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- Modern Morality and Ancient Ethics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Modern Morality and Ancient Ethics
To put it very simply, virtue ethics teaches that an action is right if and only if it is an action that a virtuous person would do in the same circumstances, and that a virtuous person is someone who has a particularly good character. Situation ethics rejects prescriptive rules and argues that individual ethical decisions should be made according to the unique situation.
Rather than following rules the decision maker should follow a desire to seek the best for the people involved. There are no moral rules or rights - each case is unique and deserves a unique solution. Some philosophers teach that ethics is the codification of political ideology, and that the function of ethics is to state, enforce and preserve particular political beliefs. They usually go on to say that ethics is used by the dominant political elite as a tool to control everyone else. More cynical writers suggest that power elites enforce an ethical code on other people that helps them control those people, but do not apply this code to their own behaviour.
One of the big questions in moral philosophy is whether or not there are unchanging moral rules that apply in all cultures and at all times. Some people think there are such universal rules that apply to everyone. This sort of thinking is called moral absolutism. Moral absolutism argues that there are some moral rules that are always true, that these rules can be discovered and that these rules apply to everyone.
Immoral acts - acts that break these moral rules - are wrong in themselves, regardless of the circumstances or the consequences of those acts. Absolutism takes a universal view of humanity - there is one set of rules for everyone - which enables the drafting of universal rules - such as the Declaration of Human Rights. Moral relativists say that if you look at different cultures or different periods in history you'll find that they have different moral rules. Therefore it makes sense to say that "good" refers to the things that a particular group of people approve of.
Moral relativists think that that's just fine, and dispute the idea that there are some objective and discoverable 'super-rules' that all cultures ought to obey. They believe that relativism respects the diversity of human societies and responds to the different circumstances surrounding human acts. Search term:. Read more. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled.
While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving. Ethics guide. Ethics: a general introduction. On this page What is ethics? What use is ethics? Ethics and people Are ethical statements objectively true?
Four ethical 'isms' Where does ethics come from? Are there universal moral rules? Page options Print this page. What is ethics? Ethics covers the following dilemmas: how to live a good life our rights and responsibilities the language of right and wrong moral decisions - what is good and bad? Approaches to ethics Philosophers nowadays tend to divide ethical theories into three areas: metaethics, normative ethics and applied ethics. Meta-ethics deals with the nature of moral judgement.
It looks at the origins and meaning of ethical principles. Normative ethics is concerned with the content of moral judgements and the criteria for what is right or wrong. Applied ethics looks at controversial topics like war, animal rights and capital punishment Top.
Ethics needs to provide answers. However, ethics does provide good tools for thinking about moral issues. Ethics can provide a moral map Most moral issues get us pretty worked up - think of abortion and euthanasia for starters. Ethics can pinpoint a disagreement Using the framework of ethics, two people who are arguing a moral issue can often find that what they disagree about is just one particular part of the issue, and that they broadly agree on everything else.
But sometimes ethics doesn't provide people with the sort of help that they really want. Ethics doesn't give right answers Ethics doesn't always show the right answer to moral problems. Ethics can give several answers Many people want there to be a single right answer to ethical questions. Ethics as source of group strength One problem with ethics is the way it's often used as a weapon.
Good people as well as good actions Ethics is not only about the morality of particular courses of action, but it's also about the goodness of individuals and what it means to live a good life. Virtue Ethics is particularly concerned with the moral character of human beings. Searching for the source of right and wrong At times in the past some people thought that ethical problems could be solved in one of two ways: by discovering what God wanted people to do by thinking rigorously about moral principles and problems If a person did this properly they would be led to the right conclusion.
Modern thinkers often teach that ethics leads people not to conclusions but to 'decisions'. Are ethical statements objectively true? Ethical realists think that human beings discover ethical truths that already have an independent existence. Ethical non-realists think that human beings invent ethical truths.
M Hare, Essays in Ethical Theory, Four ethical 'isms' When a person says "murder is bad" what are they doing? The different 'isms' regard the person uttering the statement as doing different things. We can show some of the different things I might be doing when I say 'murder is bad' by rewriting that statement to show what I really mean: I might be making a statement about an ethical fact "It is wrong to murder" This is moral realism I might be making a statement about my own feelings "I disapprove of murder" This is subjectivism I might be expressing my feelings "Down with murder" This is emotivism I might be giving an instruction or a prohibition "Don't murder people" This is prescriptivism Moral realism Moral realism is based on the idea that there are real objective moral facts or truths in the universe.
