From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Skepticism (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Skepticism, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of science, pseudoscience, pseudohistory and skepticism related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Note icon
This article has been marked as needing immediate attention.
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / v0.7 / Vital / Supplemental
WikiProject icon This article has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team.
Taskforce icon
This article has been selected for Version 0.7 and subsequent release versions of Wikipedia.
edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Ethics:

* Add more items to this list

  • Re-write of Intro
  • Re-write the History section and merge Origins section
  • Decide what to do with the Definitions section
  • Re-structure headings: Develop a new structure for the article
  • Add more reference pages.


This Article was the WikiProject Philosophy Collaboration of the Month for September 2005 - Vote for any future collaboration Talk:Ethics/Archive
Talk:Ethics/Archive 2


236.87 was done. Perhaps it should be reverted, there seems to be less information now? --Paraphelion 06:27, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

add moral falliblism to see also section[edit]

I looked in see also section and it is missing moral fallibilism. I will add it unless people have any problems. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:44, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Ethics vs. Politics vs. Religion vs. Practice[edit]

I wonder if this should be adapted slightly to take account of the (reasonably popular) suggestion in moral philosophy that rights are a misleading way of characterising morality?

Normative ethics[edit]

I've also never come accross the distinction in Normative Ethics between Theories of Conduct and Theories of value; it seems to me that the former is bound to be based on the latter: whether or not your conduct is "good" depends upon which/what value(s) you associate with "good"?

The section on "modern ethics" needs a subsection on virture ethics. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:35, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Help needed on a parallel Ethics article[edit]

Unfortunately, someone set up an article parallel to this article on Ethics, in violation of Wikipedia policy. That parallel article violated NPOV by acting as a blog for one man's personal views, a person that also happens to be hard-banned user. Please see Wikipedia:Votes_for_deletion/Simple view of ethics and morals
Thanks for your time. RK 20:20, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)

Announcing policy proposal[edit]

This is just to inform people that I want Wikipedia to accept a general policy that BC and AD represent a Christian Point of View and should be used only when they are appropriate, that is, in the context of expressing or providing an account of a Christian point of view. In other contexts, I argue that they violate our NPOV policy and we should use BCE and CE instead. See Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/BCE-CE Debate for the detailed proposal. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:55, 15 May 2005 (UTC)


I have changed the article about Jean-Paul Sartre. Sure, he was not alone when developping existentialism, but the best definition of it is his book "L'existentialisme est un humanisme". No other philosopher had ever defined it really.

Is this a reason to say he was the only existentialist ? Sure not. Can he be considered THE major existentialist ? Definitely.

-- 11:26, 19 May 2005 (UTC)


Anyone think we should create a Series/Guide to all the articles to do with ethics, rather like the way Green_politics is done? Anybody know how to do this?

What about Kierkegaard? Could he not also be called THE existentialist? Surely he could.


Quote: "What about Kierkegaard? Could he not also be called THE existentialist? Surely he could"

Ya he was a major existentialist, but there were others who may have been more profound than Kierkegaard. but thats just my opinion.

  • As an existentialist myself it is my opinion that the difference between Christian existentialism and atheistic existentialism is large enough to render it impossible make a valid choice as to who is THE existentialist. THE Christian one and THE atheistic one is, of course, a far more clear cut matter.

Sioraf (talk) 00:32, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Science's need for ethics[edit]

I'm of the opinion that the claims made in the article about the importance of ethics in actual sciences, such as biology and ecology are a bit misleading, and are trying to turn fields such as bioethics into actual science. Claiming that bioethics is science is akin to claiming that the universe cares what our current opinions are (see naturalistic fallacy, is-ought problem). Rather than state that ethics is "important" to the scientific fields, it might be better to state that ethics "has been extended" into these fields. --brian0918 19:53, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Section by section:

Intro: Does not summarise the article.

History: just a list of names. Not really distinct from the history of western philosophy - so what is the point of having this section?

Definitions: "at least five" - then lists six.

