Psychologically develops a system of values that helps people identify what situations or circumstances are most appropriate. In other words, these patterns serve as a guide to reflect on possible ethical dilemmas that we continually consider. All possible alternatives are analyzed, to then consider what is most convenient and that can be applied in certain contexts.

The origin of ethical judgment precisely lies in the possibility of solving any problem that is being faced. It is a fundamental tool for decision-making in relation to the personal and social sphere . It is of great importance because in this way skills are developed to discern in a more efficient way. Some people use it in order to justify their own actions, others to understand both the origin and the solution of problems.

What is ethical judgment?

The ethical judgment is the set of perspectives or factors that influence when taking a disappointment. It is a complex process in which we try to find the option that best suits the solution of a problem or achieve a goal. This goes to court to a moral and ethical guide , but finally it turns out to be an individual decision that nevertheless continues to have a direct relationship with the moral values of a society.

The ethical as such has its origins in ancient Greece, the term of the Greek language referred to as “ethos” defined certain customs. As part of the philosophy, it tries to specify through various studies how these influence human relationships. However, a different meaning is also attributed to it, which adheres more to the norms that decide which behaviors are appropriate. 

As such, the concept of ethical judgment is of more recent use, it encompasses all interpersonal and social problems trying to solve them. A reasoning is established that is necessary to be able to choose attitudes and actions that turn out to be more convenient for certain situations.

According to this type of judgment, each decision should be taken taking into account current social norms , also the set of values that have finally been recognized as correct. This is how solutions to each ethical dilemma are found , all options and possible consequences are analyzed.

Some may define this term as a convenient decision on a personal level, each person employing logic and reason to determine each decision. All this is done based on the knowledge that one has in relation to what is considered as good or bad . Due to these characteristics, it is closely related to moral judgment, however each of them has its own peculiarities.

Relationship with psychology 

From the point of view of psychology, ethical judgment helps to develop the capacity to understand the consequences of one’s actions. Each person has their own opinion about the differences that exist between responsibilities and emotions , to avoid confusion it is necessary to develop a subjective relativism regarding these issues. Guilt and voluntarism are feelings that can influence the ethical point of view, to later demoralize the individual.

People learn to justify all their actions, however it is difficult to demonstrate objectivity. Therefore, these justifications do not fit reality and cannot be plausible. Each decision implies facing a reality, it turns out to be essential to develop ethical judgment because it is related to skills such as self-criticism and self- acceptance.

Its importance also lies in the possibility of learning to seek the truth. Any effort to clarify possible certainties or hypotheses is assumed, learning to confront them through conscious and unconscious arguments that constantly interact. Sometimes there are different conceptual perspectives that establish limits in the construction of certainties.

Also this type of judgment influences the formation of discernment , each person has clear objectives that are taken by abstract and universal references. Each individual begins to define what are the principles, and values ​​and criteria that will allow them to continue with their life. By having a specific framework of these characteristics, you will be able to resolve any social and moral conflict.

For example, the principle of free will has always been related to implications, both religious and scientific and legal. From a psychological point of view, it is considered that people consciously control their own actions, therefore they are responsible.

What are the characteristics of ethical judgment?

Some of the main characteristics of ethical judgment are described below. Here you can clearly see what are the differences that it has compared to moral judgment. They are as follows:

  • Ethical judgment is based on abstract moral principles .
  • It is mainly a question of generally judging the rights in common, it is not done in a partial way. It seeks to achieve respect for the needs and opinions of all equally.
  • The individual perspective prevails over opinions and social relationships.
  • An approach is formulated in which it is a matter of reaching a solution that is fair for everyone, in addition to avoiding judging or prejudging both the opinions and the results obtained.
  • The procedure that will be used to determine a specific decision is of particular relevance.
  • All people have based their decisions on a personal and professional level based on an ethical judgment. In some cases the result could be detrimental to themselves, but generally it yields benefits for most of those involved.
  • It is based on the concept of universal justice , it is applicable to any decision or action that is carried out.
  • People have the responsibility and virtues to make a series of decisions consciously . Therefore, they must assume the consequences and also respond in a way that corresponds to each situation.
  • Ethics has a scientific nature and also formulates systematized and organized approaches . These could be subject to verification by more than one person.
  • It is characterized by being rational and is based on a logical methodology . Therefore, the sequence of events that follow a pattern that shows intelligence and willingness to reach a result.
  • This type of judgment is practical because it turns out to be more functional and congruent with the context in which it is desired to apply. In addition, the personality of the person trying to make this decision can be adapted in a better way .
  • It raises a series of regulations that establish their own character but are also closely related to laws, both personal and social.

