are Your Moral Beliefs?
An Ethical Inventory
The following inventory is as a diagnostic tool for discovering your own
moral beliefs. Although you are probably already aware of many of your moral
beliefs, this inventory will provide an explicit profile of your moral
values, attitudes, principles, and overall ethical philosophy. It therefore
functions as a mirroring or reflective tool that enables you to recognize, and
consequently critically examine, your operative (at work or effective,
often preconsciously) moral views. In addition, by putting your moral
viewpoints on paper, the inventory provides a visual medium for discovering the
degree of logical consistency, cohesion, or compatibility between your diverse
moral positions. From a logical perspective, your views may be very consistent
(coherent), partially consistent and partially inconsistent, or clearly
inconsistent (contradictory). Please mark the Scantron form—with a No.
2 pencil only—according to the evaluative scale below:
1. Strongly agree
5. Strongly disagree
B. ETHICAL INVENTORY
1. What is right and wrong depends on, or is
determined by, the specific culture you live in.
2. Ultimately, there is one and only one true standard of moral
evaluation that applies to everyone, everywhere, and at all times.
3. We determine what is right and wrong for ourselves only. Therefore, no one
has the right to judge another person’s character or actions.
4. It is futile and misguided to search for the final answer to ethical
5. In the moral life the truth is not singular or unitary.
There are many truths, sometimes partial and sometimes conflicting.
6. What is right or wrong depends on, is based upon, God’s moral standard
stated in sacred texts.
7. There is only one true religion.
8. All major religions make an important contribution to our sense of right and
9. If God doesn’t exist, then there is no solid
foundation for our moral values.
10. Sacred religious texts offer us moral guidance only if they are interpreted
as literal truth.
11. Regardless of what people say, everyone is ultimately just out for himself
12. Anyone who believes they are acting solely for the benefit of another
person is simply deceiving himself or herself.
13. Human beings are not really free, but are the product of their genetic
make-up, family upbringing, social environment, and cultural context.
14. In reality, everyone does what is strictly beneficial for themselves,
regardless of its consequences for others.
15. If people were invisible and certain they wouldn’t get caught, they would
indulge their desires and do anything at all.
16. Pleasure, in all its forms (physical, emotional,
intellectual, spiritual, aesthetic, etc.), is the most important thing in life.
17. I morally evaluate other people on the basis of their actions,
without regard for their motivation or intention.
18. Happiness is the most important thing in life.
19. In any given situation, the right thing to do is whatever will be best for
everyone involved and for everyone generally.
20. In trying to determine the morally correct course of
action, I basically examine the anticipated consequences of the various
actions available to me.
21. If someone does what they consider right, yet
their action results in unintended negative consequences, they should
given credit for their good intentions.
22. Morality is, regardless of our feelings and inclinations, basically a matter
of doing one’s duty.
23. Everyone should treat other people with basic respect for their human life,
dignity, and freedom.
24. Justice or fairness is the same for everyone.
Therefore, what is fair for one is fair for all.
25. One ought not only do what is morally right, but should
do for the right reason.
26. It is wrong to use another person as a means or tool to
achieve our own goals.
27. In a nutshell, morality is basically a matter of
respecting other people’s rights (human, civil, legal, etc.)
28. Non-human animals have rights.
29. Some human rights are absolute or unconditional; they
do not admit any exceptions whatsoever.
30. I have a right to do whatever I wish as long as it does not violate other
31. Everyone should have a right to health care, even if
they can’t pay for it.
32. Rights play a significant role in personal
33. It is ethically important and imperative to care about
34. Morality is primarily a matter of character, of
what kind of person you are.
35. Compassion or sympathy for the suffering of others is a very important moral
36. A genuinely ethical person is constantly striving for
moral excellence and is not satisfied with merely achieving the moral minimum.
37. Moral codes are survival mechanisms for the human
38. For the most part, men and women view and practice morality differently.
39. Emotions or feelings do not play any role at all in
moral deliberation or practice.
40. One should apply the same moral standards of evaluation
with friends and complete strangers.
41. Morality is basically a matter of obeying rules of some
kind, whether you want to obey them or not.
42. Morality ought to reflect or exhibit an individual’s ethnic and cultural
43. Generally, a variety of ethical perspectives and practices is a healthy
thing for a society.
44. Minorities have special rights by virtue of their
social status as minorities.
45. In general, sexual relations between consenting adults
are not immoral.
46. The will of the powerful, in any society or group, determines what is right
47. Doctor-assisted suicide should be legal for terminally
ill individuals of sound mind.
48. Homosexuality is unnatural and therefore morally
49. Morality is like a legal contract that we implicitly or
indirectly agree to follow.
50. There are various stages of moral development and everyone belongs to one
specific stage at any particular time.
*Source: adapted, with additions and
modifications, from Lawrence Hinman, Ethics: A Pluralistic Approach to
Moral Theory, 2nd ed., 1994, pp. 7-10.