"Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics", by Steve Wilson.

2403 Words Nov 11th, 2003 10 Pages
Lessons to Live By

In his book, Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics, author Steve Wilkens discusses nine ethical views that are prevalent in cultures today. Although the systems are sometimes vague, and his discussions, a bit biased, I find myself fortunate because I seem to agree with most of his opinions that he lets slip.

The first ethical belief that the author discusses is Cultural Relativism. It talks about the how diversity is becoming more and more apparent between different cultures worldwide. The author mentions that often customs that are unquestioningly accepted in one part of the world are considered abhorrent in another, for example: human sacrifice. Cultural Relativism claims that there are no absolute standards for moral
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No crime would be anyone's fault. People would not take responsibility for their actions, and this world in fact, not be ethical at all.

Egoism advocates the selfish pursuit of happiness, although it does seem to put more emphasis on selfishness than happiness. Utilitarianism, which is the next view discussed, keeps the pursuit of happiness, but eliminates selfishness. This system seems more socially inclusive, and its main slogan is "the greatest happiness for the greatest number." To me, this is the most wishy-washy chapter. One thing from this ethical view that I do agree with is that it offers a means of balancing individual freedoms with social obligations. While God does choose certain people to do certain things, we are all judged according to one standard and loved equally by God. Also, it would seem difficult to imagine a loving God who wants to torture his creatures. Of course He wants them to be happy.

One problem I have with this view is that it says that actions are judged by their consequences. If this is true, then we can't know if our actions are good are bad because the decision is dependent on knowing the future. Also, if we chose one path, we would still not know what the results of the other choices would have been so how would one know if the one he made was the "greatest good." Also, according to Utilitarianism, we must face the problems concerning the extent ("greatest number") of actions. We would then have to face who would be

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