Types and examples

The ethical judgment studies both the actions and also the values ​​by which people followed in certain situations, the results of which could affect others in a different way. Ethics and morals will always maintain a relationship due to their social and psychological implications , however some authors propose to separate both concepts to have a better precision of what they are trying to define.

Ethics as such tries to answer specific questions that question what aspects can be considered correct and how they can help to achieve an ideal of life. It should not be confused with the behavior of people who respond to certain social conventions or imposed beliefs. It really addresses what are those idiosyncratic and personality aspects that influence decision-making.

You can distinguish different types of ethics which respond to certain issues in particular, they can also be influenced by some elements present in society . At present it is considered that its purpose is to generate philosophical reflection, however there are also other issues of equal relevance. The types of ethics are described below:

  • The ethical goal is a branch of ethics that helps to interpret what are the ethical properties and attributions of certain actions and judgments. It focuses on trying to clarify concepts that do not necessarily try to provide answers or justify, in a broader perspective it focuses on more ambiguous concepts.
  • Normative ethics establishes what are the parameters or postulates that describe and control human behavior. In addition to providing answers to questions related to how to act, also provide information on certain standards from a more paramount point of view. It turns out to be helpful in developing the ability to make decisions and actions.
  • Applied ethics carries out an analytical approach to particular situations within a more defined context, this includes all practices and also trades that in turn have their own codes . Each person submitting their internal conflicts to this judgment, it is applicable to professional practices in which their own ethical guidelines are developed. It is ideal for scientific research and when it comes to innovation.
  • Descriptive ethics for some is considered one of the least practical typologies, this is because it maintains an approach that is determined by certain individual thought patterns. It is applicable to empirical research because attitudes influence both individual and group level. It has a reflective character that in turn is related to the capacity for observation.

Ethical judgment is applicable to everyday life situations when it is important to make a decision, for this reason its learning turns out to be essential as a basis for education. This type of judgment allows us to understand that each choice contravenes some moral codes that are widely accepted by society. In this way, all the consequences it has for the social group and also on a personal level are taken into account.

Some examples that demonstrate these reflections and contradictions are described below . Through its analysis, a reflection is made on issues that are especially important for society at a general level. They are as follows:

  • Lies are generally considered characteristics that cause credibility and trust to be lost, however some consider it a necessary resource in certain situations.
  • Animal abuse is often severely punished from a social and legal point of view. The abuser is classified as a person like him and who could extrapolate his behavior to harm human beings. However, some might justify these actions as an act of self-defense.
  • In academic exams, those who decide to commit infractions either by copying or providing the answers to their classmates, consequently lose the trust of their teachers. However, the peers who benefited would reinforce their confidence and admiration.

Relationship with moral judgment 

The ethics tries to analyze all the behaviors criteria provide for proper analysis , done in order to reflect on the moral content issues. The moral as such indicates norms and criteria that have been endorsed unanimously, it could be affirmed that it forces people to follow these same procedures.

Although both concepts have the similarity of qualifying certain actions , the mission that both have is different. Morality focuses on defining how relationships between people with their own interests will take place. Instead, ethics broadens this perspective by allowing a more personal reflection on them.

Both influence the customs and the ways of acting of people, to a large extent these are evaluated as correct or not. What differentiates them is that they are based on reasoning in which norms (moral) and their own criteria (ethics) prevail.

Ethical judgment is considered to be an essential tool for human beings, it has allowed them to understand social norms and behaviors for several centuries. Formally the epic began to be studied from the eighteenth century, later several treatises have been made that try to explain its operation and influence. For example, it is a subject that has importance for the ancient Greek civilization.

In order not to confuse it with moral judgment, it must be taken into account which are the different features. The first of them is reasoning, this element influences the moment a decision is made, in the case of moral judgment this is done taking as a reference actions and behaviors that are unanimously accepted in a society. Instead, ethics makes room for the possibility of having one’s own opinions .

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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