What Is Ethics?
Ethics is the part of philosophy that deals with good and evil. Ethics tries to answer questions like: •What actions are good? What actions are evil?
•How can we tell the difference?
•Are good and evil the same for everyone?
•How should we make hard decisions that might help or hurt other people?
The Four main studies of ethics are;
•Meta-ethics, about the theoretical meaning of moral propositions and ethical opinions; •Normative ethics, an abstract set of principles to distinguish right from wrong •Applied ethics, about how moral outcomes can be achieved in specific situations; •Descriptive ethics is the study of people’s beliefs about morality, what ethical beliefs people have;
Ethics seeks to resolve questions dealing with human morality.
Meta-ethics is a field within philosophy that seeks to understand the nature of normative ethics. The focus of meta-ethics is on how we understand, know about, and what we mean when we talk about what is right and what is wrong. It’s the mean of ethical opinions, but the opinions have to be justified.
Normative ethics is the study of ethical action. It is the branch of philosophical ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking. There are two types of normative ethics; Relativist and absolutist. Relativist ethics have flexible rules surrounding ethics so to get the best possible outcome for everyone where as with absolutist views, the rules are non negotiable, you must follow them no matter what the outcome.
Applied ethics attempts to apply ethical theory to real-life situations. Applied ethics is used by individuals facing difficult decisions. The sort of questions addressed by applied ethics include: “Is getting an abortion immoral?” “Is euthanasia immoral?” “Is affirmative action right or wrong?” “What are human rights, and how do we determine them?” “Do animals have rights as well?” and “Do individuals have the right of self determination?”
It is the study of human morals, and issues of moral concerns. Applied ethics are open to debate.
Descriptive ethics are the ethical beliefs people actually have. Its examination of ethics doesn’t start with a preconceived theory, but it investigates observations of actual choices made by people 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.
Utilitarianism; is an ethical theory that argues the proper course of action is one that maximizes overall “happiness”. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are influential supporters of this. Bentham says ‘it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong’. This form of utilitarianism holds that what matters is the total happiness; the happiness of everyone and not the happiness of any particular person. John Stuart Mill, in his exposition of hedonistic 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.
Deontology; deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek “duty”) is an approach to ethics that determines goodness or rightness from examining acts, or the rules and duties that the person doing the act tried to fulfil. In deontology, an act may be considered right even if the act produces a bad consequence if it follows the rule that “one should do unto others as they would have done unto them”, and even if the person who does the act lacks virtue and had a bad intention in doing the act. According to deontology, we have a duty to act in a way that does those things that are inherently good as acts, or follow an obligatory rule (as in rule utilitarianism). For deontologists, the ends or consequences of our actions are not important in and of themselves, and our intentions are not important in and of themselves.