The three types of values I tend to prioritize when facing a moral dilemma in a personal situation are honesty, compassion and open-mindedness. This has been highly influenced by my family and up-bringing. My family has always emphasized these values and practiced them, which has set a great example for me.
It is important for me to identify how I prioritize my values and principles to help guide my moral decision-making process now and in the future. I do believe it’s subject to change over time, but it is important to outline my decision-making process as a reminder and point of reference.
I value honesty and integrity in a professional and personal setting because telling the truth, even when it’s ugly, is the right thing to do in most situations. Chances are if you are lying to others you are probably lying to yourself as well. Trust is also not easily built but easily lost and keeping ones word can be the difference between success and failure.
I value the virtue of compassion, or the relieving of other people’s suffering, because caring for others out of selflessness contributes to the overall wellness of the community. It improves empathy and can cause a domino effect of compassion. Being able to imagine yourself in someone else’s position can lend itself to much more than just compassion and is a wonderful attribute.
I value open-mindedness because it’s important to being well rounded and accepting of others. Accepting that you are not always right and that change occurs naturally is critical to being a productive and evolving professional. However, all of these have extremes the mean of which is the virtue I hold in esteem.
When discussing ethics in the past, I found that I often leaned toward Kant’s categorical imperative when discussing relevant dilemmas. “Act only on that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become universal law,” Kant said. This makes sense to me in that you shouldn’t do anything you wouldn’t want everyone to do. I also believe that there are higher truths that are innate to human nature, and I regard human life above all else.
I also try to take into account agape love. I believe this is because of my up-bringing in a Christian family and church community who not only preached unconditional love, but practiced it as well. The concept has been drilled into my head since I can remember and has become an important part of my personal moral code.
When looking at a situation I would outline the specifics, then I would evaluated what I value. For example, if a group member plagiarized on their part of a project I would consider resolving the problem in different was. First, I would analyze the dilemma and my values noting that it is illegal, dishonest, and unfair to the other group members. I would then look at the principle most relevant to the situation such as Kant’s categorical imperative, which is about duty. I have a duty to justice and the truth. Next, I would consider my loyalties. In this example I’m loyal to my colleagues or group members and my duty to the truth.