The Study of Ethics• Ethics is derived from the Greek word ETHOS which means – Characteristic way of acting Latin word mos, mores which means- Tradition or custom
Major Branches of Ethics• Meta-Ethics – the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions and how their truth-values may be determined. – seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties, statements, attitudes, and judgments – Question: What does right even mean?
• Normative ethics – the practical means of determining a moral course of action – Standards of rightness and wrongness – investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how ought one to act – Question: How should people act?
• Applied Ethics – about how moral outcomes can be achieved in specific situations – identify the morally correct course of action in various fields of human life – Question: How do we take moral knowledge and put it into practice?
• Descriptive ethics – about what moral values people actually abide by. – peoples beliefs about morality – research into the attitudes of individuals or groups of people – Question: What do people think is right?
• Moral Psychology – about how moral capacity or moral agency develops and what its nature is. – Moral development focuses on the emergence, change, and understanding of morality from infancy to adulthood.
The ethos of man is revealed in the following:• He is able to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, moral and immoral• He feels within himself an obligation to do what is good and to avoid what is evil.• He feels himself accountable for his actions, expecting reward or punishment for them.
What is Ethics?• Ethics is the practical science of the morality of human conduct• Ethics is said to be the study of human motivation, and human rational behaviorMORALITY - is that quality of human acts by which we call some ofthis acts good and some evil.HUMAN ACTS are those actions performed by man: knowingly and freely, deliberate or intentional actions, or voluntary.ACTS OF MAN which are instinctive and involuntary
Principles of Ethics• Personal Ethics – might also be called morality, since they reflect general expectation of any person in any society, acting and any capacity. Principles of Personal Ethics include: 1. Concern for the well-being of others 2. Respect for the autonomy of others 3. Trustworthiness and honesty 4. Willing compliance with the law 5. Basic justice; being fair 6. Benevolence; doing good 7. Preventing harm
• Global Ethics – are most controversial of the three categories, and the least understood. 1. Global Justice 2. Society before self 3. Environmental stewardship – Protection of water and soil – Prevention of erosion and water pollution – Flood management – Wildlife conservation – Protect archaeological sites and historic features – Provide public access to the countryside – Conserve rare traditional livestock breeds and varieties 4. Interdependence and responsibility for the whole 5. Reverence – the acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the power of ones superior or superiors
• Professional Ethics - the rules governing the conduct, transactions, and relationships within a profession and among its publics – Honesty - truthfulness – Integrity – consistency / accuracy – Transparency - openness – Accountability – liable / responsible – Confidentiality - accessibility – Objective – meeting conditions – Respectful - honour – Within the law
How good is a set of principles?• They serve as landmarks – generic indicators to be used as compelling guides for an active conscience• They are not absolute rules or values• They are more like rough measurement where an exact one is not possible• They often conflict with each other in practice and some will trump others under certain circumstances• They are compatible with the argument that we should simply follow our intuition and rely on the inner voice