Using a universal declaration of ethical principles to build a better world
The Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists describes ethical principles based on shared human values across cultures. It reaffirms the commitment of the psychology community to help build a better world where peace, freedom, responsibility, justice, humanity, and morality will prevail. It also provides: (a) a shared moral framework for psychology to speak with a collective voice on matters of ethical concern; (b) a moral guideline to identify harmful aspects of societal changes, and to advocate for social changes that benefit to all persons and all peoples; (c) a global consensus on the fundamental attitude toward good and evil, and on the basic guiding ethical principles for decisions and actions; (d) a tool to help psychologists to focus on ethical thinking and behavior across all aspects of professional and scientific activities; and (e) an inspiration to strive toward the highest ethical ideals as psychologists and citizens of the world.
Like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the promotion of the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists will have a significant influence in time on the creation of a safer, more just and more prosperous world.
All professionals and laypersons that provide community mental health services around the world are citizens of the world. Mental health providers who adhere to ethical principles in their work within the world’s many different countries and cultures contribute to a stable society which enhances the quality of life for all human beings. Together, by participating in the promotion of ethical principles such as those in the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists, mental health providers can make a significant contribution to global human rights and to building a global society based on respect and caring for persons and peoples.
Ethics and human rights: strengthening and complementing each other, There is a clear and strong link between the articulation of professional ethics and of human rights. Both share two fundamental goals: the protection of society from harm and the enhancement of the quality of life of its members. Both rely on recognized moral imperatives to achieve their goals.
In 1948, in the aftermath of WWII and before the development of ethics codes in psychology, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the endorsement of all nations to maintain human rights and to protect their peoples from harm. In 2008, sixty years later, in an increasingly globalized world, the International Union of Psychological Science and the International Association of Applied Psychology adopted the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists. This latter declaration commits psychologists worldwide to be guided by fundamental ethical principles of respect and caring in all of psychology’s interactions with persons and peoples.
There is a high level of congruence between the ethical principles and values recognized in the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists and the moral imperatives underlying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, there are differences in language, concept, structure and emphasis between the two documents. These differences strengthen and complement each other. Here are some examples:
(1) For example, with regard to framework, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is written for nations and defines human entitlements to be promoted and protected by all nations. On the other hand, the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists is intended to be applied to professional relationships and emphasizes respect and caring for individuals as well as for families, groups, and communities, with the aim of addressing the balance between the individual and the communal, and allowing for appropriate differences in the interpretation, for example, of such ethical concerns as informed consent, confidentiality, privacy, professional boundaries, and ethical decision-making across cultures.
(2) For example, with regard to language, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is more specific and prescriptive because it defines human entitlements to be promoted and protected. In contrast, the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles is more aspirational and inspirational in nature because it describes ethical principles based on shared human values across cultures. It is not meant to be a worldwide code of ethics or a code of conduct that would be agreed upon and adhered to in all countries.
(3) For example, with regard to concept, it is noted that the term ‘‘human rights’’ does not appear anywhere in the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists. The reason is that the term is taboo or negatively perceived in some parts of the world and its use in the Universal Declaration would not have been endorsed in those regions. This is not to say, of course, that the Universal Declaration ignores ‘‘human rights’’. Nothing would be further from the truth. Actually, it does speak to human rights, but it does it without ever using the term ‘‘rights’’ or ‘‘human rights’’. For example, under Principle I, we have ‘‘non-discrimination’’. This is the right to ‘‘equality’’. We also have ‘‘fair treatment/due process’’. This is the right to justice.
(4) For example, with regard to structure, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is structured around 30 articles that are specific and prescriptive in terms of content because it defines specific human entitlements to be promoted and protected. On the other hand, the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles is structured around ethical principles because its purpose is to highlight shared human values across cultures. For fear of being criticized for being too generic, earlier drafts of the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles included under each ethical principle articles which were aspirational in nature, but which also focused on the fundamental values contained in the principle. The concept of articles was later abandoned because it was a source of confusion for some psychologists who tended to see the document as a universal code of ethics that would not be relevant globally rather than a universal declaration of ethical principles.