Ethics in religion: no more than a link - remove it? Summarise the main articles?

Ethics in health care: Perhaps divide into ethics and medical ethics with summaries of main articles?

Ethics in politics: no such thing... Perhaps link to Machiavelli?

Ethics by case: needs some serious work - is their a main article for this to link to?

Is ethics futile: what purpose has this section? perhaps move etymology to top?

Origins: original research? Ethology as animal ethics? strange stuff, I think.

Banno 11:56, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

Comments on critique from a non-english user: history: necessary but needs a total revision and ampliation

major theories: please, not write just links to article, you could add a brief definition of each one

futile: agree with banno

why origins is so far from history?

I agree that the history section continues to need major work but it remains a necessary part of the article. I think that the origins section could be brought further up the article (perhaps content merged with history) The ethics by case section is unclear. Perhaps it should be rewritten as ethics in law (in keeping with other headings) and just contain a summary of casuistry for which there is already a well developed article. --Vincej 15:45, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

== In ethics and political science. == To promote the common good means to benefit members of the society.

Online External review Dec 17 2005[edit]

User:Perspective16 notes that Michael Cook has unfavorably characterized this article. --Ancheta Wis 01:07, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Disambiguation link to Scientology Ethics[edit]

I intend to revert the removal of the Ethics (Scientology) link, probably through a proper, full disambiguation page linked from this article, as per Wikipedia disambiguation guidelines. The removal of the link did not include a reason. --Davidstrauss 04:57, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Review of Consequentialism[edit]

I have been working for a couple of months on Consequentialism and recently submitted it for peer review. If anyone here can offer me any advice as to how to proceed with this article, I would appreciate it greatly. Ig0774 01:31, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Moral Problems[edit]

We are faced with moral problems on a daily basis: Is 30 dollars enough to charge? Is abortion justified under certain circumstances? Should the doctor lie to Grandma about her heart condition? When we think about these things, we usually draw on moral rules that govern our lives. Whether they are rules about business transactions, the value of human life, or simply telling the truth. These rules depend upon certtain principles, and these principles have their basis in the Theological. We can trace almost any ethic to biblical material on morality. The Ten Commandments are basically moral rules for living and behaving responsibility, the sanctity of life, the marriage relationship, and the responsibility of telling the truth. Several applications take place in the book of Exodus. The moral law was the standard of the kind of society that existed in the Old Testament. It's remnant exists in our society today. Moral principles are all inclusive concepts not just applicable to the particular kinds of activities as in Exodus, but universally to every kind of involvement whatever that may be.

Ethics as a Methodology[edit]

ETHICS is the name of a computer science Analysis and Design methodology. Further disambiguation required?

Business Ethics[edit]

There are many topics related to business ethics those I think should be discussed here.

Business man - Customer Ethics

Business man - Employee Relations

etc I am not good at this.. just thought this could be discussed

fsds --

? Add Ethical Consumerism to the see also list 00:06, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Morals vs Ethics[edit]

Although similar, and often confused, there is a distinction between morals and ethics. Ethics is a prescriptive code, whereas morals can differ between individuals. I think it would be a good idea to raise this distinction, any objections? ThePedro 01:38, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Descriptive Ethics back to a Sub-Head[edit]

I am quite uncomfortable with promoting descriptive ethics to the same headings as the other main branches of ethics in the opening section, especially since the introduction says there are three main branches, and descriptive is not one of them! I know this is a current discussion in the field, but I don't think this sort of change should be accepted here until it is accepted in the larger philosophical community. It definitely deserves space here, but it should be clearly indicated that this is a novelty, and not something that is generally accepted. I was astonished when my students began talking about descriptive ethics as a "main branch." Now I see why! Robert Johnson 12:09, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

these ethics are rong

Ethics in Psychology/Ethics in professions[edit]

Ethics in psychology, especially regarding the subjects of psychological experiments, warrants separate mention from medical ethics.

