A Business Encyclopedia

Ethical Theories

Definition: The Ethics is the branch of philosophy that deals with the principles of morality and the well-defined standards of right and wrong that prescribe the human character and conduct in terms of obligations, rights, rules, benefit to society, fairness, etc.

In other words, the ethics encompass the human rights and responsibilities, the way to lead a good life, the language of right and wrong, and a difference between good and bad. This means it is concerned with what is right or wrong for the individuals and society. The term “ethics” have been derived from the Greek word “ethos” which means character, habit, disposition or custom. Several philosophers have propounded different types of ethical theories which are listed below:

  1. Teleological Ethical Theories
  2. Deontological Ethical Theories
  3. Virtue Ethical Theories
  4. System Development Ethical Theories

Further, ethics can be classified into three major study areas:

  • Meta-ethics is concerned with the theoretical meaning of morality and ethical principles, i.e. what we understand when we talk about what is right or wrong.
  • Normative ethics deals with the content of moral judgments i.e. determining the moral course of action and includes the criteria for what is right or wrong, good or bad, kind or evil, etc.
  • Applied ethics is concerned with the actions which a person is obliged to perform in a particular situation.

Thus, ethics are the well-defined standards that impose obligations to refrain human beings from any misconduct, which could be harmful to the self as well as for the society.

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