Social Ethical Models

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Social Ethical Models: Modeling of social groups for purposes of understanding behaviors is a practice as old as Plato. Reasons for understanding social behavior range from efforts at governance (i.e. Plato, Machiavelli, Disraeli) to Marketing (targeting to specific groups) to scientific analysis. Social ethical modeling, a more recent phenomenon, combines ethical analysis with social analysis, and is used to understand and predict different ethical beliefs and responses by groups of individuals given for similar situations. Every individual holds their own set of ethical beliefs; however, many ethicists believe that certain groups of individuals who share certain underlying beliefs, outlooks, or life perspectives, will also share predominate ethical and moral views. By grouping these individuals the social ethicist attempts to understand why these societal groups believe and behave the way they do. This practice, most social ethicists believe will increase human understanding of social behaviors and lead to increased tolerance and empathy, among individuals. In addition, social modeling helps individuals understand their own decisions. Dealing with ethical issues is often perplexing and without the benefits of a decision making model supported by ethical positions people are apt to repeat their mistakes.

The Ethics of Modeling: One question often overlooked by social ethicists is, β€œis social ethical modeling itself an ethical practice?” As social ethical modeling is a subset of social modeling, a look at the ethics of that practice is the first step.

The Orthodox Perspective:

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