Essay Example: Overall Picture of My Values and Ethics

Published: 2022-07-08
Essay Example: Overall Picture of My Values and Ethics
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Philosophy Ethics
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1691 words
15 min read

Values and ethics are essential elements which define the character of a person. They give information about who we are and the things we hold dearly. In most cases, they are defined by our religion and culture because they have significant effects on our beliefs (Mulgan, 2014). Personally, my values and ethics are influenced by love. I try to treat everyone with both respect and love. In the army where I am a sergeant, many people see me as a respectful fellow, and they enjoy my company. The origin of the values (love and respect) which I hold dearly can be traced back to my early childhood stage. From childhood, my parents ensured that my I grow up with utmost discipline, I knew when to talk, how to speak, where to speak and what to say. I also grew up in a loving family where everyone was treated as if he or she was part of the family. Even though in some cases care would be exercised on the limit of relations, respect was for anyone was not an issue to be discussed. I, therefore, grew up with the same characters as they were nurtured from my early childhood stage. Today, I still respect both my seniors and juniors in the military.

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My Story

One of the best stories which can also help in describing my ethical belief can be traced when I was joining my teen-hood stage. As the norm, most teenagers usually feel important and want to be recognised following the rapid changes that they may experience as a result of adolescents. I was not an exception. I decided that I was old enough though a bit shy I had to do something to be heard in the house. I engaged in a fight with my elder brother as a way of proving my masculinity. When my father came back that evening, he demanded to know what had transpired, my elder brother narrated the entire event, and I was made to answer where I had adopted such a character. I was unable to say anything because I had never seen anyone going physically in the house. My father chose to discipline me with one-week counselling sessions and introducing some restrictions. For example, I was only supposed to take two meals a day while everyone observed the three basic rules. I just ate breakfast and super. I spent the rest of the hours with him in which I received counselling on how to live in the society and how I should be able to manage my teenage-hood stage. From that moment onwards, I never went physical with anyone; I joined the army because it was the only discipline organ which can accommodate my discipline nature. Even though my parents may not have a say in what I am supposed to do today, I always remember the different relatively punitive punishments I was given whenever I wanted to go astray. I am who I am because of their teachings.

Ethical Perspective (Utilitarianism)

Based on the upbringing I received, I am a firm believer in utilitarianism. Utilitarianism gets construed as one of the most powerful approaches to the normative ethics in the history of philosophy (Barrow, 2015). The perspective is usually distinguished by the impartiality and the neutrality of agents. It is a theory that is grounded on the good of everyone. I am a believer in other people's welfare. I operate on a simple rule, their interest first then mine follows. The ethical perspective only considers action as morally right if the consequences of that particular action are good. It can just exist in the absence of pain. In consideration of the link between the activities and the happy or unhappy outcomes, there is no moral principle which is considered absolute under the perspective of utilitarianism. Another theorist like Richard Cumberland supports my view by recognizing human happiness as an incumbent issue since God approved it. Some people view utilitarianism as distasteful because it does not offer enough support for human rights. They believe that utilitarianism does not justify the actual definition of human liberty. If the justification of the right is based on the tendency of ensuring happiness and mitigating suffering, then the chances are that the pivotal point of utilitarianism is redundant.

Another criticism levelled against utilitarianism is drawn from the aspect of impossibility. The opponents of the perspective are of the opinion that it may be difficult to make everyone happy because of the variety in preference and taste. Happiness may not also be quantified or measured. Therefore, it may not be possible to calculate the trade-off which exists between intensity and probability or those aimed at comparing happiness and suffering. The third criticism pertains to the impracticality of the ethical perspective. Calculating the effect of something against an individual may be difficult. The principle of utility is, therefore, a description of an action which makes something wrong or right. It may not imply that we may calculate what is either right or wrong both accurately and in advance, therefore, the criticism comes into picture when the ethical perspective fails to produce a desirable consequence (Fiala & Mackinnon, 2015). The proponents of utilitarianism like myself believe that people misconstrue the actual meaning of utilitarianism and have their ideas grounded on certain misconceptions.

For example, they believe that utilitarianism opposes happiness to usefulness and that it is only concerned with the happiness of the greatest number of people. From the very moment, the ethical perspective was formulated by Bentham until the time when people like Singer decided to add recent modifications; utilitarianism has always been concerned by the happiness of all people regardless of the identity of the individual who is involved. It counts the interest of both the human and non-humans on equal measures to ensure that whatever is considered morally good is not singled out to a specific group of people or organisms but everyone. Even though some critics view the perspective as not theoretically clean because of lack of clarity about it being an essential work of God, it stands as one of that ethical perspective that considers the good of everyone. I view it as a selfless perspective which when adopted by a whole society can lead to the unified nation and mitigate chances of conflict and violence. In some cases, the utilitarianism may not go along with virtue ethics based on the different emphasis which they both have. For example, virtue ethics mainly define the existence of virtues about problems while utilitarianism considers morality based on the consequence. Most importantly, the two share a relationship since they all support the idea of the collective "good."

Why and How adopted the Ethical Perspective

I adopted the ethical perspective of utilitarianism first because of my upbringing as mirrored in the first and second section of the paper. I was taught how to be loving and respectful, and the two virtues cannot exist without the idea of selflessness that provides for the good of everyone. Going to church every Sunday, there were teachings from the Bible about Jesus virtue of sharing and those of love. Therefore, while in church, I learned that being selfless and praying for the good of other people will invite God's blessings to my life. At this particular stage of life, the aspect of utilitarianism was casual because it was either based on the Biblical teachings or those that were received from home. When I joined the school, it was also the same teachings. I also came to realise that the "common good" for everyone was teaching that cut across different religions because in school you meet people from different cultures and backgrounds.

The stage in which I learned about the ethical perspective with the criticisms levelled against it is in the tertiary institution where there were philosophy courses. Today, I can apply the principles of Utilitarianism in my day to day military work. I was also able to use the ethical perspective in reconciling other ethical conflicts which did not support the common good of the society. It has grounded a belief in me that whatever does not have good consequences must be avoided at all cost. Today as an adult, the ethical framework which I draw is based on that which promote proper decision making. It is only through appropriate decision making that one can be able to weight the consequences of an action before concluding whether they are good or bad or if they promote the common good of the majority of the people. It is also notable that culture and history played an essential role in the development of utilitarianism. For example, I grew up in a culture where people loved staying together and participating in the activities that promote peace and cohesion. Much of my culture is grounded on the views of the modernist times where peace was considered a key issue (Mill, 2016). Respect was also accorded based on numerous fronts. We hold the beliefs dearly to date. On the part of history, it is notable that the ethical perspective was developed during the philosophical era. There have been criticisms and support levelled against it by great philosophers and theorists who lived many years back. Most significantly, utilitarianism still affects the manner in which we live and do things by promoting the common good of the people.


In summary, I am a respectful and loving person because of the kind of upbringing I got. I also share in the ethical perspective of utilitarianism even as I continue serving in the military as a sergeant. I have a dream of becoming a Military General so that I can transform the entire unit and make it better even as we strive to make the nation a safer place to live. Years have passed, and I have remained the same person based on virtues, ethics, and ethical perspectives I have acquired.


Barrow, R. (2015). Utilitarianism: A contemporary statement. Routledge.

Fiala. A & Mackinnon, B. (2015). B. Ethics Theory and Contemporary Issues. 8th Edition. Cengage Learning.

Mill, J. S. (2016). Utilitarianism. In Seven Masterpieces of Philosophy (pp. 337-383). Routledge.

Mulgan, T. (2014). Understanding utilitarianism. Routledge.

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