ethics – what is it?

All the world is concerned with fundamental ethical questions. Often terms such as morals, ethics, Ethos, etc. synonym. So it is time, in particular, the code of ethics to illuminate term.

The ethics can be more generally characterized as the doctrine or the science of morality and Ethos, so to the human Action, which can be the difference between good/morally right and evil/morally wrong.

Ethics is a part of practical philosophy. The philosophy, the sense of the word for “love of wisdom” (Greek. philos = friend; sophia = wisdom), will Be the Knowledge of reason to the total reality, in particular, and To the people, to multiply and to penetrate “the last”. Your own to claim it is science, because it contributes to methodically secured Due to systematically to a mind clarified to Know.

According to Aristotle, the of theoretical philosophy is concerned with theology, mathematics and natural Sciences. These are also referred to as the contemplative Sciences. In contrast, the Sciences, the principle of which are the decisions of the Trade belong to the practical philosophy.

Practical philosophy, is to characterize

  • through their knowledge of the subject, namely, the human practice, human Action
  • as well as by their practical Intent of the guidance and improvement of this practice in terms of the achievement of a goal or the Supreme Good.

Descriptive Ethics

Descriptive ethics describes as an empirical discipline, as it is in certain societies or certain groups to morals and Ethos to be ordered.

The Ethical is to be recorded in its various time – and culture-dependent values as accurately as possible. Example: While it was not until 1969, only as immoral, but even illegal, if people lived their homosexuality, the same-sex partnership, today, a generally accepted form of life, the enjoys in the Form of registered life partnership, even Status similar to marriage.

You could say that descriptive ethics is, in fact, more anthropology or history of science than ethics, because it is only descriptive of what was in the case of certain peoples, tribes, groups, layers, classes, etc. as a “moral” or. It is the descriptive ethics is not a matter to satisfy the curiosity of the exotic grace of manners and customs through the description may be. Instead, she takes to the Findings, in turn, judgmental position. If it is determined that fewer and fewer people in a society are willing to behave according to the prevailing Moral code, is the example. as a decline in the value problematized, and the plot triggers needed. The description of the differences between the morals of different cultures (e.g. in Islamic and Christian culture) or different times, provides an occasion to examine their own ideas and to relativize.

And the discovery of widespread, nearly all people recognised basic standards in the hope to be the possibility of a global ethic (eg. in the Form of recognition of core human rights).

Normative Ethics

Descriptive ethics provides with your description of the prevailing moral practice, an important Input for the normative ethics, which is regarded as the actual core of ethics.

The normative ethics to the correct moral statements To addiction. You want to make reasonable and binding statements about how the person should act (for action norms or obligations), what he should strive for (strive for goals, or values/freight) and how it should be (attitude, norms, or virtues). You are looking for the fixed, binding standard for the Good, to evaluate the current practice, are oriented and can improve.

Method of teaching

Often a the field of ethics, by Kant as a “method of teaching is neglected” is referred to.

The methodology searches for the type, “how to d. is able to make input to the laws of pure practical reason in the human mind, the influence of the maxims of the same, I. the objectively practical reason also subjectively practical.”

In modern diction would say, it’s about the Motivation for the Good or the Implementation of morality.

This Implementation can be applied to the ethos, the Ethos of the individual. It should be planted in the “spring for Good”, so that it is to the natural habit is to check the actions according to moral criteria, and to decide for the Good. Similarly to Aristotle, Kant sees the education of the youth as the most important method to moral subjects (Aristotle speaks of “precious people”) are out.

On the other, will be considered, especially in the economic discourse, the possibility to circumvent the Ethos of the individual, so to speak, and to ensure, by cleverly designed incentives at the level of external morality for the immoral man is reliably in the desired manner. For Kant, this would be “louder Gleisnerei, the law would be hated, or even despised be followed, however, but to own benefit’s sake.” For others, first and foremost, a business ethicist, it appears as the only realistic possibility of morality to implement, especially in the economy. This controversy will occupy us later.


Finally, a fourth area of the meta-ethics.

The meta-ethics wants to make any substantive statements about the morally Good, but ethical statements are examined. Her subject of research is the ethics, not morals and ethics.

Your main method of voice analysis. Moral predicates like “good”, “right”, “Should”, “must” be examined as to their importance and the moral from the non-moral use of differences. Further attempts to clarify the question of whether ethical statements the Form of assertions and truth are capable of.

The different answer to this question separates the bearings of the Nonkognitivisten and the Cognitivist. The Cognitivism adheres to the principled recognition of the Moral, the Nonkognitivismus assumes, however, that ethical statements could not be used in a scientific sense, true or false. Although the meta-ethics of language itself as an ethically neutral science is understood, have their judgments of great relevance for normative ethics. Because, if moral statements are capable of truth, it is very difficult to establish their validity.

Overview of these ethics areas and their Central question.

  • Descriptive ethics What is considered Good?
  • Normative ethics What is the Good?
  • Method of teaching How you can move people to realize the Good?
  • Meta-ethics statements about the Good truth?

This post is an excerpt from the new book on corporate ethics.

Ethik – was ist das eigentlich?How can be implemented the business ethics as a Management responsibility? A stronger orientation of the corporate guide on the guiding principle of a life-serving economy is more and more demanded. Elisabeth Gödel discusses the philosophical foundations of ethics and clarifies the relationship of ethics and Economics. The focus is on the institutionalisation of ethics is on the level of the individual company.

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