Subjectivism Subjectivism teaches that moral judgments are nothing more than statements of a person's feelings or attitudes, and that ethical statements do not contain factual truths about goodness or badness. So if someone says 'murder is wrong' they are telling us that they disapprove of murder. Emotivism Emotivism is the view that moral claims are no more than expressions of approval or disapproval.
Prescriptivism Prescriptivists think that ethical statements are instructions or recommendations. Where does ethics come from? Philosophers have several answers to this question: God and religion Human conscience and intuition a rational moral cost-benefit analysis of actions and their effects the example of good human beings a desire for the best for people in each unique situation political power God-based ethics - supernaturalism Supernaturalism makes ethics inseparable from religion.
Intuitionism Intuitionists think that good and bad are real objective properties that can't be broken down into component parts. Don't get confused. For the intuitionist: moral truths are not discovered by rational argument moral truths are not discovered by having a hunch moral truths are not discovered by having a feeling It's more a sort of moral 'aha' moment - a realisation of the truth.
Consequentialism This is the ethical theory that most non-religious people think they use every day. One famous way of putting this is 'the greatest good for the greatest number of people'. Two problems with consequentialism are: it can lead to the conclusion that some quite dreadful acts are good predicting and evaluating the consequences of actions is often very difficult Non-consequentialism or deontological ethics Non-consequentialism is concerned with the actions themselves and not with the consequences.
Virtue ethics Virtue ethics looks at virtue or moral character, rather than at ethical duties and rules, or the consequences of actions - indeed some philosophers of this school deny that there can be such things as universal ethical rules. Situation ethics Situation ethics rejects prescriptive rules and argues that individual ethical decisions should be made according to the unique situation.
Ethics and ideology Some philosophers teach that ethics is the codification of political ideology, and that the function of ethics is to state, enforce and preserve particular political beliefs. Moral absolutism Some people think there are such universal rules that apply to everyone. Religious views of ethics tend to be absolutist.
Why people disagree with moral relativism: Many of us feel that moral rules have more to them than the general agreement of a group of people - that morality is more than a super-charged form of etiquette Many of us think we can be good without conforming to all the rules of society Moral relativism has a problem with arguing against the majority view: if most people in a society agree with particular rules, that's the end of the matter.
Many of the improvements in the world have come about because people opposed the prevailing ethical view - moral relativists are forced to regard such people as behaving "badly" Any choice of social grouping as the foundation of ethics is bound to be arbitrary Moral relativism doesn't provide any way to deal with moral differences between societies Moral somewhere-in-between-ism Most non-philosophers think that both of the above theories have some good points and think that there are a few absolute ethical rules but a lot of ethical rules depend on the culture Top.
See also. Religion and Ethics home Religions. The "unconquerable will" is central to this philosophy. The individual's will should be independent and inviolate. Allowing a person to disturb the mental equilibrium is, in essence, offering yourself in slavery. If a person is free to anger you at will, you have no control over your internal world, and therefore no freedom. Freedom from material attachments is also necessary. If a thing breaks, the person should not be upset, but realize it was a thing that could break.
Similarly, if someone should die, those close to them should hold to their serenity because the loved one was made of flesh and blood destined to death. Stoic philosophy says to accept things that cannot be changed, resigning oneself to the existence and enduring in a rational fashion. Death is not feared. People do not "lose" their life, but instead "return", for they are returning to God who initially gave what the person is as a person.
Epictetus said difficult problems in life should not be avoided, but rather embraced. They are spiritual exercises needed for the health of the spirit, just as physical exercise is required for the health of the body. He also stated that sex and sexual desire are to be avoided as the greatest threat to the integrity and equilibrium of a man's mind. Abstinence is highly desirable. Epictetus said remaining abstinent in the face of temptation was a victory for which a man could be proud. Modern virtue ethics was popularized during the late 20th century in large part as a response to G.
