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Applied ethics deals with concrete moral issues like abortion and euthanasia. Many of these are also tackled in Society: Issues, and this category is intended, unsurprisingly, for more philosophical debates and writings than you will find under Society: Issues.
Description: Philosophers who have made substantial contributions to ethical theory, or who are identified as ethicists.
Philosophers who have made substantial contributions to ethical theory, or who are identified as ethicists.
Is ethical truth something absolute and fixed for all time, in the same way that 2+2=4 will always be true, or is it historically and culturally specific - or is there no such thing as "ethical truth" at all? What is the precise meaning of the word "ought"? These sorts of questions fall under the scope of Metaethics. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines metaethics as follows: "..the study of the origin and meaning of ethical concepts. When compared to normative ethics and applied ethics, the field of metaethics is the least precisely defined area of moral philosophy. Three issues, though, are prominent: (1) metaphysical issues concerning whether morality exists independently of humans; (2) psychological issues concerning what motivates us to be moral; and (3) linguistic issues concerning the meaning of key ethical terms ..."
From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Normative ethics involves arriving at moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct. In a sense, it is a search for an ideal litmus test of proper behavior. The Golden Rule is a classic example of a normative principle: We should do to others what we would want others to do to us... The key assumption in normative ethics is that there is only one ultimate criterion of moral conduct, whether it is a single rule or a set of principles. Unfortunately, philosophers do not agree about what precisely that criterion is..."
This category is for theoretical aspects of virtue in ethics. Appropriate submissions include:
  • Discussions of the relationships between virtue and utility, and of the role the virtues should play in an account of morality.
  • Discussions of the significance of a virtue-centered approach in applied ethics.
  • Philosophical histories of ethics which discuss the changing role of virtue in ethics.

Catalogues of the virtues are appropriate to this category only if they include philosophical criticism. Otherwise they might be better housed in one of:

Virtue theory is the branch of ethics that founds morality upon disposition: ie. how it is we know choose between courses of action and our motivations in acting upon our decisions. As such it is in oppsition to the main strand of moral theorising which is concerned with goods (ie. the ends of those choices and actions).
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Last update: Friday, July 26, 2013 2:16:17 PM EDT - edit