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Carl J Tengstrom

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Member Since: May, 2012

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The Law And Morality
By Carl J Tengstrom   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, May 04, 2012
Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012

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Law is not the beginning place, nor is it the ending place when it comes to ethics. Our moral ideas often shape the character of our laws. Criticism of laws and proposals for change in our laws are often based on a shared moral ideal that is not being achieved.

Ethical theory starts out from the thought that people act rationally and that they make free choices. These conditions are not entirely true . People make mistakes and they act emotionally and therefore make mistakes. Ethical rules are to follow in our relations with other people. In ethical theory, there is a clear distinction between normative and descriptive ethics. Normative statements tell us what is right in some essential way and what we should do. Descriptive statements on the other hand tell us about the behavior of people. They also tell us what ethical rules a particular society has adopted.

What is the connection between law and ethics? In a way, ethics precedes law in the sense that ethical principles help to determine whether we should pass a specific law or not. Some laws enforce ethical rules. Ethics enforce us to obey laws -- not because they are laws, but because laws bring out the obligations and the prohibitions of ethical rules. In general, we have an ethical obligation not to break agreements and contracts we have concluded.

Is it always ethically right to do what is legal? There are ethical rules, which many people accept, but which would be difficult or even wrong to enforce with laws. In the new technology, there appear to be new problems. It takes time to recognize these new problems and to consider appropriate solutions. Ethics fills the gap between the time technology creates new problems and the time when you pass suitable laws. The situation is the same when ethics fills the gap between general standards of law that apply to all cases and when you have to make choices in a specific case.

Ethics is the theory of the morality. It is a well thought-out notion of good and evil, right and wrong. The morality is the custom of the ethics. *


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Reviewed by Peter Egan 5/5/2012
So where do empathy and conscience fit in?

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