What is ethics?....continued
Deeper definition of Ethics
The word "ethics" is used in a variety of ways, and
confusions between these uses are common. At least three main types of question
are called "ethical" in different senses:
(1) Questions as to what is right, good, etc., or of how we
ought to behave (normative ethics, morals);
(2) Questions as to the
answers given by particular societies and people to questions of type (1)
(descriptive ethics or comparative ethics, a branch of moral sociology or
(3) Questions as to the meanings or uses of the
words used in answering questions of type (1), or the nature or logical
character of the moral concepts, or, in older language, of what goodness, etc.,
are (theoretical ethics, philosophical ethics, moral philosophy). It is perhaps
best, in philosophical writing, to reserve the word "ethics" (unqualified) for
inquiries of type (3).
The motive for undertaking them has, how- ever, often been
the hope that their results might bear on questions of type (1); whether and in
what ways this is possible is the question that above all others vexes students
of philosophical ethics, and divides the supporters of
etc (see glossary).
Excerpts taken from "A New Dictionary of Christian Ethics".
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