Anscombe 's " Modern Moral Philosophy ". Anscombe argues that consequentialist and deontological ethics are only feasible as universal theories if the two schools ground themselves in divine law. As a deeply devoted Christian herself, Anscombe proposed that either those who do not give ethical credence to notions of divine law take up virtue ethics, which does not necessitate universal laws as agents themselves are investigated for virtue or vice and held up to "universal standards", or that those who wish to be utilitarian or consequentialist ground their theories in religious conviction.
In Whose Justice, Whose Rationality? Complete Conduct Principles for the 21st Century  blended the Eastern virtue ethics and the Western virtue ethics, with some modifications to suit the 21st Century, and formed a part of contemporary virtue ethics. One major trend in contemporary virtue ethics is the Modern Stoicism movement. Ethical intuitionism also called moral intuitionism is a family of views in moral epistemology and, on some definitions, metaphysics.
At minimum, ethical intuitionism is the thesis that our intuitive awareness of value, or intuitive knowledge of evaluative facts, forms the foundation of our ethical knowledge. The view is at its core a foundationalism about moral knowledge: it is the view that some moral truths can be known non-inferentially i.
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Such an epistemological view implies that there are moral beliefs with propositional contents; so it implies cognitivism. As such, ethical intuitionism is to be contrasted with coherentist approaches to moral epistemology, such as those that depend on reflective equilibrium. Throughout the philosophical literature, the term "ethical intuitionism" is frequently used with significant variation in its sense.
This article's focus on foundationalism reflects the core commitments of contemporary self-identified ethical intuitionists. Sufficiently broadly defined, ethical intuitionism can be taken to encompass cognitivist forms of moral sense theory. Ethical intuitionism was first clearly shown in use by the philosopher Francis Hutcheson. Later ethical intuitionists of influence and note include Henry Sidgwick , G. Moore , Harold Arthur Prichard , C. Lewis and, most influentially, Robert Audi.
Objections to ethical intuitionism include whether or not there are objective moral values- an assumption which the ethical system is based upon- the question of why many disagree over ethics if they are absolute, and whether Occam's razor cancels such a theory out entirely. Hedonism posits that the principal ethic is maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain.
There are several schools of Hedonist thought ranging from those advocating the indulgence of even momentary desires to those teaching a pursuit of spiritual bliss. In their consideration of consequences, they range from those advocating self-gratification regardless of the pain and expense to others, to those stating that the most ethical pursuit maximizes pleasure and happiness for the most people. Founded by Aristippus of Cyrene, Cyrenaics supported immediate gratification or pleasure.
There was little to no concern with the future, the present dominating in the pursuit of immediate pleasure. Cyrenaic hedonism encouraged the pursuit of enjoyment and indulgence without hesitation, believing pleasure to be the only good. Epicurean ethics is a hedonist form of virtue ethics. Epicurus " Epicureans observed that indiscriminate indulgence sometimes resulted in negative consequences.
Some experiences were therefore rejected out of hand, and some unpleasant experiences endured in the present to ensure a better life in the future. Excessive indulgence can be destructive to pleasure and can even lead to pain. For example, eating one food too often makes a person lose a taste for it. Eating too much food at once leads to discomfort and ill-health.
Modern Morality and Ancient Ethics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
All choices and avoidances should, therefore, be referred to hedonic calculus with the goal of net pleasure. Pain and fear were to be avoided. Living was essentially good, barring pain and illness. Death was not to be feared. Fear was considered the source of most unhappiness. Conquering the fear of death would naturally lead to a happier life. Epicurus based his philosophy in the study of nature, and reasoned that the study of nature indicates that there is no life after death and that when we are, death is not and when death is, we are not.
The person would not be alive to suffer, fear or worry; he would be non-existent in death. It is irrational to fret over circumstances that do not exist, such as one's state of death in the absence of an afterlife. State consequentialism , also known as Mohist consequentialism,  is an ethical theory that evaluates the moral worth of an action based on how much it contributes to the basic goods of a state.
The "material wealth" of Mohist consequentialism refers to basic needs like shelter and clothing, and the "order" of Mohist consequentialism refers to Mozi's stance against warfare and violence, which he viewed as pointless and a threat to social stability. Stanford sinologist David Shepherd Nivison , in The Cambridge History of Ancient China , writes that the moral goods of Mohism "are interrelated: more basic wealth, then more reproduction; more people, then more production and wealth In contrast to Bentham's views, state consequentialism is not utilitarian because it is not hedonistic or individualistic.
