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Essay on Ethics and International Relations

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As individuals form societies to assure their self-preservation and self-interest, they establish customs that distinguish one group of individuals from another. As a means of societal norms, customs tend to influence behaviors of individuals who both practice certain habitual activities and maintain commonly recommended ethics. Various geopolitical and cultural characteristics allow development of diverse customs that cause difficulties in understanding moral values of other societies. In particular, the passage from Herodotus describes how the differences in morality between two customs hinder achieving cooperation and mutual agreements. However, theoretical approaches attempting to find ethical similarities in the foundations of diverse customs can provide common grounds to overcome misconception and miscommunication between societies. The consequentialist and deontological perspectives of Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill demonstrate that customs with contrasting ethics can be understood by focusing on ramifications of customary actions and duties of individuals.
In “Utilitarianism,” John Stuart Mill emphasizes that the ethics of individuals and societal system are reflected in their moral value, such as happiness or pleasure. He argues that individuals only focus on maximizing their happiness in life by either preventing pain or attaining things that bring pleasure (May 46). From his utilitarian perspective, individuals pursue happiness through tangible items and valuable qualities because happiness is “the only thing desirable, as an end, [and] all other things being only desirable as means to that end” (May 50). Every individual’s behavior and decision is judged by the extent of happiness and its success in the promotion ...


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...ogical perspectives by John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant explain how to approach to these opposing customs and establish common grounds. By discovering similar moral values and pursuit of happiness, the differences of two conflicting customs are now viewed as characteristics that distinguish one society from another. As the world becomes closer and interconnected by technology and trades, a gradual number of individuals slowly discover other parts of the world and feel astonished by the differences. However, the approaches of Mill and Kant can provide a new interpret the differences of societies in the world.







Works Cited


May, L., Collins-Chobanian, S., & Wong, K. (2002). Applied Ethics: A Multicultural Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Paton, H. J. (1964). Immanuel Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysic of MOrals. new York: Harper & Row.


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