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Roggiero’s Theory, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 656

Essay

In Chapter 7, Vincent Ruggiero defines three basic criteria that should be applied in regard to ethical  standards. He also offers a series of four steps for analyzing ethical issues. Together, the criteria and steps form a practical ethics. Ruggiero goes on to offer case-studies where his ethical system is brought to action. The purpose of such a rigidly defines set of ethical guidelines is essentially to uphold a core value of mutual regard and respect among all people. The ethical process of logic that is advocated by the author is one that is based in pure rationality, and emphasizes a systematic approach.

For example, Ruggiero’s three criteria are based on  the common premise of “respect for persons” which Ruggiero identifies as “a practical standard for the treatment of others” (Ruggiero, 81). These three criteria form the foundation in which all ethical decisions should be made. The criteria can be considered the abstract principles of the ethical system while the four steps are the method by which the principles are actually applied in the real world. That said, the principles that comprise the three criteria are still based in pragmatic, rather than abstract, ethical considerations. This is due to the fact that the criteria are essentially drawn from notions of how human relationships should most fairly function.

The first criteria is: obligations. This is an important criteria because, as Ruggiero points out, “relationships usually imply obligations” (Ruggiero, 81). According to Ruggiero, obligations represent actions that one either must do or must refrain from doing depending on the context of a given relationship.  Obligations include familial, professional, and friendship-based behaviors. Interestingly enough, Ruggiero is careful to insist that un-ethical obligations are not permitted under his system. In other words someone can’t be obligated to do something that is, itself immoral or un-ethical, such as rape or robbery.

The second criteria is: moral ideals. This criteria is the most abstract of the three and is defined by the author as: “aspects of excellence, goals that bring greater harmony” (Ruggiero, 82). A significant degree of cultural individuality is granted under the author’s system, but he retains the idea that people and societies possess an almost innate sense of ideal virtues. This is a statement that is not deeply supported by evidence. As such, it seems to be a weak aspect of the system. If there is such an innate sense of virtue: why bother with an ethical system? The third criteria offered by the author is: consequences. This is the most self-explanatory of the criteria  and  involves not only the physical but also emotional impact of ethical decisions.

The criteria are used in connection with the four-steps of ethical analysis. The first of the four steps is: “Study the details of the case” and comprises not only the act of understanding the dilemma or issue but the circumstances around the issue. The second step in the process of ethical analysis is to “identify the relevant criteria.” This step involves relating the situation to each of the specific three criteria outlined previously. The third step is to “determine all possible choices of action.” This step necessitates that all alternative choices be rationally listed and considered. The fourth step in the process is to “decide which action is most ethical” (Ruggiero, 84- 85) according to the combined influence of the  three criteria and four steps.

The basic idea behind Ruggiero’s theory is that rational thought can be used to evaluate and determine ethical actions in any given circumstance. Also, that what is the ethically “:right” thing to do is usually that which is based in the core ideal of respect for others. Additionally, culturally specific ideals and virtues provide a framework for ethical decision-making. The process of combining deliberate criteria with specific analytical steps of evaluation in order to make ethical decisions is an attempt to assert the power of human will over both moral conflict and the interpersonal divisions that happen in any society.

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