ETHICAL PRINCIPLES
("rules of right conduct employed in everyday life"—Boatright)

Principle of Equal Consideration: you should make judgments and decisions and act in ways that treat the interests and well-being of others as no less important than you own. The basic principle of the ethical point of view. It requires fairness and impartiality in your dealings with other people—using your ethical principles as reasons for your actions, and applying those equally to yourself and others. [See Boatright, pg. 9]

Some other broad ethical principles (sometimes referred to as rules)

Principle of Honesty: you should not deceive other people. Our need to trust others justifies this principle. Without trust, then communication, cooperation, and other necessary social functions become difficult or impossible. (Withholding information does not always violate the principle of honesty.)

Do No Harm Principle: you should avoid doing things that harm other people or damage their projects, efforts, or property. Our need for social harmony justifies this principle. We cannot justifiably expect people to respect our well-being if we do not respect theirs. [Combines the feature of impartiality and the feature of commitment to use reason; again see pg. 9]

The Principle of Fidelity: you should fulfill your commitments and act faithfully (the agreements, pledges and promises you make, as well as the special obligations of the human relationships you maintain). Fidelity is essential to all human relationships and institutions, it is the tie that binds. It also motivates us to follow the principles of honesty and harm. (Fidelity is the not the highest value, and usually does not justify violating the basic principle of equal consideration to all.)

The Principle of Autonomy: we have a duty to allow or enable other people to act in informed, considered, and rational ways. This principle is related to the above three and is part of the justification of these. This principle is justified by our need to be autonomous individuals—that is, individuals who are informed, rational, and responsible—which is a very important value in our society.

The Principle of Confidentiality: you should keep private information private, not releasing it to people who have no legitimate need or right to know.

The Principle of Lawfulness: you should follow laws, cooperate with those who act lawfully in implementing and enforcing them, and seek to change laws only by lawful and ethical means.