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Why are ethics important?

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Quick Answer

The study of ethics allows for a systematized appraisal of the value of human actions and affections. Ethics seeks to discern what is the best course of action in any given situation. Its practical importance rests in its ability to create a standard to which people can hold one another.

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The primary focus of ethics is to determine right and wrong conduct, both in theory and in specific situations. While issues in ethics are often debated, primary ethical imperatives, such as not committing murder, can be codified into law, which allows for a standard of justice. Practically applied, ethics is important because it gives individuals a basis on which to praise or decry an action and punish or reward it.

Without the study of ethics, there can be no government and no law. Without an ethical system in place, all actions are equally acceptable and no one is safe from his neighbor. Ethics is not only important for interpersonal relations, but it is also important for the environment and the way animals are treated by humans. Ethics seeks to protect parties that cannot speak for themselves. It is a major factor in industries that deal with livestock, wild animals and natural resources.

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