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On ethics...

Published Wednesday, January 21, 2015 @ 12:19 AM EST
Jan 21 2015

A civilization has the ethics it can afford.
-Larry Niven

A man is really ethical only when he obeys the constraint laid on him to help all life which he is able to succor, and when he goes out of his way to avoid injuring anything living. He does not ask how far this or that life deserves sympathy as valuable in itself, nor how far it is capable of feeling. To him life as such is sacred. He shatters no ice crystal that sparkles in the sun, tears no leaf from its tree, breaks off no flower, and is careful not to crush any insect as he walks. If he works by lamplight on a summer evening, he prefers to keep the window shut and to breathe stifling air, rather than to see insect after insect fall on his table with singed and sinking wings.
-Albert Schweitzer

An ethical man is a Christian holding four aces.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

An ethicist is someone who sees something wrong with whatever you have in mind.
-Marvin Minsky

Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.
-D.H. Lawrence

Ethics change with technology.
-Larry Niven

Ethics in our Western world has hitherto been largely limited to the relations of man to man. But that is a limited ethics. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also.
-Albert Schweitzer

Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life.
-Albert Schweitzer

Ethics: A set of rules laid out by professionals to show the way they would like to act if they could afford it.
-Gerald F. Lieberman

First, there is the law. It must be obeyed. But the law is the minimum. You must act ethically.
-W.A. (Buck) Rogers

He always pictured himself a libertarian, which to my way of thinking means 'I want the liberty to grow rich and you can have the liberty to starve.' It's easy to believe that no one should depend on society for help when you yourself happen not to need such help. (on Robert A. Heinlein and libertarian ethics)
-Isaac Asimov

Humanists hold that ethical values are relative to human experience and need not be derived from theological or metaphysical foundations.
-Paul Kurtz

I don't trust a man who talks about ethics when he is picking my pocket.
-Robert A. Heinlein

I'd like to see people, instead of spending so much time on the ethical problem, get after the problems that really affect the people of this country.
-Richard M. Nixon

In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics.
-Earl Warren

In politics, it seems, retreat is honorable if dictated by military considerations and shameful if even suggested for ethical reasons.
-Mary McCarthy

In the future, the most important job skill will be a lack of ethics.
-Scott Adams

It is clear that the use of such a weapon cannot be justified on any ethical ground which gives a human being a certain individuality and dignity even if he happens to be a resident of an enemy country.
-Enrico Fermi

Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life- it is bad to damage and destroy life. And this ethic, profound and universal, has the significance of a religion. It is religion.
-Albert Schweitzer

Most people are just selfish and egocentric, wanting what they want, when they want it, without regard to the rest of society. The vast majority of people are cave-men in designer clothes, without morals or ethics.
-Frederick A. Farris

No one is more ethical than someone who's just become so.
-Robert Half

Our very lives depend on the ethics of strangers, and most of us are always strangers to other people.
-Bill Moyers

Secular humanism is avowedly non-religious. It is a eupraxsophy (good practical wisdom), which draws its basic principles and ethical values from science, ethics, and philosophy.
-Paul Kurtz

Stripped of ethical rationalizations and philosophical pretensions, a crime is anything that a group in power chooses to prohibit.
-Freda Adler

The basis of effective government is public confidence and that confidence is endangered when ethical standards falter, or appear to falter.
-John F. Kennedy

The deity who stalked the deserts of the Middle East millennia ago- and who seems to have abandoned them to bloodshed in his name ever since- is no one to consult on questions of ethics.
-Sam Harris

The ethic of Reverence for Life prompts us to keep each other alert to what troubles us and to speak and act dauntlessly together in discharging the responsibility that we feel. It keeps us watching together for opportunities to bring some sort of help to animals in recompense for the great misery that men inflict upon them, and thus for a moment we escape from the incomprehensible horror of existence.
-Albert Schweitzer

The irony is that in our decades, the combination of rationalism, asceticism, and individualism (the so-called Protestant Ethic) has produced precisely the system of boondoggling, luxury-consumption, and status.
-Paul Goodman

The needs of a society determine its ethics.
-Maya Angelou

The President must be greater than anyone else, but not better than anyone else. We subject him and his family to close and constant scrutiny and denounce them for things that we ourselves do every day. A Presidential slip of the tongue, a slight error in judgment- social, political, or ethical- can raise a storm of protest. We give the President more work than a man can do, more responsibility than a man should take, more pressure than a man can bear. We abuse him often and rarely praise him. We wear him out, use him up, eat him up. And with all this, Americans have a love for the President that goes beyond loyalty or party nationality; he is ours, and we exercise the right to destroy him.
-John Steinbeck

The Supreme Ethical Rule: Act So As To Elicit the Best In Others and Thereby In Thy Self.
-Felix Adler

The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.
-Omar Bradley

There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite.
-Jorge Luis Borges

To have a sense of sin means to feel guilty at there being an ethical choice to make, a guilt which, however 'good' I may become, remains unchanged.
-W.H. Auden

We live in a culture of diminished ethics and morality, but there are resources within us we known little about... by searching for the best within ourselves we can create a better society and a better world.
-Christopher Reeve

What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.
-Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Categories: Ethics, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic


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