Cheating in exams is unethical because it affects both the society and the cheating students in a negative manner. The society is at an advantage because the cheating student is at an unfair advantage relative to the students who are not cheating. This would demotivate them as regardless of how much ever they study, they might still not to do better than the cheating student. Therefore, the cheating student is causing a negative externality on society. It also affects the cheating student him/herself because of the fact that they are supposed to learn from education and not cheat. By cheating, they are losing the opportunity to get educated properly thus making themselves and they futures worse off. Through this we can understand that cheating is detrimental to all the parties.
It is also important to explain the meaning of cheating in an ‘academic’ context. Cheating would constitute using somebody else’s answers in an exam or using somebody else’s work as their work. Therefore, cheating would be constituted as using work that is not yours. However, the lines are very blurry because for example a person who is helping a person cheat, even tough is not using anybody’s answer, is still causing the process to happen. Therefore, not just the person who is cheating should be punished but also anybody who is helping them.
There are five philosophical moral theories: Deontology, Utilitarianism, Virtue ethics, Rights-based approach and Post-modernism. The crux of Deontology is that ‘duty matters’. The father of Deontology: Kant, described cheating as something, which is not morally good. He gives the reason for that to be external factors, which might influence a person shirking from his duty. These external factors could be motives for example. The bottom line is that humans should always behave in the most morally correct way. Although real life problems are much more complex, I think deontology perfectly describes why we must not cheat. It is morally wrong to do so and this is why we must avoid such actions, which could potentially corrupt our personality.
The second theory is named Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is based on economics where it is assumed that all agents (humans) are rational agents who wish to maximize their utility (benefits) to them self. Utility is like a cost benefit analysis, which can be defined as benefits minus the costs. An example could be of the option to sacrifice 1 life to save two lives. According to this theory, it will be satisfactory to sacrifice 1 life in order to save two as that would maximize the amount of utility in a market/country/economy. Furthermore, there are two branches of utilitarianism: Act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism is all about maximizing the utility for the greatest amount of people and rule utilitarianism looks at the long-term consequences but involves morality. My opinion regarding utilitarianism is the idea, that it will always be easy to justify cheating for some greater benefit. For example, a student might say that if I cheat in this test, then through my university degree, I might be able to create a great impact on society. Clearly if we use this theory, cheating which might then be considered a small transgression against this ‘greater good’ which be overlooked. Therefore I think this theory is not the ideal solution to cheating and its costs.
The third theory is named Virtue Ethics. Virtue ethics is derived from the famous Greek philosophers: Aristotle and Plato. The idea behind this theory is that the decision of what is ethical or not depends on the person. If someone is morally virtuous, then so is the action morally virtuous. Virtue theory suggests that rather than punishing or deterring, humans should be guided towards being good people. According to this theory, context is also very important so for any action we must look at the background behind it. Although for cheating, I do not