Basic Ethical Principles

The following is a sample list of moral principles from Western Philosophy and Religion. Ideally, these principles help us in identifying the problems as well as steering us clear of greater problems in implementing our solutions.

A. Ancient Greek Philosophers:

Socrates (470-399 BC):

        Never Harm Another, Even In Retaliation

        Always Keep Promises and Agreements

Plato (428-347 BC):

        Always Pursue What Is Good and Not Simply What Appears Good

        Always Strive to Serve Your Roles to Their Fullest

Aristotle (384-322 BC)

        Always Steer a Middle Course Between the Extremes of Excess and Deficiency

B. Judeo-Christian Religious Ethics:

        Treat People As You Would Have Them Treat You

        Never Presume To Be the Ultimate Judge of Another

        Respect and Love All Persons, Friend and Foe Alike

C. Modern Philosophers:

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804):

        Always Act So That Your Reason for Action Could Be Universally Implemented

        Never Treat Persons Merely As Means to Your Personal Ends

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832):

        Always Act So That You Promote the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

J.S. Mill (1806-1873)

        Always Judge People on Their Individual Merits and Never on the Basis of the Groups to Which They Belong.