What is Ethics?

People have been interested in the study of ethics since our earliest days. Philosophers dating back to the ancient world have concerned themselves with ethical principles and engaged their imaginations and students' imaginations with questions of ethics. Ethics is just as important today as it was many centuries ago, and some of the principles explored during the times of the ancient Greeks still motivate behavior today. In this way, moral principles and philosophy are as relevant today as ever, even though most of us do not physically stand around the public sphere debating them in the ways that Plato and Socrates did.

Changes in the world since the time of the ancient Greeks have also added some practical applications to ethical theory. Today's citizens must concern themselves with ethical considerations in multiple spheres, including work, academics, social, and political. Ethical theories and our definitions of ethics can and should influence how people treat and interact with the environment, animals, children, and fellow citizens.

Advancements in technology and medicine are constantly providing people with ethical considerations previously unexplored and unthinkable to humankind. Because of this, it is vitally important that both people with decision-making power and average citizens understand how to systematically scrutinize ethical decisions so that our intellect and moral compasses can guide our technology. Learners of ethics can better understand the arguments presented to them and the implications of their decisions, both on themselves and those in the world around them, and in the world to come.

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Ethics Topics

Resources for Ethics

Study.com offers resources for learners attempting to understand ethical traditions and how ethics affect modern behavior in fields such as business and the social sciences. Some courses explore both the theory and the practice of ethics. Students interested in professional ethics will find resources for both basic and advanced business ethics.

Ethics Courses

Study.com has multiple courses with lessons that cover a wide range of topics in ethics. Some topics are:

  • virtue ethics
  • utilitarian ethics
  • Deontological ethics
  • environmental ethics
  • Nicomachean ethics
  • moral philosophy
  • normative ethics

Students can also explore the history of ethics within these detailed and well-rounded lessons. There are courses in multiple arenas, including business and the social sciences.

Humanities 101: Intro to the Humanities

This course explores the humanities from the ancient world to modern times. The course focuses on literature, music, art, and architecture. It begins with an overview of literary analysis and movements and then moves into significant periods.

Philosophy 102: Ethics in America

This exciting philosophy course covers major topics in the field of ethics. The course explores early Greek traditional ethicists and varying topics such as moral law, natural law, human rights, relationships, sexuality, bioethics, and the environment.

Philosophy 103: Ethics - Theory & Practice

This ethics course covers both theory and practice. It explores ethical issues in business, the environment, and employment. It examines healthcare ethics and ethical issues involved in death and dying. Numerous comprehensive theories are covered.

Social Science 108: Ethics in the Social Sciences

This course begins with an exploration of moral reasoning and theories of ethics. It discusses codes of ethics and ethical decision-making models. It specifically focuses on ethics in the helping professions, relationship counseling, and research.

Business 108: Business Ethics

After an introduction to basic business ethics, the course covers diversity, social responsibility, consumer rights, the media, technology, advertising, politics, and the environment. The course also explores individual ethics and integrity.

Ethics Test Prep for Teachers and Students

Ethics Test Prep

Students interested in earning college credit in ethics for independent learning can take advantage of Study.com's DSST Ethics in America Study Guide. This test preparation course covers moral philosophy and religious morals as well as ethical dilemmas in life, death, economic policy, war, sexuality, biomedicine, and business. This comprehensive guide to ethics is designed to be interesting and engaging while providing students with the tools they need to pass the DSST exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does ethical practice mean?

    Ethical practice refers to how an organization's people rely on and implement ethical principles. Ethics refers to the principles that determine how individuals and organizations should act.

  • What is ethics and its purpose?

    Ethics refers to the study of how human ought to act, regarding integrity and morality. It also refers to the branch of philosophy that deals with such questions. Its purpose is to determine the principles by which people should guide their actions and decide what is right and wrong.

  • What is an example of ethics and morals?

    Examples of ethics and morals abound in the business, science, academic, and personal worlds. An example of a situation concerning ethics is the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research.