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Day 17 – Q 2.How can one make ethical decisions? Is it possible to have good ethical behaviour without proper conscience? Examine.

2. How can one make ethical decisions? Is it possible to have good ethical behaviour without proper conscience? Examine.  

कोई नैतिक निर्णय कैसे ले सकता है? क्या उचित विवेक के बिना अच्छा नैतिक व्यवहार संभव है? जांच करें।


Decisions about right and wrong permeate everyday life. Ethics should concern all levels of life: acting properly as individuals, creating responsible organizations and governments, and making our society as a whole more ethical


Approach towards making ethical decisions:

Utilitarian approach: Utilitarianism is one of the most common approaches to making ethical decisions, especially decisions with consequences that concern large groups of people, in part because it instructs us to weigh the different amounts of good and bad that will be produced by our action.

Example: Airline industry offers first class, business class and economy class seats. This is the decision taken by airline industry to benefit people.

Rights based approach: This approach stipulates that the best ethical action is that which protects the ethical rights of those who are affected by the action. It emphasizes the belief that all humans have a right to dignity.

Example: Decision on euthanasia is considered on rights based approach

Justice approach/ Fairness approach:  it provides a procedure for what counts as a fair action, and does not concern itself with the consequences of those actions. Fairness of starting point is the principle for what is considered just.

Example: In order to seek benefits from government aadhar is a compulsory document. In many cases many people are deprived by the identity establishment. The decision to reach basic amenities can be sought by justice approach.

Common good approach: the best society should be guided by the “general will” of the people which would then produce what is best for the people as a whole. This approach to ethics underscores the networked aspects of society and emphasizes respect and compassion for others, especially those who are more vulnerable.  

Example:  Giving insurance to people so that they are able to go to doctor.

Virtue approach: this emphasizes the importance of acting virtuously in a variety of situations. It is concerned with the entirety of a person’s life; it takes the process of education, process of brought up, handling all sorts of emotions and understanding of how to engage in ethical deliberation.

Example: In a company decision to assign a work to an employee could be based on virtue approach. More reliable, honest, patient, with integrity will always have an edge

Conscience: It is a cognitive process that elicits emotion and rational associations based on an individual’s moral philosophy or value system. Conscience is based on perspective of a person; it holds the content how we perceive the situation.

Good ethical behaviour with conscience:

Example: A corporate social responsibility contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic and social benefits with the rational decisions.

Good ethical behaviour without conscience:

Example: According to anti defection law, a person voting on the lines of party whip is considered as good ethical behaviour even though it is against his conscience.

It can be inferred that good ethical behaviour and conscience are not always in sync, it depends on the situation, stake holders and perceiving the issue.


Voice of conscience is the source of ethical decision making. Gandhi rightly said “The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.”

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