What is an Ethic?

Branch of philosophy concerned with the evaluation of human conduct.
Philosophers commonly distinguish:

  • Descriptive ethics, the factual study of the ethical standards or principles of a group or tradition;
  • Applied ethics, the use of these theories to form judgements regarding practical cases; and
  • Meta-ethics, careful analysis of the meaning and justification of ethical claims.

See The Internet Encyclopedia for Philosophy for more info on this definitions.
I am mainly interested in Applied Ethics, where ethical theories are applied to real life situations and problems.

What ethical theories are there?

There are many ethical theories around, but I will concentrate mainly on the well known ones. They are:

  • Utilitarianism developed by Jeremy Bentham and extended by J.S Mill,
  • Situation Ethics by Joseph Fletcher,
  • Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative,
  • Thomas Aquinas and the Catholic Natural Law,
  • and finally The Ethics of the New Testament (teachings of St. Paul and Jesus Christ)