Ethics UPSC notes
We FocusCivil, starting our post regarding ethics upsc notes. We will post them every day. Let’s start with introduction.
Ethics, as a discipline, is a branch of the most fundamental subject, namely, philosophy. The word philosophy comes from two Greek words: ‘philo’ and ‘Sophia’ . ‘Philo’ means ‘love of’ and ‘Sophia’ means ‘wisdom’. So etymologically (literally) ‘philosophy’ means ‘love of wisdom’ , ‘love of truth’ . In nutshell, Philosophy is about questioning, it is a rational enquiry, a critical examination. Philosophy takes nothing for grant. As an academic subject, Philosophy can be divide into four main branches:
Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics and Logic. Other areas include social & Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Aesthetics, Philosophy of science & so on.
ETHICS AND HUMAN INTERFACE
Definition of Ethics
To define a thing is never an easy task and in the case of Ethics it is all the more difficult. From plato
on, philosophers have attend to provide an account of it but no philosopher has as yet provide a satisfactory account. However, Ethics may be briefly defined as “the science of morality” or as “the study of right conduct or duty.” Thus, essentially it is an investigation into the nations of good and bad, right and wrong.
Ethics is the science which examines the facts of moral life and suggests the course in which human activities should be directed.
The Ethics Meaning is also define as an “enquiry into the nature of the ultimate end of human action – the highest good of human being and the means of attaining it” , that is, Ethics is the study which deals with the moral ideal or standard. it is concern with judgments of value or what ought to be.
Ethics meaning is also consider, not so much with the question ‘what the nature of conduct is, as with the question ‘what our actions ought to be’ in order that they may be conducive to our highest good. ‘Ethics, therefore, is a normative science, also called a regulative science, as it seeks to define the standard which should regulate our conduct.
Ethics is different from other areas of enquiry, while significant disagreement remain in other areas of enquiry, the extent of disagreement appears to be much greater in ethics. Since there is little or nothing that can conclusively be establish in ethics. Traditional theories of ethics (Aristotelian, Kantian, Utilitarians etc.) have been revise and reform in contemporary times. It is a sphere of investigation which is so vibrant and dynamic.
Moreover, ethics is different from other specialise types of knowledge that many of us can do without. Many of us can live our lives quite well without acquiring many specialised types of knowledge, such as that of the physics or macroeconomic. However, we cannot avoid making ethical choices, almost every day we make ethical choices in every sphere of existence.
Ethics and Morality:
‘Ethics’ and ‘morality’ are terms often used as synonyms. An ethical issue just is a moral issue. In academic discourses, one may tend to distinguish between ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’ . However, ‘Ethics’ and ‘Morality’ are same when we investigate into questions like: “what I ought to do?” or “How should I live.”
Moreover, the English word ‘Ethics’ is derive from the Greek word ethos meaning habit, custom. The English word ‘Morality’ is derived from the Latin word moralis, which was created by Cicero from mos (pl, mores) meaning custom, which correspond to the Greek ethos (custom). This is why in many contexts, ‘moral’ and ‘ethical’ or ‘moral philosophy’ and ‘ethics’ are used interchangeably. However, despite their etymological origin, it would be foolish to equate the customary with the ethics or morality. But the two words have also been use to make various distinctions.
Important points of difference
1. Some scholars distinguish between ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’ with reference to theory and practice. They maintain that the interest of an ethicist is theoretical while that of a moralist is practical. Accordingly, ethics is also call ‘moral philosophy’ or ‘science of moral’ . Since it tries to examine moral concepts such as ‘right’, ‘good’, ‘virtue’ and so on.
2. According to some thinkers, morality is a subset of ethics. Ethical deliberations help us conceptualise the highest ideals of life, whereas morality is concern with principles of action. In other words, ethics is concern with an ideal or good life and morality with right conduct.
3. Some scholars hold that ethics is secular but morality is related to a religion.
4. Some scholars make the distinction by claiming that something can be unethical yet moral. For example, it can be said that Robin Hood’s act of stealing to feed the poor was unethical but still moral.
Challenges to Ethics:
3- Culture: Moral relativism.
Egoism Claims that there are no moral requirements. It maintains that all we can do or we should do, is to serve our own self-interest and not the interests of others. The other two challenges, that is, Religion and culture, did not deny the existence of moral requirements. They just maintain that religion or culture, respectively, is the source of such requirements. Thus ethics have no independent status.
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