Ethics & Morality

Introduction of the subject:

Ethics, sometimes known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct, often addressing disputes of moral diversity. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, and thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology.  Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. As a field of intellectual inquiry, moral philosophy is also related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory. Three major areas of study within ethics recognized today are:

  1. Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how their truth values (if any) can be determined
  2. Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action
  3. Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated (or permitted) to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action 

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are “good” (or right) and those that are “bad” (or wrong). Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc., or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with “goodness” or “rightness.”

Moral philosophy includes meta-ethics, which studies abstract issues such as moral ontology and moral epistemology, and normative ethics, which studies more concrete systems of moral decision-making such as deontological ethics and consequentialism. An example of normative ethical philosophy is the Golden Rule, which states that: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. Immorality is the active opposition to morality (i.e. opposition to that which is good or right), while amorality is variously defined as an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any particular set of moral standards or principles.

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