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Ethics is a field of study concerning “right behavior” in specific situations. It seeks to distinguish “unwritten laws” (not legal laws) of certain discipline or areas of expert practice: business ethics, sports ethics, dating ethics, etc.—for example, reneging on a “handshake” deal, purposely injuring an opposing player, dating someone else “on the sly.” Based on common practice, fairness, honesty, and historical practice, ethical behavior allows participants to compete or participate equally. The ethical rules are often based on the golden rule and on basic human ideas of fairness. “Sharp practice” is the term for coming close to breaking these unwritten rules.” The penalties for ethical violations in any specific field are reputation damage and refusal by others to associate with you. Formal definitions and the history of ethics can be found in the standard reference sources. Many ethical violations actually eventually become unlawful: monopolies, trying to injure the quarterback, polygamy, for example.
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