Ethics in psychology should be renamed psychological ethical theories or something along those lines, as the title implies a discussion of ethical guidelines in psychology. I'm a bit too busy at the moment to write about it, but any discussion of that subject should include reference to Milgram's landmark study and probably Watson's experiment with the baby. I forget the years. 05:32, 6 June 2007 (UTC)Peter Comerford

I agree. A team of graduate students in Psychology are collaborating to write an Ethics in Psychology article, which should include ethics in both practice and research. Should we plan to write a paragraph for this article and link to our main article?

Britty5096 (talk) 12:51, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Call me naïve...[edit]

... but "However, most persons would argue that ethics are overrated." qualifies as one of the dumbest statements ever to be found on a Wikipedia article which appears to have been written in cold blood... especially in an introduction... removed. Carl Turner 18:49, 23 June 2007 (UTC)


I found an article titled Ethicism, which seems to be a neologism describing the practice of ethics, which is, as I see it...ethics. I wonder if anyone is interested in salvaging anything from that (hopelessly POV and OR - filled) article and then having it redirect here. Chubbles 04:16, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

"Choices vs. consequences" section[edit]

I've just removed the following vague sounding/possible original research from the article:

Consequences of personal choices may impact on other people and any associated responsibilities may extend into a wider society. They are major factors in life, as they determine one's relationships with oneself and with others. One's choices often affect one's ethics in a much more grand scheme. Negative choices often create a "numbness" due to familiarity with the negativity (A creates B which perpetuates A, with A being the negative choice and B being the "numbness" due to it), furthering one's negativity. This is known as a downward spiral. In the reverse of this, known as an upward spiral, the same thing occurs but it furthers one's positive aspects; these aspects, whether negative or positive, affect one's life and therefore one's ethics, and so must be largely considered in this article.
Scavenge what ye will. Skomorokh incite 03:26, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

EthicsEthics (disambiguation)
Ethics (philosophy)Ethics

The philosophical topic is the primary topic of the word compared with all the other articles linked from the disambiguation page Ethics, and is reasonably what people expect when they search "ethics". The user who made the original move in October was thinking "practical", but this is covered by applied ethics as linked here, not on the dab page. –Pomte 09:26, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Given what other pages exist, this move seems reasonable to me. There are other uses not covered on the disambiguation page, however; which makes me wonder whether or not there is room for an Ethics, an Ethics (philosophy), and an Ethics (disambiguation). But that's something can be dealt with at a later time, I suppose. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 18:32, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
I've performed the requested move. (I'm not sure if there was some requirement to wait a number of days for debate, but I saw the old Ethics page in CAT:CSD and took action.) Could those editors who maintain this article take care of checking redirects and links and update anything that looks inappropriate? --Elkman (Elkspeak) 01:08, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
No double redirects; all fixed by User:Computer it seems. The vast majority of incoming links are still to Ethics anyway, so nothing more needs to be done. Thanks. –Pomte 08:29, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Ethics in education[edit]

Could someone please direct me toward an article dealing with ethics in education? Particularly, dealing with role-playing or simulations where the goal of the exercise may be at odds with an ethical system or morality. I looked at the sidebar, but couldn't really find an article that suited my needs. Thanks! SharkD (talk) 23:55, 18 June 2008 (UTC)


The section for stoicism refers to the dead 'returning to God'. It isn't explicit that God in this sense is not the Judeo-Christian God. Is there any way we can clear this up to make it less confusing? (talk) 15:10, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Lede is POV?[edit]

The current lede for this article sounds rather biased toward the ancient Greek concept of ethics being about the search for happiness and the good life:

Ethics is a word for a philosophy that encompasses proper conduct and good living. It is significantly broader than the common conception of ethics as the analyzing of right and wrong. A central aspect of ethics is "the good life", the life worth living or that is simply satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than moral conduct.

(Emphasis mine.) While certainly Plato, Aristotle and the like were greatly focused on eudaimonia and such, most of medieval and certainly modern ethics was precisely about analyzing right and wrong in; and in contemporary analytic philosophy, even more so, with the development of metaethics.