Reference: Ethical principles and human rights: Building a better world globally. – Janel Gauthier
Counselling Psychology Quarterly, Volume 22, Issue 1, 2009
MORALITY: values, morals, and ethics
To me “morals, values, and ethics” as we standardly think of them are not the same and often are contradictory. Thus, unless they are justified they are not a compilation of truth, other than one’s chosen thinking idea of reality.
I would like to offer my understanding of how I see the layout of morality, values, morals and ethics as I see them. I see the term “morality” proper as the main moniker to a philosophic group (values, morals and ethics) or a main heading that involves the subheadings of values, morals and ethics. Values, morals, and ethics, in a basic observational way should be understood as falling under branches expressing different but similar thinking and behavioral persuasion. Values are the internal catlist often motivating our thinking and behaviors. Such as, a value of all human life, would tend to motivate you to not wantonly end human lives. Just as a lack of value for all human life, may tend to motivate you to not have an issue with the wanton ending of human lives. Morals to me, are the personal persuasion that you value, such as having a desire for truthfulness. Then we have ethics and we know this is a different branch of the morality tree, as there is business ethics/professional ethics but not really business morals or professional morals; other than one’s self chosen persuasion which may be adopted from business ethics/professional ethics. Ethics are as I have expressed our social universal prescriptions/persuasions public morality whereas morals to me are personal morality. Therefore, we can hold others to universal ethics standards (public morality) and not our moral proclivities that are not universal on others, as morals are for us (personal morality).
“Universal ethics: there are several ethical standards that are considered to be self-evident, and seem to apply to all people throughout all of history, regardless of cultural, political, social, or economic context. The non-aggression principle, which prohibits aggression, or the initiation of force or violence against another person, is a universal ethical principle. Examples of aggression include murder, rape, kidnapping, assault, robbery, theft, and vandalism. On the other hand, the commission of any of such acts in response to aggression does not necessarily violate universal ethics. There are obvious reasons why universal ethics are beneficial to society. For example, if people were allowed to kill or steal, this would lead to widespread chaos and violence, and would be detrimental to the well-being of society. Most people agree that it’s better to prohibit aggression than to allow everyone to commit it. Therefore, aggression is intrinsically immoral. Although nearly all societies have laws prohibiting aggression, this does not mean that universal ethics are necessarily reflected by that society’s government or its dominant ideology. In ethics, a ‘universal code of ethics’ is a system of ethics that can apply to every sentient being.” 1
In general I am a Universal Ethicist
I would like to first offer my understanding of how I see the layout of morality, values, morals and ethics as I see them. I see the term “morality” proper as the main moniker to a philosophic group (values, morals and ethics) or a main heading that involves the subheadings of values, morals and ethics. Values, morals, and ethics, in a basic observational way should be understood as falling under branches expressing different but similar thinking and behavioral persuasion. Values are the internal catlist often motivating our thinking and behaviors. Such as, a value of all human life, would tend to motivate you to not wantonly end human lives. Just as a lack of value for all human life, may tend to motivate you to not have an issue with the wanton ending of human lives. Morals to me, are the personal persuasion that you value, such as having a desire for truthfulness. Then we have ethics and we know this is a different branch of the morality tree, as there is business ethics/professional ethics but not really business morals or professional morals; other than one’s self chosen persuasion which may be adopted from business ethics/professional ethics. Ethics are as I have expressed our social universal prescriptions/persuasions public morality whereas morals to me are personal morality. Therefore, we can hold others to universal ethics standards (public morality) and not our moral proclivities that are not universal on others, as morals are for us (personal morality).
I am a Universal Ethicist holding the value of universal ethical principles and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a moral doctrine, a justice reasoning not for or by any mythology or toads direct opposition to any religion or faith in goddess or gods (Kuhmerker, Gielen, & Hayes, 1994). Universal ethicists is one who draw from collective values, no matter what country or varied cultures, claim that what is acceptable generally are common ethical standards that can be used to judged moral behaviors regardless of location (Newton, 2009). Universal ethical principles are a form of natural and rational moral code for all humankind not fixed or proclaimed by moral prophets or the founders of the world’s religions (Foldvary, 1980). What Universal ethical principles and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights are is a strict standard of freedoms, justus and principles applicable to all. Such values extend to all children and adult alike having the same rights. All rights are interconnected and of equal importance (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, 2008). A Universal Ethicist Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world (United Nations, 2008). A Universal Ethicist value of universal ethical principles is different to religious proclaimed moral codes because universal ethical principles is ethical codes to set all free to believe and live as they wish but strive to do no harm and applicable to all humankind whether religious or not (Foldvary, 1980).
