Ethics and society is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with actions and behavior of man in the society. Ethics can be defined etymologically as coming from the Greek word ethos meaning character/personal character. It is therefore an investigation into the nature of a virtuous life or the right way of living.
Ethics and society is concerned with understanding/evaluating the character of individuals. Ethics and society studies moral values and standards by which we ought to live. Ethics and society also seeks guidelines for human conduct. Ethical judgement in ethics and society is any ethical statement that makes a judgement on an ethical action.
Morality in Ethics and Society
In ethics and society, we evaluate human conduct in terms of what is good or bad. Morality comes from the Greek word mores that means social habits, customs and manners. Morality is the object of study in Ethics and society. We can therefore conclude that in Ethics and society, ethics is a discipline that studies morality. Moral reasoning is in three forms:-
- Descriptive ethics – this is that kind of ethics that focuses on the existing moral behavior of a community/society. It basically relies on what is perceived as good or bad in Ethics and society. It does not judge; it only describes. It asks the question ‘how ought we act?’ rather than ‘how do we act?’
- Normative ethics – for normative ethics in Ethics and society, the identity and formulation of ethical norms is sought. It involves articulating the character of good habits to be acquired. It looks at the consequences/end result of human actions in ethic and society.
- Meta-ethics – here, we analyze the norms of ethical claims and values. E.g. when philosophers inquire the legality of abortion, they employ meta-ethics which is part of ethics and society.
A moral agent in ethics and society is referred to as a human being who is normal, has the capacity to reason and is aware of the consequences of his/her actions. That means that such an individual can be blamed for, rewarded or punished for his/her actions. Therefore, he/she is seen as a responsible person.
Virtue in ethics and society is a functional excellence in an individual that makes the individual morally/intellectually superior or excellent. This term is used to mean righteousness or excellence in moral character or disposition.
Value in ethics and society is used to mean ‘out-of-the-realm’ of morality altogether. Non-moral beings are beings that can never be said to be either moral or immoral.
An ethical action in ethics and society is therefore that that is performed by a moral agent. The action can attract blame or praise. The term amoral in ethics and society is used to refer to an individual who has no moral sense and is indifferent to right or wrong. A criminal who shows no remorse to what he/she has done is said to be amoral in ethics and society.
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Conclusion of Ethics and Society
If anyone is to talk of ethics, then morality must feature in ethics and society.