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Ethical reflection refers to the method of making decisions in which an individual confronts value questions and analyzes a situation critically before making any judgments. This is the most powerful tool towards making the most sound and rational decisions with which an individual might be faced. This approach has numerous steps, but it involves the recognition of moral issues in the society, evaluating the alternative decisions for any given situation given the different moral points, and making a decision based on the alternative that is the most morally upright. Ethical reflection involves different moral viewpoints, making a decision based on empathy and in retrospect, considering the different implications of the actions made by an individual (Santa Clara University).
Ethical reflection is the center for ethical decision making, and is the most useful value in any individual looking to make a decision guided by ethics and morals. There are different moral issues that guide different programs, all which find their basis in the use of ethical reflection. This involves empathy and critical thought. In making a decision, one needs to understand the value of thinking about the rest of the society before making a decision. Only a decision that does not allow room for disrespect of other individuals’ privacy that is considered morally and ethically upright.
Ethical reflection is a powerful tool that allows individuals to develop respect for the concerns of other individuals while making decisions and character education. There is an ability of children with a greater level of maturity to thin critically and help those with lower maturity levels. Mature ethical reasoning is the cause of a civil society that lacks conflict and has formulated a way of solving those which arise (The School of Ethical Education). It is this reasoning that gives them the ability to find solutions to those problems that might seem too complex for other individuals. It is through empathy and critical thought that individuals resolve problems in the society amicably.
In as much as ethical reflection employs a combination of reasoning and empathy, these two factors involve different capacity such as emotional engagements and cognitive impartiality. There is a conflict between reasoning and feelings because reasoning causes individuals to be more rational whereas emotional engagement causes them to act on impulse rather than thought. In a society where decisions are made on the basis of emotional engagements, there is an ability of individuals to abandon cognitive reason for feelings (Santa Clara University).
The use of feeling in decision making can cause an individual to make irrational, rush decisions, and hence not have the best interest of the whole society in mind. There is an apparent tension between reason and feeling because reason calls into question facts before any decision is apparent. Emotional engagement, on the other hand, assumes reason and allows individuals to focus on their emotional involvement in a decision. Using emotional intelligence in the making of a decision might be misguided and irrational, hence the need to use cognitive reasoning and analysis of a situation in decision making (The School of Ethical Education).
This tension can be solved by less use of emotion in thought, and more of cognitive reasoning and analysis of facts. It is vital for individuals to reason when making a decision because they have the ability to incorporate the views of other individuals in their thoughts and decision. This is the manner with which people can reach amicable conclusions to decisions that require ethical reflection. Having ethics override thoughts is the best way to make decisions. It is vital to have emotional intelligence when making decisions, but emotional involvement should not be the sole basis of the decisions made. It is necessary to inculcate reason and cognitive function in the ethical decision making process.
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