I happened by here looking for quick links in a discussion about the relation and difference between ethics and morality; and on that note, the article on Morality has what I think is a much better and less biased summary of ethics, which could serve as the basis of a better lede for this article:

Ethics seeks to address questions such as how a moral outcome can be achieved in a specific situation (applied ethics), how moral values should be determined (normative ethics), what morals people actually abide by (descriptive ethics), what the fundamental nature of ethics or morality is, including whether it has any objective justification (meta-ethics), and how moral capacity or moral agency develops and what its nature is (moral psychology).

Opinions? --Pfhorrest (talk) 03:23, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposed reorganization[edit]

I would like to propose a reorganization of this article into more logical subdivisions of the field of ethics:

  • Analytic Ethics or Metaethics
  • Normative Ethics (also incorporating what is currently under "Greek Philosophy", which may be better moved into their respective articles):
    • Virtue Ethics (most of what's currently under "Greek philosophy")
    • Consequentialism
    • Deontology
  • Applied Ethics (also incorporating current subsections like "Relational Ethics" and "Military Ethics"
  • Descriptive Ethics
  • Moral Psychology

I'm unsure if moral psychology belongs as a subsections descriptive ethics or not, since it is mostly concerned with why people make moral choices (a descriptive, empirical question) rather than more analytic questions like "what is right or wrong" or "what does 'good' mean?" However it does involve some analytic subtopics like the relevance or moral luck, so I'm not sure.

I'm likewise uncertain where to categorize evolutionary ethics; it seems most naturally to belong as a part of moral psychology, and that was the course at uni under which I studied the subject. (Our moral psych course was our only phil course to talk about ev-psych, that is).

Opinions? --Pfhorrest (talk) 22:18, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I just created an account to suggest something like this myself - there is currently too much weight on Greek ethics and no mention of consequentialism or deontology. Virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism and other approaches to ethics have meta-ethical implications, as well as implications for applied ethics, so would it be appropriate to explain the different aspects to ethical study (meta-, normative and applied etihcs) before brief descriptions of the main ethical schools of thought?

  • Meta-ethics
  • Normative Ethics
  • Applied Ethics
  • Moral Psychology
  • Approaches to Ethics (or something)
    • Virtue Ethics
    • Consequentialism
    • Deontology
    • Cultural Relativism
    • Ethical Egoism
    • Non-cognitivism

Hope this stimulates some debate, anyway.

Deafpanda (talk) 18:58, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Capitalist ethics[edit]

According to Arjen Hoekstra, the current unregulated capitalist/consumerist trading system is unethical. Arjen Hoekstra compares the consumption of products made at such a fashion that it devestates the local environment (bringing people locally in trouble) withthe handling of stolen goods. He says that it is "playing innocent while purchasing a bycicle for 10$ of a junkie".

Perhaps it can be added in article. The analogy used above (which is I believe very accurate) could be mentioned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:25, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Orginial research/synthesis in postmodern ethics section?[edit]

