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ETHICS
What are Your Moral Beliefs?
An Ethical Inventory

 

A. INSTRUCTIONS

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
2. Agree
3. Undecided
4. Disagree
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 questions.
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 wrong.
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 or herself.
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 still be 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 people’s rights.
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 relationships.
33. It is ethically important and imperative to care about yourself.
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 character trait.
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 species.
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 background.
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 and wrong.
47. Doctor-assisted suicide should be legal for terminally ill individuals of sound mind.
48. Homosexuality is unnatural and therefore morally perverted.
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.


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