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Three Main Ethical Principles: Analysis of Antisocial Personality Disorder

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Three Main Ethical Principles

The phrase ‘basic ethical principles’ is used to refer to the general judgments used by people as a way of serving as a fundamental justification of different ethical evaluations and human actions prescriptions. There are three basic moral principles, as described in the Belmont Report. The three principles include the principle for respect for people, the principle of beneficence, and the principle for justice.

Respect for people

The principle of respect for people considered two major ethical convictions. The first one asserts that people are supposed to be served as an autonomous agents. The second one indicates that people whose autonomy is diminished are supposed to be entitled to protection (The Belmont Report, 1979). Therefore, according to the ethical principle of respect for people is categorized into two distinct moral requirements whereby the first one involves the need to protect people with diminished autonomy, as well as the need for acknowledging autonomy.

According to the understanding on principle for the respect for people, an autonomous individual is a person who can deliberate personal goals as well as the one who performs his or her activities through the guidance of such deliberation. This principle indicates that the respect autonomy involves giving more attention to the choices and opinions of autonomous people as one refrain from the obstruction of their activities until the aspects are entirely detrimental to other individuals. Showing no respect to an autonomous agent implies repudiating the considered judgment of a person, denying the freedom of acting of an individual to the considered judgment, or withholding information that is supposed to be applied in making a considered judgment, under circumstances where there is no genuine reason of doing so.

Some individuals require much protection, even though it means excluding the person from the activities that have a high likelihood of causing more harm to him or her. Besides, other people need limited protection to the extent of ensuring that they perform their roles freely while they are aware of the potential adverse effects. The level of protection that an individual is entitled to is determined by the risk and likelihood of the possible benefit.

The Principle of Beneficence

The principle of beneficence indicates the people are handled ethically by protecting them from harm, respecting their decisions as well as applying all efforts to ensure that well-being is secured. In this case, ‘beneficence’ usually involves understanding charity or kindness acts that are beyond strict obligation. There are two critical rules developed as a complementary method of expressing beneficence acts. The first rule indicates that an individual is not supposed to harm, and the second one suggests that an individual is supposed to maximize benefits as possible while minimizing any potential harm (The Belmont Report, 1979).

Previously, the rule regarding, an individual is not supposed to harm, was a fundamental principle in medical ethics. However, Claude Bernard expanded it to be also applied in research by indicating that a study is not supposed to injure any individuals regardless of the level of benefit that would result. However, in the process, for an individual to avoid harm, he or she is supposed to understand harmful things. Besides, physicians are supposed to ensure that the patient has benefited based on their best decision. However, to learn what helps the patient involves exposing him or her in a risk.

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The beneficence obligations do not only affect the individual investigator but also influence the entire society as a whole. Based on particular projects, researchers and their institution members are required to provide forethought for maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risk that may take place during the research investigation.

The Principle of Justice

According to the principle of justice, the main question that needs to be answered asks who is supposed to get the benefits of investigation and take the responsibility for its burdens. This principle requires giving what is deserved as well as applying fairness of distribution. The aspect of injustice is usually displayed when some people benefit while others are denied without having a genuine reason for the act. The other way of applying the principle of justice is by ensuring that all the individuals involved are treated equally. In this case, several formulations are used for the distribution of burdens and benefits. Every formulation has an important aspect based on which benefit and burden is supposed to be distributed. The formulations involve giving an equal share to every person who is involved, treating every individual based on their individual need, handling every person based on their effort, treating every individual based on their societal contribution, as well as handling people based on their merits (The Belmont Report, 1979).

The principle of justice is considered to be very important as it is mostly applied in research to analyze various scenarios. For example, in the case given regarding the issue of antisocial personality disorder and its effects in the community with its members can be used as an example. Through the application of the principle of justice, research will be conducted among inmates to determine the effect of antisocial personality disorder for both the entire community as well as the prison community.

Subject Selection to Reflect Diversity

The selection of subjects sufficiently reflects diversity in making the study results generalize the general public. The sample of inmates in the local prison represents the entire inmates not only in the particular prison but also in other facilities. Through the consideration of the level of crimes within a community, the aspect of antisocial personality disorder is evidenced as it determined the number of inmates within a local prison. Since the sample of inmates is selected randomly, the outcome obtained is an indication of the condition of the general population. An antisocial personality disorder is a condition when an individual violates the rights of others, thus committing crimes. Therefore, the test of the antisocial personality disorder determines whether the level of crimes in a community. If there are several incidents of antisocial personality disorder among inmates, it implies that the community is prone to crimes, and therefore, there is a high likelihood of more people being arrested as inmates. Besides, if the level of the condition is high among the sample inmates selected, then it implies that there is a high likelihood of other inmates to suffer the condition and therefore, the level of violence is high within the prison.

Expectations of the Individual Participants

The participants selected for the research on antisocial personality disorder had high hopes of benefiting from the study. Though a sample of the entire inmates had to be chosen for meeting the objective of the study, almost all the inmates wanted to take part to assess their level of suffering antisocial personality disorder. The inmates who were diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder demanded justice for their inability to control their ability to commit crimes, by claiming that they should first be treated from the condition before they are entitled to imprisonment. Based on the findings of the research, justice should be applied among the inmates. Individuals who are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder suffer mental illness of committing crimes. In most cases, it is not the willingness of the inmates to commit a crime, but a way of coping with the condition. Therefore, inmates suffering from the state should be released from the prison for the treatment of their conditions, while those do not have any signs of the illness should be retained in prison.

The Chosen Diverse Group

Since the study had to obtain a sample of inmates within the local prison, only a small number of participants were selected. However, since some of the participants were diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder, it indicates that other inmates suffered from the condition but were not in the sample. In this case, since justice should be applied to all, the entire group of inmates is supposed to be assessed to determine whether they suffer from the condition or not. In such a case, the mental health of the inmate will give an insight regarding the reason as to why they engage in crimes. In most cases, the disorder develops as a result of the environment or the condition in which an individual was raised during childhood. All these factors are supposed to be assessed among the inmate to give them justice over imprisonment.


  1. The Belmont Report. (1979, April 18). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Retrieved from

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Three Main Ethical Principles: Analysis of Antisocial Personality Disorder. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“Three Main Ethical Principles: Analysis of Antisocial Personality Disorder.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
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