Ethics - Descriptive Ethics

Descriptive Ethics

Main article: Descriptive ethics

Descriptive ethics is a value-free approach to ethics, which defines it as a social science (specifically sociology) rather than a humanity. It examines ethics not from a top-down a priori perspective but rather observations of actual choices made by moral agents in practice. Some philosophers rely on descriptive ethics and choices made and unchallenged by a society or culture to derive categories, which typically vary by context. This can lead to situational ethics and situated ethics. These philosophers often view aesthetics, etiquette, and arbitration as more fundamental, percolating "bottom up" to imply the existence of, rather than explicitly prescribe, theories of value or of conduct. The study of descriptive ethics may include examinations of the following:

  • Ethical codes applied by various groups. Some consider aesthetics itself the basis of ethics– and a personal moral core developed through art and storytelling as very influential in one's later ethical choices.
  • Informal theories of etiquette that tend to be less rigorous and more situational. Some consider etiquette a simple negative ethics, i.e., where can one evade an uncomfortable truth without doing wrong? One notable advocate of this view is Judith Martin ("Miss Manners"). According to this view, ethics is more a summary of common sense social decisions.
  • Practices in arbitration and law, e.g., the claim that ethics itself is a matter of balancing "right versus right," i.e., putting priorities on two things that are both right, but that must be traded off carefully in each situation.
  • Observed choices made by ordinary people, without expert aid or advice, who vote, buy, and decide what is worth valuing. This is a major concern of sociology, political science, and economics.

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Other articles related to "descriptive ethics, ethics":

Moral Philosophers - Descriptive Ethics
... Main article Descriptive ethics Descriptive ethics is a value-free approach to ethics, which defines it as a social science (specifically sociology) rather than a humanity ... It examines ethics not from a top-down a priori perspective but rather observations of actual choices made by moral agents in practice ... Some philosophers rely on descriptive ethics and choices made and unchallenged by a society or culture to derive categories, which typically vary by context ...
Descriptive Ethics and Relativism
... Descriptive ethics does not explicitly discern between good and bad ethical theories ... Descriptive ethics claims, implicitly or explicitly, that amorality (not to be confused with immorality) is moral ... Descriptive ethics thus embraces moral relativism ...

Famous quotes containing the word ethics:

    If you take away ideology, you are left with a case by case ethics which in practise ends up as me first, me only, and in rampant greed.
    Richard Nelson (b. 1950)