Manus Charleton has lectured in Ethics, in Politics, and in Morality & Social Policy on the Institute of Technology Sligo’s degree in Social Care. He has served as external examiner for Ethics on Limerick IT’s Social Care degree. He has also lectured in Ethics on a Masters in Business Administration.
He has been published in the Journal of Social Work Practice, the European Journal of Social Education, and in Studies, an Irish Quarterly Review. His essays have been published in the Dublin Review of Books, Irish Pages, and RTE’s Brainstorm. Short fiction and a short memoir were also published in Irish Pages. Publications >>>
This website is intended as a resource for ethics. A particular purpose is to provide additional material for the textbook Ethics for Social Care in Ireland: Philosophy and Practice (Second Edition 2014). It is also hoped to explore further a connection between ethics and art, which is made in the conclusion of this book.
Ethics and Philosophy
Ethics is a subject within philosophy. One of the central questions philosophy explores is the understanding of what it means to be good or to do the right thing. Within ethical philosophy attempts are made to establish a basis for values and principles to guide behaviour in practice.
Values and Principles
At the nub of ethics lie values and principles. Values include well-being, empathy and care. Principles include respect, equality and human rights. A value or principle is implied whenever we make an ethical observation or judgment or hear other people making them. They lie behind and direct our views when we use words such as ‘should’ and ‘should not’ in referring to examples of behaviour and living conditions. Other words include ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’. ‘Life enhancing’ and ‘dispiriting’ are responses which also reflect values and principles, as do more informal, conversational terms such as ‘brilliant’ and ‘terrible’ or ‘great’ and ‘awful’ when used to communicate approval or disapproval in an ethical sense.
Behaviour and living conditions which exemplify values and principles are considered ethical. Conversely, behaviour and living conditions which conflict with values and principles are considered unethical.
Home Page Quote
Collier [in his book The Future of Capitalism] believes that a catastrophic lack of morality – evidenced by the greed-is-good doctrine – lies at the core of modern capitalism. He calls for an ethical family, an ethical firm and an ethical globalisation. This is the correct approach, but while we may quibble with whether he has defined these concepts adequately, or even provided sufficient philosophical foundations, the core question is: how can we achieve this ethical society? Collier doesn’t persuasively answer this, nor does he go far enough in exposing the ethical lapses of twenty-first century capitalist economics and society. What, after all, can we say about the ethics of a society that appears to be willing to jeopardise the health and well-being of future generations by wantonly consuming more carbon-intensive material goods today? The yellow-vest protesters in Paris, as they clamour against a progressive green tax intended to ensure the future of the planet, are rightly wondering how they are going to have enough money to make it to the end of the month. Which shows that a truly ethical capitalism must simultaneously address structural inequality and the environment. If we are to achieve an ethical capitalism, we need an ethical politics, which respects the basic tenets of democratic values.” (Joseph E. Stiglitz ‘Capitalism and its Discontents’, Times Literary Supplement, 4 June 2019).
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