What is ethics?Definition, Scope and Methodof Ethics
The definitions of ethics The word ethics comes from the Greek ethos which meanscustoms or habits. Ethics is also often called moral philosophy. The word moral is from the Latin mores which also meanscustoms or habits. Thus, ethics means the science of customs or habits ofsociety.
The definitions of ethics While morals or morality refers to customs, ethics extend tomean habitual conduct or character. Morality deals with our reasoning and ethics with our doing. Ethics can also mean ‘the science of rightness andwrongness of character and conduct.’
The definitions of ethics Ethics is also the ‘science of the highest good.’ It is thescience of morality. It is the science of the supreme ideal of human life. Ethics is the study of what is right or good in humanconduct or character.
The nature of Ethics It is a normative science. Normative sciences seek todetermine norms, ideals or standards, in this case, of humanconduct and character. It is not a natural or positive science but a regulative science. It is not a practical science nor does it teach us how to live amoral life, rather, it merely ascertains the moral ideal.
The nature of Ethics Ethics is not an art. Art consists in the acquisition of a skill butmorality consists in an attitude of the will when there is noovert action. Ethics is a science because it aims at systematicexplanation of rightness and wrongness.
The Method of Ethics The physical and biological method, in which morality istraced to the conduct of savages and ultimately to theconduct of animals which seek pleasure and avoid pain. The historical or genetic method, in which ethics is thoughtto evolve from the crude customs of primitive people. The psychological method, in which morality is deemed tobe a phenomenon of human consciousness. The metaphysical method, in which morality is deemed tobe a revelation of the divine and is linked with spirituality andreligion.
The Method of EthicsThe true method of ethics is both empirical and transcendental.It is both scientific and metaphysical.Ethics accurately observes the moral phenomena, classifiesthem according to their similarities and differences andexplains them.Just as other sciences systematize judgments of commonsense relating to facts, so ethics systematizes judgments ofcommon sense relating to moral value, though supplementedby the metaphysical method.
The end of ethics The objective of ethics is to define the nature of the highestgood of humans or society. It is the basis of moral reasoning and the root of all moraldistinctions. Ethics attacks the basis of popular morality, purges it oferrors and inconsistencies, and places on a secure footing allthat is valid and essential in morality.
Doing ethics:a craft and a skill Doing ethics in journalism must be both learned anddeveloped. Doing ethics in journalism is reasoned, principled andconsistently thinking about how journalists can maximizetheir truth telling obligations while minimizing harm tovulnerable sources and audience.
Doing ethics:a craft and a skill Doing ethics in journalism is about individual responsibility. Doing ethics in journalism is about accountability andexcellence in journalismReferencesSinha, J. (2009). A Manual of Ethics. Kolkata: New CentralBook Agency (P) Ltd.Black, J., Steele, B., and Barney, R. (1999). Doing Ethics inJournalism: A hand book with case studies. Third edition.Mass.: Allyn & Bacon.
Jimi Kayodejimikayode@gmail.comhttp://facebook.com/jimi.kayodeAdebola Adegunwa School of Communication,Lagos State University, Lagos, Nigeria