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State PCS

Mains Marathon

  • 01 Aug 2022 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions

    Day 22: What are ethical values? Describe the importance of ethical values in applied ethics. (150 Words)

    • Define ethical value
    • Define applied ethics and discuss the importance of ethical values in applied ethics
    • Conclude suitably


    • The word ethical value is made from two words i.e., ethics (means what is right) and values (what is important). Ethical values are the values that are right but important like Honesty, impartiality, fair competition, non-partisanship, compassion, Service, justice, etc.
    • Ethical values guide the way that person is acting - what is considered acceptable or desirable behaviors, above and beyond compliance with laws and regulations.

    The conflict between Values and Ethics:

    • People tend to adopt values that they grew up with. They also tend to believe that those values are “right” because of their conditioning of their particular culture.
    • Conflicts can be a result of conflicting value systems. Person A holding the value of honesty higher than efficiency might not see eye to eye with person B who values efficiency higher than honesty.
    • Choosing which values to hold higher against another is a matter of ethical decision.

    Importance of ethical values in applied ethics:

    • Applied ethics is a philosophical examination from a moral standpoint of particular issues in private and public life that are matters of moral judgement. This uses application of moral knowledge to practical problems and uses philosophical methods to identify the morally correct course of action in various fields of human life.

    The different branches are:

    • Bioethics
    • Business Ethics
    • Military Ethics
    • Political Ethics
    • Environmental Ethics
    • Publication Ethics

    Let’s examine the application of ethics in various branches:

    • Bioethics:
      • In Bioethics, we must adhere to values like fair competition, values of rule of nature and universal laws along with national rules and regulation.
      • In bio-ethics gene editing is ethical as far as it helps to reduce human or animal suffering like cure or prevention of deadly diseases like cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, etc.
      • In the USA, doctors transplanted pig’s heart into human after gene editing of heart. It seems ethical. But the fabrication of babies by gene editing in China named Lulu and Nana is unethical because it goes against the fair competition (a gene edited baby could have super human), Law of Nature, might is right (because poor can’t have such sophisticated technologies).
    • Unlike applied ethics, utilitarian ethics justify programmed babies with superior qualities because the end is justified although societal norm seems against it.
    • Military ethics:
      • In military ethics, the ethical values like selfless service to nation, trustworthy to comrades, and wound to military rules, provisions and operation guideline and law of proportionality.
      • Unreasonable use of force, self-interest in organisations working and lack of dedication to either nation or colleague marked as unethical practices.
      • Here applied ethics in the military orgnisation can be different from the bioethics. For example, in bioethics human life recognised as most precious thing but in military ethics the goal of orgnisation is supreme and for that goal scarification of humans is justified.
    • Here it seems watertight division of ethical values between the orgnisation in respect of applied ethics. The ethical values of one orgnisation in applied ethics are not equally valued/respected.
    • Applied ethics guide our action where our moral values and societal/organisational values are conflicting. Because applied ethics also bound by the values, vision and goal of the orgnisation.
    • Applied ethics does beyond the normative and metaethics to guide human action for orderly and morally stable society.
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