The importance of outcomes that are good for the community outweigh the importance of individual pleasure and pain. Consequentialism refers to moral theories that hold the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action or create a structure for judgment, see rule consequentialism. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence.
This view is often expressed as the aphorism "The ends justify the means". The term "consequentialism" was coined by G. Anscombe in her essay " Modern Moral Philosophy " in , to describe what she saw as the central error of certain moral theories, such as those propounded by Mill and Sidgwick.
The defining feature of consequentialist moral theories is the weight given to the consequences in evaluating the rightness and wrongness of actions. Apart from this basic outline, there is little else that can be unequivocally said about consequentialism as such. However, there are some questions that many consequentialist theories address:.
One way to divide various consequentialisms is by the many types of consequences that are taken to matter most, that is, which consequences count as good states of affairs. According to utilitarianism , a good action is one that results in an increase and positive effect, and the best action is one that results in that effect for the greatest number. Closely related is eudaimonic consequentialism, according to which a full, flourishing life, which may or may not be the same as enjoying a great deal of pleasure, is the ultimate aim.
Similarly, one might adopt an aesthetic consequentialism, in which the ultimate aim is to produce beauty. However, one might fix on non-psychological goods as the relevant effect. Thus, one might pursue an increase in material equality or political liberty instead of something like the more ephemeral "pleasure". Other theories adopt a package of several goods, all to be promoted equally. Whether a particular consequentialist theory focuses on a single good or many, conflicts and tensions between different good states of affairs are to be expected and must be adjudicated.
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that argues the proper course of action is one that maximizes a positive effect, such as "happiness", "welfare", or the ability to live according to personal preferences. In A Fragment on Government Bentham says 'it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong' and describes this as a fundamental axiom. In An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation he talks of 'the principle of utility' but later prefers "the greatest happiness principle".
Utilitarianism is the paradigmatic example of a consequentialist moral theory. This form of utilitarianism holds that the morally correct action is the one that produces the best outcome for all people affected by the action. John Stuart Mill , in his exposition of utilitarianism, proposed a hierarchy of pleasures, meaning that the pursuit of certain kinds of pleasure is more highly valued than the pursuit of other pleasures. The major division within utilitarianism is between act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism.
In act utilitarianism, the principle of utility applies directly to each alternative act in a situation of choice. The right act is the one that brings about the best results or the least amount of bad results. In rule utilitarianism, the principle of utility determines the validity of rules of conduct moral principles. A rule like promise-keeping is established by looking at the consequences of a world in which people break promises at will and a world in which promises are binding. Right and wrong are the following or breaking of rules that are sanctioned by their utilitarian value.
Under deontology, an act may be considered right even if the act produces a bad consequence,  if it follows the rule or moral law. According to the deontological view, people have a duty to act in a way that does those things that are inherently good as acts "truth-telling" for example , or follow an objectively obligatory rule as in rule utilitarianism. Immanuel Kant's theory of ethics is considered deontological for several different reasons. Kant's argument that to act in the morally right way, one must act from duty, begins with an argument that the highest good must be both good in itself, and good without qualification.
Kant then argues that those things that are usually thought to be good, such as intelligence , perseverance and pleasure , fail to be either intrinsically good or good without qualification. Pleasure, for example, appears to not be good without qualification, because when people take pleasure in watching someone suffer, they make the situation ethically worse. He concludes that there is only one thing that is truly good:.
Modern Morality and Ancient Ethics
Nothing in the world—indeed nothing even beyond the world—can possibly be conceived which could be called good without qualification except a good will. Immanuel Kant 's theory of ethics is considered deontological for several different reasons. Kant's argument that to act in the morally right way one must act purely from duty begins with an argument that the highest good must be both good in itself and good without qualification. Pleasure, for example, appears not to be good without qualification, because when people take pleasure in watching someone suffer, this seems to make the situation ethically worse.