The Postmodern Ethics section seems to contain more speculation than reporting of the various opinions held by scholars of ethics. It definitely has POV problems. David Delony (talk) 16:26, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Hi, David Delony. This entire section actually seems to be copy & pasted from The Definitive Guide to Becoming a World Class Global Buyer[1]. I'm not sure how to go about fixing an entire section that is taken verbatim from another source, but I don't want to delete somebody else's work. Biosthmors and Mishae, what do you think? Thank you for any suggestions! Pangurban22 (talk) 04:14, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, first, I am surprised that the tag was placed in 2009 yet no one cared to remove the suspicious text??!! According to our policies, any copy & paste material follows the same suit as plagiarism. See WP:Copyright for the detailed explanation. My suggestion will be to either remove it in accordance with our policies or rewriting it by providing the guide in a ref (not just 2004 p. whatever).--Mishae (talk) 05:04, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
If it's plagiarized, I think the obvious solution would be to delete the section. David Delony (talk) 17:26, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, if we gonna remove that section we should also consider removing Applied ethics section as well, per unsourced. Now, I tried to search for refs, but I don't think this one will be an RS?--Mishae (talk) 17:41, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Dear David Delony and Mishae, thank you for your comments. After reading Mishae's observation above, I became curious about the whole article and did some more digging. As it turns out, the entire thing, from beginning to end, corresponds almost verbatim to the same book I mentioned above: The Definitive Guide to Becoming a World Class Global Buyer[2]. The real curiosity, however, is that David Delony's comment was posted in 2009, but the copyright date for the book is 2014! I dug some more and found that the author of the book, Robert Eugene Beasley, Jr., expresses in his Introduction: "The book is also filled with many specific lists per topic which allows you to narrow down ideas and comments. I thank Wikipedia for basic definitions and my colleagues, my management and the many wonderful Global Suppliers I had the chance to work with over the years." This is the only mention of Wikipedia that Beasley makes in his book, and his statement de-emphasizes the amount of corresponding information (around 6,100 words!), but given the date discrepancy and Beasley's one mention of Wikipedia, I suspect that the fraud has been committed by Beasley, not by the Wikipedia contributor(s). If my suspicion is correct, then I'm shocked that the book was published and copyrighted. I'd appreciate it if you take a look also just to make sure I'm not mistaken. Whether correct or not, I don't know how to pursue this further. The both of you and Biosthmors are more knowledgeable than me, so I wonder if you know whether or not Wikipedia has policies regarding wholesale appropriation of information (without proper attribution), especially when it involves monetary gain for someone (the eBook is available for purchase for $3.03). Thank you again. Pangurban22 (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Pangurban22 There are plenty of blogs and other sites that use Wikipedia articles without even citing it. I for one know of a book that used Wikipedia as its writing source, but in this case it was quite legal, because the book was about animals and carried only a paragraph, not more about them. Unfortunately, we as users cannot pursue charges against the author, no matter how sad it is. You just need to assume:
a) Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia decided to pursue it, or decided to ignore it and
b) assume that the work that you bought is in itself copyright violation, and therefore you can resell it on e-bay with a note and lower price (hopefully someone will notice it and will think twice of buying a book by the author who does violate the copyright law). Hope this explains a bit.--Mishae (talk) 22:36, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, Mishae! I personally had no interest in pursuing the author, and I'm happy to go with the assumptions you've proposed. I just find the whole thing fascinating. And very ironic given that the topic is ethics!!! Pangurban22 (talk) 01:40, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Yep, that author (if we still can call him that) should brush on his ethics.Face-smile.svg--Mishae (talk) 01:52, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

→ A Call for Clarity ←[edit]

O, People! So much arcana here... where's the clarity? More than ever in this day and age, Ethics needs to be explained first in lay-terms to make it accessible to the majority of people and understandable by corporate executives, politicians and blue-collar workers, not just academic philosophers. Right now, the page reads like a cabal of bankers extollling the subtleties of exotic derivative funds, and not a good explanation of balancing one's checkbook. Perhaps there also needs to be a clear distinction made between ethics as a more objective scientific pursuit of basic human societal systems of law and justice and the popular association of morals with highly subjective mores intended to regulate sexual/romantic relationships (e.g. religious morality). This page begs for a straightforward Abstract that any 5-year-old can grok before the two-dollar college words get thrown around so freely, so here's a derivative sample for someone higher on the Wiki food-chain to consider including some version of on the main page:

    "Ethics is a system/science/philosophy of moral principles, values or 
     codes, for guiding the behavior of a person or group. In practical terms, 
     being an ethical person is also referred to as "having a value system", 
     "possessing virtues", "knowing right from wrong", "having principles or ideals",
     "maintaining good standards" (of behavior) or as "following the dictates of conscience".

