Ethics

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Some Fundamental Concepts in Ethics"Ethics" may be broadly defined as that division of philosophy which deals with questions concerning the nature of value in matters of human conduct.While virtually all people are concerned with making ethical judgments and decisions, philosophers in particular are concerned to a) explicate the nature of such judgments in general and b) provide criteria for determining what is ethically right or wrong, and c) analyze the grounds or reasons we have for holding them to be correct.Those concerned exclusively with telling us what is right or wrong, good or bad, in matters of human conduct may be termed "moralists." While philosophers have sometimes been moralists, as…show more content…
Ethical theories can be divided into two categories depending on what they consider the source of ethical value to be: consequentialist or "teleological" ethical theories and motivational or "deontological" ethical theories.A consequentialist or "teleological ethical theory" claims that what makes an action right or wrong are the consequences of the action; quite simply a "right action" is one which has good consequences, a "wrong action" has bad consequences. (Of course the consequentialist theory still has to specify what makes the consequences good or bad, concerning which, see the next paragraph.)A "deontological ethical theory" holds in opposition to a consequentialist theory that it is not the consequences but the motivation which prompts the agent to do an action which makes an action right or wrong. On this type of ethical theory an action motivated by the right sorts of reasons will be "right" no matter whether its consequences are desirable or not, whereas an action motivated by the wrong sorts of reasons will be a wrong action, even if its consequences might be considered desirable.At least in Western philosophy, consequentialist theories have generally also been eudaemonistic ethical theories.A eudaemonistic consequentialist ethical theory holds that what makes a consequence "good," and hence an action "right," is its tendency to promote human happiness or well-being.One must make a distinction between

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