Humility can actually play a fairly significant role in ethical decision making, particularly when those decisions are related to any form of organization, whether professional, clerical, or even personal (such as a family). Essentially, humility's part in ethical decision making stems from a person's ability to look beyond his or her own personal needs to determine a greater good. That greater good typically exists outside of the individual, and may reflect the interest of other people or groups. In especially difficult ethical decisions, the interest represented by an individual making a choice and the greater good that is to be achieved by such a decision are in conflict. However, it is safe to posit that no matter what sort of ethical decision is being made, there is a degree of self-effacement that needs to take place for the one determining the course of action. Being able to overlook one's own needs and to consider the utility and the overall effect such a decision will have on other, external factors (including people, means of production, precedents, etc.) requires an inherent humility. One must be able to displace one's own needs and desires as the central focal point for choosing a course of action, which is not always easily done.
Humility plays an integral role in the ethical decision making process related to utilitarianism, a philosophy pioneered by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill that analyzes the outcome of an action and the greatest felicity achieved by it to determine whether or not a particular practice is ethically acceptable (Mill 1863). Utilitarianism requires people to think beyond their own immediate needs, gains and satisfaction from an event to consider such factors in a comprehensive viewpoint that is fairly inclusive of all parties involved. The degree of temperance required to do so, of course, is aligned with humility and with placing, if need be, the needs and outcome of others before that of the individual making the…
Sources Used in Document:
Boghossian, P. (2011). "The Maze of Moral Relativism." The New York Times. Retrieved from http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/the-maze-of-moral-relativism/