Kant then argues that the consequences of an act of willing cannot be used to determine that the person has a good will; good consequences could arise by accident from an action that was motivated by a desire to cause harm to an innocent person, and bad consequences could arise from an action that was well-motivated. Instead, he claims, a person has a good will when he 'acts out of respect for the moral law'.
So, the only thing that is truly good in itself is a good will, and a good will is only good when the willer chooses to do something because it is that person's duty, i. He defines respect as "the concept of a worth which thwarts my self-love". Kant's three significant formulations of the categorical imperative are:. Kant argued that the only absolutely good thing is a good will, and so the single determining factor of whether an action is morally right is the will, or motive of the person doing it. If they are acting on a bad maxim, e.
For a lie always harms another; if not some human being, then it nevertheless does harm to humanity in general, inasmuch as it vitiates the very source of right [ Rechtsquelle ] All practical principles of right must contain rigorous truth This is because such exceptions would destroy the universality on account of which alone they bear the name of principles.
Although not all deontologists are religious, some believe in the 'divine command theory', which is actually a cluster of related theories which essentially state that an action is right if God has decreed that it is right. If God commands people not to work on Sabbath , then people act rightly if they do not work on Sabbath because God has commanded that they do not do so.
If they do not work on Sabbath because they are lazy, then their action is not truly speaking "right", even though the actual physical action performed is the same. If God commands not to covet a neighbour's goods, this theory holds that it would be immoral to do so, even if coveting provides the beneficial outcome of a drive to succeed or do well. One thing that clearly distinguishes Kantian deontologism from divine command deontology is that Kantianism maintains that man, as a rational being, makes the moral law universal, whereas divine command maintains that God makes the moral law universal.
Rejecting any form of coercion or manipulation, Habermas believes that agreement between the parties is crucial for a moral decision to be reached. It also formulates a rule by which ethical actions can be determined and proposes that ethical actions should be universalisable, in a similar way to Kant's ethics. Habermas argues that his ethical theory is an improvement on Kant's ethics.
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Kant distinguished between the phenomena world, which can be sensed and experienced by humans, and the noumena , or spiritual world, which is inaccessible to humans. This dichotomy was necessary for Kant because it could explain the autonomy of a human agent: although a human is bound in the phenomenal world, their actions are free in the intelligible world. For Habermas, morality arises from discourse, which is made necessary by their rationality and needs, rather than their freedom. Associated with the pragmatists , Charles Sanders Peirce , William James , and especially John Dewey , pragmatic ethics holds that moral correctness evolves similarly to scientific knowledge: socially over the course of many lifetimes.
Thus, we should prioritize social reform over attempts to account for consequences, individual virtue or duty although these may be worthwhile attempts, if social reform is provided for. Care ethics contrasts with more well-known ethical models, such as consequentialist theories e. These values include the importance of empathetic relationships and compassion. Care-focused feminism is a branch of feminist thought, informed primarily by ethics of care as developed by Carol Gilligan and Nel Noddings. Noddings proposes that ethical caring has the potential to be a more concrete evaluative model of moral dilemma than an ethic of justice.
Role ethics is an ethical theory based on family roles. Morality is derived from a person's relationship with their community. Ames and Henry Rosemont, "Confucian normativity is defined by living one's family roles to maximum effect. Confucian roles are not rational , and originate through the xin , or human emotions. Anarchist ethics is an ethical theory based on the studies of anarchist thinkers. The biggest contributor to the anarchist ethics is the Russian zoologist, geographer, economist, and political activist Peter Kropotkin.
Starting from the premise that the goal of ethical philosophy should be to help humans adapt and thrive in evolutionary terms, Kropotkin's ethical framework uses biology and anthropology as a basis — in order to scientifically establish what will best enable a given social order to thrive biologically and socially — and advocates certain behavioural practices to enhance humanity's capacity for freedom and well-being, namely practices which emphasise solidarity, equality, and justice. Kropotkin argues that ethics itself is evolutionary, and is inherited as a sort of a social instinct through cultural history, and by so, he rejects any religious and transcendental explanation of morality.
The origin of ethical feeling in both animals and humans can be found, he claims, in the natural fact of "sociality" mutualistic symbiosis , which humans can then combine with the instinct for justice i. This principle of treating others as one wishes to be treated oneself, what is it but the very same principle as equality, the fundamental principle of anarchism? And how can any one manage to believe himself an anarchist unless he practices it?
