Source of ethics

The source of moral ethics in each human varies, dependent on the individual’s belief system, experience, political focus, intuition and legal obligations (Andre et al, 2010 and BBC, 2013).

As discussed by Carl Elliott (1992), the ethical framework that the individual applies varies and is subject to moral intuition.

“The practical difficult with applying ethical theories to particular problems is that ordinary people pay little attention to theories when making moral decisions. Instead, we are guided by our ethical beliefs, which are primarily the result of cultural factors beyond our reach – factors subject to rational scrutiny and to change, but largely out of our control” (Elliott, 1992).

Ethics in graphic design are derived from the same sources as an individual’s moral ethics. However factors which would be lesser in other ethical decisions (finance and career progression) may override personal beliefs (religion and moral duty) in the case of employment.

Go to next section: Moral ethics

Andre et al, 2010. What is ethics? [online] Santa Clara University. Available at: [Accessed 12th April 2013].

BBC, 2013. What is ethics? [online] BBC. Available at: [Accessed 12th April 2013].

Elliott, C., 1992. Where ethics comes from and what to do about it. The Hastings Center Report, vol 22 (4), July – August. pp. 28-35.


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