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)