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Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 366

Essay

Since the very first days of our lives, our deeds and the feelings of shame become the two inseparable elements of our existence. Whenever we feel that we treat others unfairly, or every time we understand that we break certain moral norms, the sense of shame becomes even more acute. It appears that this shame is the direct expression of what we usually call conscience – the concept that does not have a single clear definition but with which, nevertheless, everyone is familiar.

Although we cannot define what conscience is, we can still define how it works and what stimuli and perceptions it uses to express itself. The discussed feeling of shame is the direct product of how conscience works in people. At the same time, the quality of conscience and the feeling of shame will vary from person to person, with its severity and intensiveness depending on a whole range of internal and environmental factors (Ruggiero, 2008).

That everyone has conscience is difficult to deny. Even when we say that someone does not have conscience, this is just a sign of one’s extreme insensitivity to the feeling of shame or its complete absence. It is possible that 99% of people on earth do experience some kind of shame from very mild to unreasonably strong. For one and the same action (for example, beating a child), some people will not feel any shame; others will seek reasonable justification for their actions; someone will regret such aggression for the rest of his (her) lives, while someone else will not even dare to touch a child.

The sources of conscience are complex. On the one hand, the extent to which a person has conscience depends on his (her) individual characteristics. On the other hand, the feeling of shame is always the result of breaking some norms and standards imposed on us by society. Whether a person experiences shame upon beating a child depends on his (her) individual temperament, the norms of society, and even on whether he himself was beaten by his parents when being a child. Obviously, conscience is a complex concept that requires profound analysis and understanding.

References

Ruggiero, V. (2008). Thinking critically about ethical issues, (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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