Ethics and Human Interface:

Lecture 2 Dimensions of ethics

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Ethics, as a branch of Philosophy, has multi-dimensions. It can be applied in many fields like environment, cyberspace, public sphere, international relations and so on. To understand the dimensions of ethics, we need to first understand the branches of ethics.

dimensions of ethics

Meta Ethics

The study of meta-ethics refers to the nature of ethical terms and concepts and to the attempt to understand the underlying assumptions behind moral theories; therefore, it is the branch of ethics that seeks to understand the nature of ethical properties, statements, attitudes, and judgments. It covers a broad range of questions surrounding how we know what moral truth is (and even if moral truth exists), and how we learn about moral facts. Meta-ethical questions are, by their very nature, abstract. It might seem that they do not necessarily bear much relation to the task of developing practical, decision-making tools. However, some of the issues are very important and relevant to that task and meta-ethics receives some attention here.

If we begin to consider whether or not one should be a just person, for example, then we are very quickly faced with questions about the nature of justice and about what being a ‘just’ person means. Is justice a human invention? Can we accept that ideas of justice can be different in different societies? Or is the notion of justice an eternal, unchanging concept that should be upheld by everyone, everywhere, and throughout all time? This is not merely an abstract, academic question. The question of whether or not one culture’s notion of justice can and should be imposed upon another has historically been – and continues to be – a cause of profound conflict between people.

Ethics Here

Prescriptive Ethics (Normative Ethics)

Normative ethics centres around the concept of what is right or wrong. It involves formulating moral rules which have a significant effect on what human behaviour, organizations, and behaviors should be like. It deals with issues such as: How do humans act? What’s the right decision?

The Different Branches Are:

  • Virtue Ethics
  • Consequentialism
  • Deontological Ethics

Descriptive Ethics

Descriptive ethics studies the perception in morality among people. Describes and contrasts expectations of different ethical theories. It deals with issues such as: What do people think is correct? It is different from normative ethics because it is implemented.

Applied Ethics

Applied ethics is a philosophical analysis of individual problems in private and public life which are questions of moral choice from a moral standpoint. This makes use of the application of moral knowledge to specific issues and applies philosophical methods to determine the morally appropriate course of behavior in various aspects of human existence.

The Different Branches Are

  • Bio-Ethics
  • Business Ethics
  • Military Ethics
  • Political Ethics
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Publication Ethics


    Practice Question-

    1. describe the dimensions of ethics with examples. (200 words)

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