We do not wish to be ruled. And by this very fact, do we not declare that we ourselves wish to rule nobody? We do not wish to be deceived, we wish always to be told nothing but the truth. And by this very fact, do we not declare that we ourselves do not wish to deceive anybody, that we promise to always tell the truth, nothing but the truth, the whole truth? We do not wish to have the fruits of our labor stolen from us. And by that very fact, do we not declare that we respect the fruits of others' labor? By what right indeed can we demand that we should be treated in one fashion, reserving it to ourselves to treat others in a fashion entirely different?
Our sense of equality revolts at such an idea. The 20th century saw a remarkable expansion and evolution of critical theory, following on earlier Marxist Theory efforts to locate individuals within larger structural frameworks of ideology and action. Antihumanists such as Louis Althusser , Michel Foucault and structuralists such as Roland Barthes challenged the possibilities of individual agency and the coherence of the notion of the 'individual' itself. This was on the basis that personal identity was, in the most part, a social construction.
As critical theory developed in the later 20th century, post-structuralism sought to problematize human relationships to knowledge and 'objective' reality. Post-structuralism and postmodernism argue that ethics must study the complex and relational conditions of actions. A simple alignment of ideas of right and particular acts is not possible.
There will always be an ethical remainder that cannot be taken into account or often even recognized. Such theorists find narrative or, following Nietzsche and Foucault, genealogy to be a helpful tool for understanding ethics because narrative is always about particular lived experiences in all their complexity rather than the assignment of an idea or norm to separate and individual actions.
Zygmunt Bauman says postmodernity is best described as modernity without illusion, the illusion being the belief that humanity can be repaired by some ethic principle. Postmodernity can be seen in this light as accepting the messy nature of humanity as unchangeable. David Couzens Hoy states that Emmanuel Levinas 's writings on the face of the Other and Derrida 's meditations on the relevance of death to ethics are signs of the "ethical turn" in Continental philosophy that occurred in the s and s.
Hoy describes post-critique ethics as the "obligations that present themselves as necessarily to be fulfilled but are neither forced on one or are enforceable" , p. Hoy's post-critique model uses the term ethical resistance. Examples of this would be an individual's resistance to consumerism in a retreat to a simpler but perhaps harder lifestyle, or an individual's resistance to a terminal illness. Hoy describes Levinas's account as "not the attempt to use power against itself, or to mobilize sectors of the population to exert their political power; the ethical resistance is instead the resistance of the powerless" , p.
The ethical resistance of the powerless others to our capacity to exert power over them is therefore what imposes unenforceable obligations on us. The obligations are unenforceable precisely because of the other's lack of power. That actions are at once obligatory and at the same time unenforceable is what put them in the category of the ethical. Obligations that were enforced would, by the virtue of the force behind them, not be freely undertaken and would not be in the realm of the ethical.
Applied ethics is a discipline of philosophy that attempts to apply ethical theory to real-life situations. The discipline has many specialized fields, such as engineering ethics , bioethics , geoethics , public service ethics and business ethics. Applied ethics is used in some aspects of determining public policy, as well as by individuals facing difficult decisions. The sort of questions addressed by applied ethics include: "Is getting an abortion immoral?
But not all questions studied in applied ethics concern public policy. For example, making ethical judgments regarding questions such as, "Is lying always wrong? People, in general, are more comfortable with dichotomies two opposites. However, in ethics, the issues are most often multifaceted and the best-proposed actions address many different areas concurrently. In ethical decisions, the answer is almost never a "yes or no", "right or wrong" statement. Many buttons are pushed so that the overall condition is improved and not to the benefit of any particular faction.
And it has not only been shown that people consider the character of the moral agent i. Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences , biotechnology , medicine , politics , law , and philosophy. It also includes the study of the more commonplace questions of values "the ethics of the ordinary" that arise in primary care and other branches of medicine.
Bioethics also needs to address emerging biotechnologies that affect basic biology and future humans. These developments include cloning , gene therapy , human genetic engineering , astroethics and life in space,  and manipulation of basic biology through altered DNA, RNA and proteins, e. Business ethics also corporate ethics is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment, including fields like medical ethics.
