviors.
Thirdly, consequences refer to the final outcomes or results of an individual’s conducts. A person’s behavior may result into positive or negative impacts. Additionally, the consequences may be serious or less serious, depending on the intensity of the actions. Consequences concern the impacts that a particular behavior has on the welfare of other people. An act may either hurt or benefit other people in the society. For example, stealing from another person or killing someone is an immoral act because it causes damages to the affected party. Last but not least, motive refers to the driving factor or force that inspires a person in making a given decision or taking a particular course of action. People should be motivated by moral acts and values only.
Unique Characteristics of Moral/Ethical Principles
Moral or ethical principles are guided by various characteristics such as societal benefits, common good to all people, the double effect principle that implies that moral acts have both positive and negative effects as well as show of respect and dignity to humanity (Wong, 2009). Additionally, moral principles are characterized by tolerance, that is, ability to bear with other people’s view, whether they agree with or contrast personal beliefs and values.
In occlusion, the issue of morality is a dynamic topic that varies from one culture to another. Different societies have different beliefs and thus assigning a universal definition to morality becomes a tricky task. However, people must adhere to the set values in the society in order to harmonious live with other people.