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Choices, Values, and Ethics by Mind Map: Choices, Values, and Ethics
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Choices, Values, and Ethics

Choices, values, and ethics are closely related. The choices that you make each day affect other people, which, in turn, relates to morality. To learn more about values as they relate to morals and ethics, click on the web link.

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Our values reflect those things, qualities, or ideals to which we assign importance (we find "value" in it). The study of ethics encourages us to critically assess our values and to adopt a set of consistent values that are morally justifiable. Not all values are moral values. Moral values are those characteristics or states of affairs that we regard as necessary to morality. Social values are of concern to criminal justice professionals. For example, equality and justice are values that we see as crucial to many ethical concerns in criminal justice. Values may be intrinsic or instrumental.

Intrinsic Values

Intrinsic values, also described as intrinsic "goods," are those pursued for their own sake. The "goodness" of the intrinsic value comes from the value itself, not from any desirable consequences that the value might bring about. An intrinsic value is an end-in-itself rather than a means to an end. An example of an intrinsic value is happiness. As a matter of fact, the Greeks considered happiness the ONLY intrinsic value. You may see intrinsic values called "terminal" or "end-state" values.

Instrumental Values

Instrumental values are valuable only for what we get from them. They allow us to achieve other things that we regard as valuable. Wealth may be seen as an instrumental value because we value it for the things it will bring us. You may see instrumental values called "extrinsic" values.

Normative Ethics

Normative ethics attempts to identify and priortize relevant moral values and principles and provide frameworks from within which to embarck on moral decision-making. Normative ethics guide our reasoning by highlighting values and criteria for decision-making that are of relevance. The subnodes of this topic discuss deontological theories, consequentialist theories, and virtue ethics.

Deontological Theories

These theories focus on the "rightness" of our actions themselves and whether those aactions conform to relevant moral duties and obligations. The consequences of our actions are largely irrelevant. For example, if a person has made a promise, s/he must keep the promise even if doing so brings undesirable consequences for him-or-herself or others.

Consequentialist Theories

These theories focus on the "goodness" of the actual actual or expected consequences of our actions (unlike deontological theory, where consequences are irrelevant). These theories hold that if one creates a potentially good result, a minor bad act may be justified (the end justifies the means).

Virtue Ethics

Virtue ethics focues on the development and embodiment of moral character. It entails identifying the virtues that are important for leading a good life in a just society. Further, these theories encourage the avoidance of allowing vices, such as greed, affect our decision-making.