Ethics is the conceptual and normative investigation of right and wrong, good and bad, and what should be


Normative, Applied, and Meta Ethics

  • Ethics comprises Normative Ethics, Metaethics, and Applied Ethics
    • Normative Ethics is the investigation of normative theories of moral obligation.
      • Consequentialist theories derive obligation from the good and bad consequences of an act.
      • Deontological theories derive obligation from moral principles.
    • Metaethics is the investigation of the meaning, epistemology, objectivity, logic, and relativity of ethical terms, addressing questions such as:
      • Are moral judgments objective or subjective?
      • Are moral judgments true or false?
      • Are moral principles relative to one’s culture?
      • What does “killing is morally wrong” mean?
      • What does it mean to say that a person a moral right to X?
    • Applied Ethics is the investigation of moral rights and duties in particular cases, e.g. war, abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, equality, capital punishment, treatment of animals, world hunger.