What Is an Ethical Framework?

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An ethical framework is a set of codes that an individual uses to guide his or her behavior. Ethics are what people use to distinguish right from wrong in the way they interact with the world.

While ethics are independent of laws, religions and feelings, these three can influence people to help them make ethical choices. In fact, laws are usually based on ethical codes. Nonetheless, laws, religions and the people administering them can become corrupt.

Philosophers disagree about the best foundations for ethics. Some people think the greatest good for the greatest number of people should be the basis of ethics while others think ethics should be based on the fact that all humans are entitled to certain rights. Other approaches include justice for all, or working toward the common good as a basis for ethics.