Written by
Rebecca Grant
December 2012
Written by
Rebecca Grant
December 2012 defines the term ethics as:


1)      A system of moral principles;

2)      The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.;

3)      Moral principles, as of an individual;

4)      That branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

Each profession has its own code of ethics each pertaining to moral conduct and principles.  Some are written among oaths and vows such as those found within the medical field and/or law enforcement:

Medical ethics in the narrow historical sense refers to a group of guidelines, such as the Oath of Hippocrates, generally written by physicians, about the physician’s ideal relationship to his peers and to his patients. Medical ethics in the modern sense refers to the application of general and fundamental ethical principles to clinical practice situations, including medical research (Steinberg, 1998).

Likewise, ethics within Law Enforcement also tend to fall within the guidelines of an oath: be impartial, conduct oneself in a manner that befits the department’s values and mission; treat all citizens fairly with respect and dignity; and protect and serve.

You don’t very often hear about the ethics and/or professional guidelines of say…garbage collectors, hoteliers, florists, or even…writers. 

In grade school, well…more than likely Junior High School, students are taught to write papers.  One of the first rules they are taught is, do not copy another person’s work.  As one progresses throughout their academic career, the hanging threat of repercussions as a result of plagiarism becomes worse and worse.  Receiving an E or F on an assignment would probably be the easiest of punishments to receive.  However, once one is in college, the punishment is much more severe: expulsion!  So what happens when one is out of college and in the real world?  Lawsuit!

There are, of course, other items that fall under ethics such as the matter of not damaging the reputation of a person/place/location/business, not bringing harm to the world with instructions on how to hotwire cars or create homemade bombs (Hansen, 2007), and soliciting false reviews. 


A writer recently told me that if you get too many reviews that are 3 stars and below, you begin to stop reading your reviews.  I believe it.  I also believe that if you do not get honest reviews, especially from those who only want to help you succeed (specifically family and friends), then anyone who is relying on those reviews to make a decision on whether to purchase your book can be harmed.  They spent their hard-earned money expecting a certain quality of story and were left disappointed.  No one wants that.  Most writers appreciate the feedback, positive and negative, because its help them to hone their craft and technique.


It all comes back to ethics, the act of honesty, and "Do Unto Others..."


Hansen, R. (2007). Santa Clara University. “The ethics of fiction writing.”  Retrieved from:

Steinberg, A. (1998). Encyclopedia of Jewish medical ethics. “Ethics, secular”.  Vol. 6, p. 646-692.










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