Moral and Ethical Decision Making – Literature Review


  1. Thomson, M.H.
  2. Adams, B.D.
  3. Sartori, J.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Humansystems Inc, Guelph ONT (CAN)
This report outlines the Department of National Defence’s approach to moral and ethical decision making outlined in the Defence Ethics Program (DEP), and considers the scientific and military research pertaining to moral and ethical decision making. This work discusses the various conceptual definitions of morality and ethics, and explores the Defense Ethics Program in detail. The DEP argues that several factors influence moral and ethical decision making, and these factors are reviewed. Following this, both formal and informal CF training mechanisms that address moral and ethical decision making are explored. In general, our review found that the DEP depicts ethical decision making as a primarily rational linear cognitive process. This stands in contrast to both descriptions of military personnel, as well as current literature that suggests intuition, emotion, culture, and an individual’s self-concept will also determine moral and ethical judgements and action. Moreover, efforts to understand moral and ethical decision making must also consider the operational realities that confront the CF in today’s military campaigns.

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Canadian Forces;ethics;morality;decision making;training;Defense Ethics Program
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2005-105 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
08 Aug 2005
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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