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Everyday life involves making relatively important decisions. In making these decisions, values play a crucial role in guiding and shaping how one thinks and acts. In fact, a value can be thought of as a compass for someone’s life insofar as it gives a hint to the direction for that person to travel.
In many cases, the values that we as individuals hold include the morals adopted by our society over time. Some of these morals, for better or for worse, shape our behavior. Perhaps it is important to describe some of those moral ideals held by contemporary societies so that we can understand behavior and individual decision-making from an objective perspective. What are the most important morals in our society? It seems the ideal that we lessen the amount of harm suffered by others is one of the most important values of contemporary society, and thus many of us as individuals. This kind of perspective, however, is ancient. The Greek philosopher Aristotle described a system of virtue ethics that tells individuals to do good, not to do harm, to others. This includes corollaries like respecting individual rights, telling the truth, being faithful, and so on. All of these prescriptions are directly related to healthcare, where virtue ethics is an important ethical perspective. Beneficence, which is the duty to do good, is an important principle in healthcare work, especially when the healthcare provider has good intentions. Non-maleficence, which is the duty to not do harm, suggests that the healthcare worker should attempt to avoid the worst-case scenario when serving a patient. ...
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