Here are the universal principles of Social/Global Ethics:
*Global justice (as reflected in international laws)
*Society before self / social responsibility
*Interdependence & responsibility for the ‘whole’
Here are the universal principles of Professional/ Political Ethics:
*Openness; full disclosure
*Due diligence / duty of care
*Fidelity to professional responsibilities
*Avoiding potential or apparent conflict of interest
Here are the universal principles of Personal Ethics:
*Concern for the well-being of others
*Respect for the autonomy of others
*Trustworthiness & honesty
*Willing compliance with the law (with the exception of civil disobedience)
*Basic justice; being fair
*Refusing to take unfair advantage
But What Good is a Set of Principles?
There are many tools for decision making, but few (secular) guides to indicate when situations might have an ethical implication. Yet this awareness is a crucial first step before decisions are made. Recognizing the moral context of a situation must precede any attempt to resolve it. Otherwise, what’s to resolve?
Ethical dilemmas rarely present themselves as such. They usually pass us by before we know it or develop so gradually that we can only recognize them in hindsight – a little like noticing the snake after you’ve been bitten. But what are the signs that a snake might be present? An ethical framework is like a ‘snake detector’.
I offer the following principles as landmarks – generic indicators to be used as compelling guides for an active conscience. They are NOT absolute rules or values. They are more like a rough measurement where an exact one is not possible. They often conflict with each other in practice, and some will trump others under certain circumstances. But as principles that need to be considered, they appear constant.
These principles are compatible with the argument that we should simply follow our intuition and rely on the ‘inner voice’. However, that voice is not always audible, and today’s society presents a wide range of complex circumstances that require more guidance than simply ‘concern for others’ or ‘does it feel right?’ And so these principles are offered effectively as a more detailed reference.
In a sense, the principles are outcomes of the mother of all principles – unconditional love and compassion – which appears in virtually all faiths, and is expressed here as ‘concern for the well-being of others’. (This principle is at the heart of the stakeholder model of ethics, i.e. what is my impact on others?) At first glance, they will appear obvious and perhaps trite or simplistic. Keep in mind that they are meant to be practical rather than groundbreaking, and that many people have found them useful in the absence of other guides.
The principles have been organized into three categories for ease of use: personal, professional and global ethics.(Colero, n.d.).
Harm is often a violation of trust and a violation of expected trust makes bad things even worse, like if I told you a child was killed, you would feel it was terrible but if I further told you it was the child’s doctor that murdered the child out of anger. You would be more angered as doctors are expected to care for people not harm them. And if you think that is bad what if I further told you the doctor who killed the child was her mother would you hold her even mone in contempt as mothers also are expected to care and not kill children, so violation of trust is terrible and even makes things worse. Therefore, we can see why people that hold places of trust should never abuse them, and that we should hold them accountable if they do violate such trust by harming others. Morality first, that is morality should be at the forefront in all I do. I hope I am always strong enough to put my morality at the forefront in all I do, so much so, that it is obvious in the ways I think and behave. To better grasp a naturalistic morality one should see the perspective of how there is a self-regulatory effect on the self-evaluative moral emotions, such as shame and guilt. Broadly conceived, self-regulation distinguishes between two types of motivation: approach/activation and avoidance/inhibition. one should conceptually understand the socialization dimensions (parental restrictiveness versus nurturance), associated emotions (anxiety versus empathy), and forms of morality (proscriptive versus prescriptive) that serve as precursors to each self-evaluative moral emotion.
Axiological Morality Critique of Pseudo-Morality/Pseudomorality?
Real Morality vs. Pseudo Morality
Religions Promote Pseudo-Morality
Think there is no objective morality?
Is God Removed from Ethics?
True Morality Not the Golden Rule…
Axiological Atheism Morality Critique: of the bible god
Babies & Morality?
“They believe babies are in fact born with an innate sense of morality, and while parents and society can help develop a belief system in babies, they don’t create one. A team of researchers at Yale University’s Infant Cognition Center, known as The Baby Lab, showed us just how they came to that conclusion.” Ref