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The word ethics is a term that has a very broad perspective. What is ethics and how it is interpreted is the topic of debate in our current readings and class discussions. The readings have provided me with a vast prospect about ethics in this globalized era. They have tremendously shaped my thoughts about ethical principles. These principles question many aspects of morality-good and evil, right and wrong, and justice or injustice. Furthermore, the movies I viewed in this module on Gandhi and Sir Thomas More portrayed as "A Man for all seasons" have really inspired me. These movies have given me the moral of ethics as to build a strong conscious and identity.
Firstly, I would like to talk about chapter one of Peter Singer book One World: The ethics of globalization. This chapter titled as "A changing world" discusses ethics in an existing scenario of a globalized world. The author argues that as the world has become interconnected, it has let to dangers and inequalities generated by globalization. This fact stipulates that we rethink the privileged rights of state sovereignty and develop new ethical principles of international conduct. In Peter's view, the search for widely acceptable principles of global fairness is not simply an intellectual exercise but an imperative that even rich and powerful countries ignore at their risk. Peter discusses how the term internationalization has been replaced by globalization. He implies that we are moving towards an era that goes beyond the existing concept of nation-states. Today the World Economic forum has became a global society due to advancement in technology and communication. Today we are in an age of jet plane, telephone and the internet. This revolutionary change has created a basis for a new ethical perspective that serves the interests of all the people living in this world. The author asserts that we cannot address the vulnerabilities that globalization creates without a shared belief around the world that the system is legitimate and just. The author looks for practical ethical principles in the difficult areas of global warming, trade, humanitarian intervention, and foreign aid. The examples that he shares as the basis of his ethical philosophy such as the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and the September 11, 2001 tragedy of World Trade Organization are crucial to ponder upon. He gives his perspective that in this stage of revolution, it would be interesting to see that how superpowers like the United States respond ethically to the idea that we live in one world.
Secondly, the reading of "Servant Leadership in the manner of Saint Vincent De Paul" by J. Patrick Murphy, C.M was very inspirational. In this article author provides an example of De Paul University MBA student Steve; who demonstrated servant leadership to help his fellow visitor students from Hong Kong. The students went through a tragedy. They were burglarized and were left with no money. Steve helped them by letting them stay in his one bedroom apartment. He set an example of servant leadership in action. Murphy introduces the article in such a manner that attracts audience attention. He views the writings of Robert K. Greenleaf Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness in a thorough manner. Murphy compares the work of Greenleaf and Vincentian perspective of servant leadership and draws similarities from them. He believes that both of them have same core values. Murphy describes Vincent De Paul as a person who excelled in the leadership characteristics of prudence and circumspection. He was very careful when directing others. Conversely, Greenleaf provides three questions to judge servant leadership. All the three questions address whether the served people are given priority and how they grow as persons. Both Vincent and Greenleaf extend to the fact that serving others is a continuous process that requires improvement. They both describe servant-leadership as a conscious choice with a desire to lead and it is to make sure that a servant-leader serves other peoples highest priority needs. Murphy further focuses on Vincent and Greenleaf's perspectives on having a clear initiative, vision, mission and a goal. He also discusses servant leadership qualities of listening, understanding, acceptance, empathy, foresight, awareness and perception with perspectives of Vincent De Paul and Greenleaf. Murphy describes Vincent as a transformational leader who was an awakener and had a great vision to help the underprivileged.
The reading of "General Ethical Perspectives" highlights widely used ethical standards and strategies. The strategies include utilitarianism, Kant's categorical imperative, communitarianism, and altruism. Utilitarianism attempts to do greatest good for the greatest number of people. On the contrary, Kant's categorical imperative argues that individuals should do what is morally right no matter what it costs. Kant believes that "What is right for one is right for all." For example helping poor people and telling the truth are universally justified as right paths. This reminds me of the movie scene from "A man for all seasons" when Sir Thomas More, a scholar and statesman in the 16th century objected to sign a consent on King Henry VIII proposal to remarry and divorce his existing wife who was his brothers widow. According to Sir Thomas More it was morally wrong to divorce his wife as she could not bear a male heir for the King. It was also against Catholic laws as he mentioned. Sir Thomas stood firmly to his conscious and faced death as consequence.
Furthermore, the Communitarian view focus on the common good of the people such as protecting civilian rights, focusing on education, health and safety The author also describes the seven C's of community building that are commitment, competence, contribution, collaboration, continuity, conscious and conversation. Communitarian view fosters stronger connections between people and promotes character development.
Finally, Altruistic view argues that love of neighbor is the ultimate ethical standard. This approach shares much in common with virtue ethics. It also helps to eliminate social problems. In this chapter the author implies that multiple ethical strategies can be used to resolve moral issues.
The case for cultural diversity provides an overview of ethical relativism. It also discusses its strengths and weaknesses. The author asserts that cultural diversity makes cultures differ in practices and beliefs. Cultural relativism goes beyond this and claims that cultures also differ in moral roles. The author argues that "there is no single true morality" as there are many moral frameworks. Morality is merely culture-bound, and we cannot make any objective claims or pass any legitimate judgment beyond our own culture. This aspect certainly brings various consequences such as no grounds for communication or meaningful critique of moral values and beliefs of other cultures. The author explains strengths of ethical relativism as it brings tolerance to respect diverse perspectives in various cultures. It also provides sound evidence as it is based on a common practice within a particular cultural framework.
The chapter of "Critical Thinking and Moral Reasoning" focuses on the fact that we should not see other cultures with respect to our own perspectives. The author asserts that when it comes to moral conflict, the first victim is critical thinking. This is the ability to examine issues with logic, comprehension and sensitivity. The author has used the example of War in Iraq and various other examples like Muslims Jihad to establish his perspective. The author is completely against making hasty judgments and proposes a six step process for moral reasoning. These steps comprise of knowing the facts, viewing the facts from various perspectives and identifying the moral issues. Moreover, the author suggests identifying factors that are morally relevant.
The movie on Gandhi viewed in this module is a bibliographical film based on the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The earlier scenes of the movie depict Gandhi living in South Africa as a young lawyer dressed as English gentlemen. The movies turn point comes when Gandhi was forcefully thrown off a train while travelling as a first class passenger. He was discriminated having a brown skin. This incidence makes Gandhi to fight for Indian minority rights in South Africa. He eventually succeeded in his revolutionary efforts after suffering hardships. This movie reveals the struggle of Gandhi as a human rights activist. He returned to India and was recognized as a visionary, a servant leader and a leader of revolution. His virtues are considered as communitarian as his life story reveals that he focused to build one nation where no one was superior.
The readings and the movies provide a diversified ethical view. I have analyzed that in this globalized world we have to go beyond the concept of nation-states and build new ethical principles that judge international conduct. Moral strategies and standards have to play a powerful role as to decide various ethical issues. Moral relativism has to be discussed so that cultural diversity can be understood. We have to incorporate critical thinking and moral reasoning in various issues to be servant leaders like Gandhi and Saint Vincent DePaul.