Ways of Acquiring Ethical Concepts
Ethics or ethical concepts can be defined as the rules with which an individual lives. These rules are based on what is morally good and/or bad. It is a set of concepts and principles that guide people in determining what behavior helps or harms them as creatures. In this context, the word ethics can be used interchangeably with morality. In other contexts, the word can be used to mean the moral principles of a given tradition, group or individual. Ethical values and concepts give rise to a moral code.
In most circumstances, people acquire ethical concepts and principles through observation, education, enculturation, acculturation, peers and religion. An individual can acquire predominantly negative and proscriptive ethical values if they spend most o their time living amongst peers or close relatives who possesses the same ethical values. This tribal morality varies from place to place and is deep rooted within a community such that it ca dwell amongst them for a very long period of time. People born within such a community will learn to embrace the ethical values that they find from an early age and it becomes difficult or even impossible to try to convince them to change their mindset. This process of first culture learning is known as enculturation.
An individual can also acquire moral principles by observation. This is when an individual becomes familiar with the ethical principles of a particular individual and observes and learns the tradition because he or she beleives that it is the right thigh. The individual may become attracted to these moral principles because they are appealing to him or her even though it is the first time to encounter such an ethical concept. This can occur when an individual or groups of individuals leave their homes or places of birth to work in a distant land far from home where they meet and interact with other people from different backgrounds and cultures.