The ethics is related to him study of morals and human action. The concept comes from the Greek term ethikos, what does it mean “character”. A ethical sentence is a statement moral that elaborates affirmations and defines what is good, bad, obligatory, allowed, etc. in relation to an action or a decision.
Therefore, when someone applies an ethical sentence on a person, they are making a moral judgment. Ethics, then, studies morality and determines how the members of a society should act. Therefore, it is defined as the science of moral behavior.
Of course ethics it is not coercive, since it does not impose legal penalties (its rules they are not laws). Ethics helps the fair application of legal norms in a State of law, but in itself it is not punitive from the legal point of view, but rather promotes a self-regulation.
Branches of ethics
Ethics can be divided into various branches, among which stand out the normative ethics (are the theories studied by moral axiology and the deontology, for example) and applied ethics (refers to a specific part of reality, such as the bioethics and the ethics of the professions).
With regard to normative ethics, we can say that it is the branch that focuses on the study of criteria to understand in which cases an action should be considered correct (as well as the opposite). It is based on the search for the general principles that serve to justify the systems of norms and determines what are the reasons why we should adopt some of them.
All this can be understood with one of the beginning well-known morals in history: the Golden Rule (also called golden grade), which proposes “treating others as we would like them to treat us.” If we use this criterion, it is likely that the actions we carry out towards our environment are correct, since no one would want to be treated unfairly, although it goes without saying that there are exceptions.
We can recognize the following fundamental positions for normative ethics: consequentialism, the deontology and the virtue ethics.
Applied ethics, for its part, is also known by the name of disciplined ethics, and is the branch that points to apply the theories from ethics to controversial and well-defined moral issues. There are, in turn, several sub-disciplines that focus specifically on these issues, such as the case of bioethics, which discusses positions in biology and medicine related to topics such as euthanasia, organ donation, and voluntary termination of pregnancy.
The environmental ethics, for example, studies the link between people and the environment, generally starting from the following questions: what are our obligations to the environment? environment and because? Answering the second question is enough to support the answer to the first.
Philosophers and ethics
Regarding the authors and the fundamental attitudes in the study of ethics, the British one cannot be ignored Philippa Foot, the founder of the contemporary ethics of virtues and dedicated to the critique of no cognitivism, work that inspired many other philosophers from all over the world, not even the German Immanuel Kant, who reflected on how to organize human freedoms and moral limits.
Nor should we stop reading the following figures of philosophy, who made important steps in the field of ethics: Aristotle, Simone weil, Baruch spinoza, Carol gilligan, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ayn rand, Michel Foucault, Edith stein, Friedrich Nietzsche, Maria Zambrano and Albert camus.