- Meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong. Normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, everyone ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when considerably large disagreements about the morality of particular things exist.
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Meta-ethical. Meta-ethical moral relativists believe not only that people disagree about moral issues, but that terms such as "good", "bad", "right" and "wrong" do not stand subject to universal truth conditions at all; rather, they are relative to the traditions, convictions, or practices of an individual or a group of people.
Meta-ethics. In metaphilosophy and ethics, meta-ethics is the study of the nature, scope, and meaning of moral judgment. It is one of the three branches of ethics generally studied by philosophers, the others being normative ethics (questions of how one ought to be and act) and applied ethics (practical questions of right behavior in given ...
Relativism is a family of philosophical views which deny claims to objectivity within a particular domain and assert that facts in that domain are relative to the perspective of an observer or the context in which they are assessed. There are many different forms of relativism, with a great deal of variation in scope and differing degrees of ...
- Defining Ethics
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The English word ethics is derived from the Ancient Greek word ēthikós (ἠθικός), meaning "relating to one's character", which itself comes from the root word êthos (ἦθος) meaning "character, moral nature". This word was transferred into Latin as ethica and then into French as éthique, from which it was transferred into English. Rushworth Kidder states that "standard definitions of ethics have typically included such phrases as 'the science of the ideal human character' or 'the science of moral duty'". Richard William Paul and Linda Elder define ethics as "a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures". The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy states that the word "ethics" is "commonly used interchangeably with 'morality' ... and sometimes it is used more narrowly to mean the moral principles of a particular tradition, group or individual."Paul and Elder state that most people confuse ethics with behaving in accordance wit...
Meta-ethics is the branch of philosophical ethics that asks how we understand, know about, and what we mean when we talk about what is right and what is wrong.An ethical question pertaining to a particular practical situation—such as, "Should I eat this particular piece of chocolate cake?"—cannot be a meta-ethical question (rather, this is an applied ethical question). A meta-ethical question is abstract and relates to a wide range of more specific practical questions. For example, "Is it ever possible to have a secure knowledge of what is right and wrong?" is a meta-ethical question. Meta-ethics has always accompanied philosophical ethics. For example, Aristotle implies that less precise knowledge is possible in ethics than in other spheres of inquiry, and he regards ethical knowledge as depending upon habit and acculturation in a way that makes it distinctive from other kinds of knowledge. Meta-ethics is also important in G.E. Moore's Principia Ethica from 1903. In it he first wro...
Normative ethics is the study of ethical action. It is the branch of ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking. Normative ethics is distinct from meta-ethics because normative ethics examines standards for the rightness and wrongness of actions, while meta-ethics studies the meaning of moral language and the metaphysics of moral facts. Normative ethics is also distinct from descriptive ethics, as the latter is an empirical investigation of people's moral beliefs. To put it another way, descriptive ethics would be concerned with determining what proportion of people believe that killing is always wrong, while normative ethics is concerned with whether it is correct to hold such a belief. Hence, normative ethics is sometimes called prescriptive rather than descriptive. However, on certain versions of the meta-ethical view called moral realism, moral facts are both descriptive and prescriptive at the same time. Trad...
Applied ethics is a discipline of philosophy that attempts to apply ethical theory to real-life situations. The discipline has many specialized fields, such as engineering ethics, bioethics, geoethics, public service ethics and business ethics.
Moral psychology is a field of study that began as an issue in philosophy and that is now properly considered part of the discipline of psychology. Some use the term "moral psychology" relatively narrowly to refer to the study of moral development. However, others tend to use the term more broadly to include any topics at the intersection of ethics and psychology (and philosophy of mind). Such topics are ones that involve the mind and are relevant to moral issues. Some of the main topics of the field are moral responsibility, moral development, moral character (especially as related to virtue ethics), altruism, psychological egoism, moral luck, and moral disagreement.
Descriptive ethics is on the less philosophical end of the spectrum since it seeks to gather particular information about how people live and draw general conclusions based on observed patterns. Abstract and theoretical questions that are more clearly philosophical—such as, "Is ethical knowledge possible?"—are not central to descriptive ethics. Descriptive ethics offers a value-free approach to ethics, which defines it as a social science rather than a humanity. Its examination of ethics does not start with a preconceived theory but rather investigates observations of actual choices made by moral agents in practice. Some philosophers rely on descriptive ethics and choices made and unchallenged by a society or culture to derive categories, which typically vary by context. This can lead to situational ethics and situated ethics. These philosophers often view aesthetics, etiquette, and arbitrationas more fundamental, percolating "bottom up" to imply the existence of, rather than explic...Hoy, D. (2005). Critical Resistance from Poststructuralism to Postcritique. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Lyon, D. (1999). Postmodernity (2nd ed.). Open University Press, Buckingham.Singer, P. (2000). Writings on an Ethical Life. Harper Collins Publishers, London.Aristotle, Nicomachean EthicsThe London Philosophy Study Guide offers many suggestions on what to read, depending on the student's familiarity with the subject: EthicsEncyclopedia of Ethics. Lawrence C. Becker and Charlotte B. Becker, editors. Second edition in three volumes. New York: Routledge, 2002. A scholarly encyclopedia with over 500 signed, peer-reviewed...Azurmendi, J. 1998: "The violence and the search for new values" in Euskal Herria krisian, (Elkar, 1999), pp. 11–116. ISBN 84-8331-572-6Meta-Ethics at PhilPapersNormative Ethics at PhilPapersApplied Ethics at PhilPapersEthics at the Indiana Philosophy Ontology Project
Meta-ethical relativism Meta-ethical relativists maintain that all moral judgments have their origins either in societal or in individual standards, and that no single objective standard exists by which one can assess the truth of a moral proposition.