Ethics are the set of moral values that guide how one behaves. They guide how people relate with each other, how they respond to obligations of society, and generally live their lives. Philosophers divide ethics into three study areas, including applied ethics, normative ethics and metaethics.

Applied ethics involve analyzing particular contentious moral issues, euthanasia, animal rights, and abortion, among others. Fieser (n.d.) says that two prerequisites must be fullfiled for a matter to be considered an applied ethical issue. It must be controversial with people who are supportive of it and others who are entirely against it, and, it must be a morally relevant issue.

Normative ethics takes up the responsibility of coming up with standards that determine the right or wrong conduct. According to Fieser (n.d.), it involves outlining the good habits that one should adopt, the responsibilities that we should take on, or how our behavior affects others. It involves searching for a test for proper behavior. The golden rule is majorly employed in normative ethics. The principle demands that humans reciprocate good with good. By abiding with this principles, it becomes easy to judge an individual’s actions. Thus, normative theories are based on good character traits or set foundational principles.

Metaethics describes the sources of our ethical principles and their meaning to us. It includes the areas of moral semantics to moral epistemology (Fieser, n.d.). However, it mainly emphasizes on metaphysical issues, which looks into whether morality is independent and exists separately from humans, and psychological issues, which is concerned with our rational basis of how we conduct ourselves and how we undertake our moral judgements.

Ethics reflect good and evil in human behaviors. Ethics are broken down into several branches depending on the scope of issues being looked into. They apply to all aspects of conduct.




Fieser, J. (n.d.) “Internet encyclopedia of philosophy.” Ethics. Retrieved from

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