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; normative ethics, the development of theories that tematically denominate right and wrong actions; applied ethics, the use of these theories to form judgments regarding practical cases; and meta-ethics, careful analysis of the meaning and justification of ethical claims. Recommended Reading: Lawrence M. Hinman, Ethics: A Pluralistic Approach To Moral Theory (Harcourt, 1997); A Companion to Ethics, ed. by Peter Singer (Blackwell, 1993); D. D. Raphael, Moral Philosophy (Oxford, 1994); James Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy (McGraw-Hill, 2000); and The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, ed. by Hugh Lafollette (Blackwell, 1999).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
the critical and normative reflection on moral beliefs and practices. The difference between ethics and morality is similar to the difference between musicology and music. Ethics is a conscious stepping back and reflecting on morality, just as musicology is a conscious reflection on music. The difference between anthropology (or sociology or psychology) and ethics is that the latter has a prescriptive or normative role.
Based on [Ethics Glossary]
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