Business ethics represents the practices that any individual or group exhibits within an organization that can negatively or positively affect the businesses core values. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organizations. Business ethics has both normative and descriptive dimensions. As a corporate practice and a career specialization, the field is primarily normative. Academics attempting to understand business behavior employ descriptive methods. The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflect the interaction of profit-maximizing behavior with non-economic concerns.
Interest in business ethics accelerated dramatically during the s and s, both within major corporations and within academia. For example, today most major corporations promote their commitment to non-economic values under headings such as ethics codes and social responsibility charters. Adam Smith said, "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. Ethics implicitly regulates areas and details of behavior that lie beyond governmental control. In Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong , Wendell Wallach and Colin Allen conclude that issues in machine ethics will likely drive advancement in understanding of human ethics by forcing us to address gaps in modern normative theory and by providing a platform for experimental investigation.
For example, machines, unlike humans, can support a wide selection of learning algorithms , and controversy has arisen over the relative ethical merits of these options. This may reopen classic debates of normative ethics framed in new highly technical terms. Military ethics are concerned with questions regarding the application of force and the ethos of the soldier and are often understood as applied professional ethics. However individual countries and traditions have different fields of attention. Political ethics also known as political morality or public ethics is the practice of making moral judgements about political action and political agents.
Public sector ethics is a set of principles that guide public officials in their service to their constituents, including their decision-making on behalf of their constituents. Fundamental to the concept of public sector ethics is the notion that decisions and actions are based on what best serves the public's interests, as opposed to the official's personal interests including financial interests or self-serving political interests. Publication ethics is the set of principles that guide the writing and publishing process for all professional publications. To follow these principles, authors must verify that the publication does not contain plagiarism or publication bias.
Publication bias occurs when the publication is one-sided or " prejudiced against results". If an author is prejudiced against certain results, than it can "lead to erroneous conclusions being drawn". Misconduct in research can occur when an experimenter falsifies results. When conducting medical research, it is important to honor the healthcare rights of a patient by protecting their anonymity in the publication.
This means that individuals should have control of their lives. Justice is the principle that decision-makers must focus on actions that are fair to those affected. Ethical decisions need to be consistent with the ethical theory. There are cases where the management has made decisions that seem to be unfair to the employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders Solomon, , pp Such decisions are unethical.
Relational ethics are related to an ethics of care. Researchers who employ relational ethics value and respect the connection between themselves and the people they study, and " Animal ethics is a term used in academia to describe human-animal relationships and how animals ought to be treated. The subject matter includes animal rights , animal welfare , animal law , speciesism , animal cognition , wildlife conservation , the moral status of nonhuman animals, the concept of nonhuman personhood , human exceptionalism , the history of animal use, and theories of justice.
Moral psychology is a field of study that began as an issue in philosophy and that is now properly considered part of the discipline of psychology. Some use the term "moral psychology" relatively narrowly to refer to the study of moral development. Some of the main topics of the field are moral responsibility , moral development, moral character especially as related to virtue ethics , altruism , psychological egoism , moral luck , and moral disagreement. Evolutionary ethics concerns approaches to ethics morality based on the role of evolution in shaping human psychology and behavior.
Such approaches may be based in scientific fields such as evolutionary psychology or sociobiology , with a focus on understanding and explaining observed ethical preferences and choices. Descriptive ethics is on the less philosophical end of the spectrum since it seeks to gather particular information about how people live and draw general conclusions based on observed patterns.
Abstract and theoretical questions that are more clearly philosophical—such as, "Is ethical knowledge possible? Descriptive ethics offers a value-free approach to ethics, which defines it as a social science rather than a humanity. Its examination of ethics doesn't start with a preconceived theory but rather investigates observations of actual choices made by moral agents in practice. Some philosophers rely on descriptive ethics and choices made and unchallenged by a society or culture to derive categories, which typically vary by context. This can lead to situational ethics and situated ethics.
These philosophers often view aesthetics , etiquette , and arbitration as more fundamental, percolating "bottom up" to imply the existence of, rather than explicitly prescribe, theories of value or of conduct. The study of descriptive ethics may include examinations of the following:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Ethics disambiguation. Plato Kant Nietzsche.
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