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What are Common Sense Ethics?

October 23, 2018
By Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

We've all heard it at one time or another "he/she doesn't have any common sense. After taking an ethics class in college, I've come to the conclusion common sense and ethics are basically the same, hence Common Sense Ethics.

Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand and judge that is shared by (common to) nearly all people. The first type of common sense (good sense), can be described as "the knack for seeing thing as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done. So when I here someone one say "he/she has no common sense" it indicates the person did not in an common or expected manner.

I don't think it is fair to compare oneself with others to decide if someone has common sense because everyone is different. Not everyone can be of average weight or height, temperament or personality, have the same cognitive abilities or social status; although most feel that they are average and follow the norm. What a boring world we would live in if everyone was average!

As I dug deeper into the concept of common sense, I discovered that the basis of common sense and ethics are the same. Some even call the understanding of shared ethical principles that humanity already has as Common Sense Ethics.

The principles of common sense ethics is that at some level, we all understand and know what is right and wrong. This is my only explanation for a person who claims that there is not objective right and wrong, will not commit murder.

So we have already known what is right and wrong for a long time. Unfortunately, humanity has a tendency to become unconcerned with morality and common sense because of the pressures of conformity and thoughtlessness. Specifically, we become amoral when we lack guidance during our upbringing. We don't have the basic mental framework and critical thinking skills needed to understand common sense ethics, nor do we care what is right and wrong. At this time in our lives all we wand is personal gratification. We do not want to stop and think over or ponder what we did because of pressing personal concerns.

As a society, we can't ignore and neglect common sense and ethics. Without either one life is even more difficult than it needs to be. We cause harm to others and in return we are forced to bear the harm that they cause us. Humanity needs to desperately to become reacquainted with common sense and the ethical principles we already understand. If you turn on any news channel this is extremely obvious by the condition of the world today. Common sense and ethics are tools that anyone can use to change themselves and the world.

There are four basic principles that everyone should understand:

1. All people have equal individual rights everyone is fundamentally equal in terms of the basic rights that they are born with.

2. Ethics are universal common sense and basic ethical principles are the same for everyone based on the concept of natural law.

3. Don't harm or defraud others this is the basic, simple principle of common sense ethics, to do so is an unethical violation of their rights. Buddhist: "Do no harm," Christianity: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," Thomas Hobbes "Do not that to another, which thou wouldst not have done to thy self.

Immanuel Kant said it best "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without concentration.

4. Live by ethical principles Common sense ethics are based on the principle that all people have equal rights. Actions have consequences, and you alone are answerable to the consequences of your behavior.

If we all start treating each other as if we all have the same basic equal rights, society and the world may begin to change in a positive direction.



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