Published May 26, 2020
Have you ever had that moment when the law tells you it’s right but your conscience says otherwise? This is what many would call an ethical dilemma. How you respond during these situations says a lot about the kind of person you are.
From a young age, we are taught about what is right and what is wrong. But the line separating these two isn’t always clear cut. There will always be grey areas and this is where ethics come in.
By definition, ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conduct of an activity. But in reality, the meaning of ethics is hard to pin down and most people don’t agree on a single definition.
That’s because unlike the law, ethics are subjective. Each of us has our own set of moral principles shaped by our culture, beliefs, and experiences. Since it largely depends on our individual convictions, we become our own judge and we only have our guilt as punishment.
In an increasingly politically-correct world, the definition of right and wrong has never been more confusing. What is legally right may not always be viewed as such by society. And what may seem right to the rest of society may contradict your personal beliefs and values.
This is why the ultimate challenge for all of us is not whether we are doing the right thing. Rather, it’s about how willing we are to do what we think is right.
To help you find your ethical anchor, we compiled these ethics quotes. These are not meant to tell you what you need to do but rather to give you the courage to do what your conscience tells you to.
- Calamity is the test of integrity. – Samuel Richardson
- Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess. – Thomas Paine
- Our very lives depend on the ethics of strangers, and most of us are always strangers to other people. – Bill Moyers
- Our integrity is never worth so much as when we have parted with our all to keep it. – Ovid Ovid
- Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace. – Albert Schweitzer
- It is the mark of the cultured man that he is aware of the fact that equality is an ethical and not a biological principle. – Ashley Montagu
- A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case, he is justly accountable to them for the injury. – John Stuart Mill
- Ethics is, in origin, the art of recommending to others the sacrifices required for cooperation with oneself. – Bertrand Russell
- A quiet conscience makes one strong – Anne Frank
- I can do no other than be reverent before everything that is called life. I can do no other than to have compassion for all that is called life. That is the beginning and the foundation of all ethics. – Albert Schweitzer
- You don’t teach morals and ethics and empathy and kindness in the schools. You teach that at home and children learn by example. – Judy Sheindlin
- We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one which we preach but do not practice, and another which we practice, but seldom preach. – Bertrand Russell
- Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you – will invite you to add something to the pleasure of others – or to diminish something of their pains. – Jeremy Bentham
- There are two types of people in this world, good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seems to enjoy the waking hours much more. – Woody Allen
- A starry sky is equally interesting to a scientist, a mystic, an ethics scholar, and a poet. Looking at the stars, each experiences something different, and each sees his own picture. – Alija Izetbegovic
- Any tool can be used for good or bad. It’s really the ethics of the artist using it. – John Knoll
- People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad. – Stephen King
- In just about every area of society, there’s nothing more important than ethics. – Henry Paulson
- Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. – Aristotle
- There is no strength to be gained from hurting one another, only weakness. – Ursula K. Le Guin
- Acting responsibly is not a matter of strengthening our reason but of deepening our feelings for the welfare of others. – Jostein Gaarder
- You don’t have to choose between being scientific and being compassionate. – Robert M. Sapolsky
- The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it. – William Penn
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the power of giving and she wants to share that with the world. As a volunteer author she loves to write about topics related to giving and personal fulfillment.