are those who will say that these arguments are ridiculous and this
they will support by pointing to the libraries laden down with tomes
on ethics. Surely, one must agree, that there is no shortage of
information as to what people feel is ethical behavior or feel about
ethical behavior, but one must ask how much of this information is
more than argument, opinion or just a priority presumptive? An
examination of this literature supported Bonnerís statement that
there is a dearth of information about ethical behavior which is
based upon systematic research. And an investigation of this
material suggested five reasons why systematic research based
information is scarce.
believe ethical behavior cannot or should not be
some reasons investigators have chosen to study limited
of ethical behavior.
believe, as just noted, that they know what is ethical
and thus believe that the only task in ethics is to
how to produce the ethically mature person.
theories presented are not open to systematic testing
even to systematic comparison.
which exist restrict full and broad, let the chips fall where
they may, types of investigation.
centuries many have believed that ethical behavior is not open to
scientific investigation. This belief exists today and even in the
most fertile of scientific minds. Ethical behavior is and has been
to many a "verboten" scientific area because these people
place it beyond the realm of man and in the realm of metaphysics or
the realm of God. This position was well represented recently when a
physicist friend of mine asked: "Are you certain this is a
proper field of study for psychologists? Are you not invading Godís
realm?" To this a psychologist has but one answer.
Psychologists study behavior and one form of behavior is ethical
behavior. Much of the research that has been done has been limited
to narrow regions of ethical behavior. One thinks, herein, of the
Hartshone-May "Studies in Deceit" and the work of Piaget.
Other research work has been directed toward uncovering the
principles for developing, from a priori assumptions the ethically
mature person. Again we point out that Ligonís Union College
Character Research Project is representative of the latter type of
research. These, and other not mentioned studies, suggest that
investigators have been either disinterested in broad systematic
explorations of ethical behavior or have been, for some reasons,
unwilling, unable, or reluctant to design broad studies which would
allow the facts regarding ethical behavior to fall where they may.
are so many diverse theories of ethical behavior that it is doubtful
if anyone can bring order to all that have been presented. Yet, if we are
to learn from them so as to develop more adequate models, more representative
theories, some order has to be impressed on them. The criterion
chosen for ordering is dissimilarity, a criterion which when applied
out at least four kinds of markedly dissimilar theories.
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