Ethics - described briefly as the norms by which acceptable and unacceptable behaviors are measured - has been the concern, and perhaps the great dilemma, of sentient humans since Socrates subjected it to philosophical inquiry almost 2,500 years ago. Socrates believed, without universal acceptance, that the most pertinent issues people must deal with are related to how we live our lives, what actions are and are not righteous, and how people should live together peacefully and harmoniously. A vast parade of philosophers, religious leaders, politicians, professors, and self-help gurus have followed Socrates' lead through the ensuing centuries; it's a popular and enduring subject, perhaps because it is so complex, intriguing, and pervasive in every facet of our lives.
Today, in 2015, ethics dominates our news in the form of anti-ethics. The headlines in newspapers and the lead stories on TV, radio, and Internet news are typically about such abhorrent behavior as lying, stealing, revenge, convictions for corruption, gratuitous murder, and misuse of public or other people's funds for personal gain. Readers, viewers, and listeners can hardly be faulted for thinking that we live in a corrupt society - exactly what Socrates and others did not want or envision. Perhaps the anti-ethical stance of the media is the most anti-ethical part of our society.
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