ETHICS.docx - ETHICS The term ethics is derived from the...

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ETHICSThe term ethics is derived from the Greek wordethoswhich originally means custom orcharacter. Ethics is a branch of philosophy that studies the rightness or wrongness of ahuman action. In particular, this branch of philosophy is concerned with questions of“how human persons ought to act” in the search for a definition of right conduct and thegood life. It is for this reason that the attempt to seek the good through the aid of reasonis the traditional goal of ethicists. It must be noted however, that there is no singleabsolute definition of ethics this is because ethics as a discipline is constantly evolvingas a result of a change in socio-cultural and political context. For example, in the Greektradition ethics was conceived as relating to the concept of the good life thus the ethicalinquiry during this time was directed toward discovering the nature of happiness in factAristotle's Nicomachean ethicsdoes not only present a theory of happiness but alsoprovides ways in which happiness is attained. Now, centuries later, a quite differentorientation was introduced by the Judeo-Christian tradition in this ethical tradition theideals of righteousness before God and the love of God and neighbor, not the happy orpleasant life constitute the substance of ethics.Note thatethics is not the same withmoralityalthough many philosophers believethat the two terms can be used interchangeably this is because the former denotes thetheory of right action and the greater goodwhile the latter indicates practice that is therightness or wrongness of a human action.In other words, ethics undertakes thesystematic study of the underlying principles of moralityhence, it is interested primarily
in the illustration of a more general problem and the examination of underlyingassumptions in the critical evaluation of moral principles.Moralityof the other hand, ismore prescriptive in nature it tells us what we ought to do and exhorts us to follow theright way.According to Terence McConnell, morality is characterized as an endgoverned rational enterprise whose object is to equip people with a body of normsthatmake for peaceful and collectively satisfying coexistence by facilitating their livingtogether and interacting in a way that is productive for the realization of the generalbenefit. We may conclude that ethics is the science of morals while morality is thepractice of ethics. During the mid-20th century, according to Sumner, a certain theory inthe methodology of ethics has gradually become more and more widely accepted atleast by British and American moral philosophers. According to this position, there aretwo ways of doing ethical inquiry namelynormative ethicsandmeta ethics. On theone hand,normative ethicsis prescriptive in nature as it seeks to set norms or

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Term
Summer
Professor
Ma'am Joy
Tags
Nicomachean Ethics, Sumner, critical evaluation of moral principles

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