Military Ethics

1672 words 7 pages
Military Ethics
PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Prof Whitney Easton
10 March, 2014 Military Ethics

This paper will discuss the topic of military ethics using the utilitarian theory. It will also incorporate the ethical system of virtue ethics. “Military ethics is about our learning what is good and true and then having the courage to do and be what and who we ought to. For military ethics is not about his or her successes or failures; it is not about their virtues or vices. Military ethics is about our heritage and history, and it is about our responsibility to be men and women of character.” (Toner, 2003) Strong military ethics are vital to maintaining disciplined service members, to providing a clear moral compass to
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Military service members need to possess this virtue in order to make quick decisions, both on and off the battlefield, without getting caught up in their emotions. Military personnel our taught to be professional at all times, although a person might not agree with a situation, they are taught to not let their emotions play into the decision making process. The virtue magnanimity, according to Aristotle, is how we see ourselves and how we are regarded by others (Aristotle, 2002). The correlation of this virtue with military ethics is simple, the military standards and value system teaches that we must not only respect ourselves, but that they must respect others. In doing so, military service members are often rewarded for this behavior by way of awards or through positive reinforcement. The military has had many great leaders, both in history and in present day, that exemplified the virtue magnanimity. The movie Lone Survivor depicts such virtues in the Navy Seals that got caught up in a firefight which resulted in life lost; however, these men exercised military ethics, performed above and beyond the call of duty, and paid the ultimate sacrifice. The four Navy Seals, Marcus Luttrell, Michael Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matt Axelson, embraced and embodied the military ethics that all military personnel are taught and expected to carry out on a daily basis. When events such as these take place in military history, it


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