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:11, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

I've just given a shot at making the lede a bit more layman-friendly, but I don't think your sample idea there is on the right track. Ethics is not a system of moral principles at all; ethics is the STUDY of systems of moral principles. That's the primary difference between "ethics" and "morals"; the former is the study of the latter. --Pfhorrest (talk) 22:46, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Ethics lost the few reason that they had ever had after the definition of them made by Kant. Before the categoric imperative, the function of ethics was to guide the human being (a lonely subject) in his or her way of life, to reach the happiness (eudaimonia in aristotelian words). But Kant, with that Christian submission that ruled him, reduced ethics to a thing without any sense, submiting them to the empty concepts of good and evil. If pre-kantian ethics were stupid (just tried to make universal what was not), post-kantian ethics, based in empty values and false altruism (inexistent) are just the worst mental illness of the people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:17, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Thats called psychologism, simpleton. Teetotaler —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:54, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

The Bad faith article needs help from available editors[edit]

The Bad faith article needs help from available editors. HkFnsNGA (talk) 06:18, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Military Ethics Neutrality Disputed[edit]

"The Department of Defense 5500.7-R (DoD 5500.7-R), serves as the primary regulatory source of ethical standards and conduct to members of the Armed Services (DoD, pg 1). Since this is the only order used, all changes must be made by revision." I flagged this line on 05/09/2011.

I think this is a fairly obvious non-neutral point of view. Please include citation link, notes that this refers to military ethics in the United States and in formation of ethics regulation in other nation's military organizations. -Andreis —Preceding undated comment added 05:22, 9 May 2011 (UTC).

no ethics between Epictetus and Bentham?[edit]

was there really no study of ethics between Epictetus ob.135, and Bentham ort. 1748? --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 17:05, 9 May 2011 (UTC)


Removed unsourced, non-neutral arbitrary one-line edit from over 50 edits ago under "Stoicism". (talk) 17:29, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Non-western societies[edit]

Where is information on ideas of ethics outside the West? I don't just mean China and India, but also among Australian Aborigines, indigenous tribes of Africa and South America, Native Americans, etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:06, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree. There's no reason not to have non-western ethical systems included here. There's not one mention of Buddha or Confucius, let alone a discussion. There's a lot to compare when it comes to this: Confucianism vs. the Peripatetic school when it comes to virtue ethics; Yangism vs. Carvaka vs. Hedonism; Buddhism vs. Epicureanism vs. Mohism; etc.. Right now all there is is a discussion on Mohism. Let's get on this!

Here's some resources to get us started:

Dan Cottrell (talk) 23:56, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Virtue ethics[edit]

I know Epicureanism is considered a form of virtue ethics by scholars, but does that also apply to Cyrenaic hedonism?--Theconsequentialist (talk) 23:38, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Military Ethics: Remove?[edit]

The information currently in Military Ethics is nothing of the sort. Military Ethics is not about the adminstrative decisions faced by any organization, and the inclusion of a reference for one military's ethical baseline is hardly encyclopedic without a lot more meat on the bone. Rather than try to address it here, I recommed simply linking to a Military Ethics page, and work from there. Haakondahl (talk) 04:05, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

potential resources[edit]

From Talk:Morality ...

  • A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change (Environmental Ethics and Science Policy) by Stephen Gardiner (Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the Program on Values in Society, University of Washington, Seattle) Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (May 4, 2011) ISBN-13: 978-0195379440 [1]
  • Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril by Editors Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson, publisher Trinity University Press; 1st Printing edition (August 31, 2010) ISBN-13: 978-1595340665
  • Ethics of Climate Change: Right and Wrong in a Warming World (Think Now) by James Garvey publisher Continuum (March 21, 2008) ISBN-13: 978-0826497376
  • A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming by Michael S. Northcott publisher Orbis Books (October 31, 2007) ISBN-13: 978-1570757112

See global warming (climate change), ethics, effects of climate change on humans (effects of global warming in general for non-humans), risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth, Climate ethics, Climate justice (talk) 06:16, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

The quality of the article and its bibliography[edit]

I pose the following question to all serious contributors here: Which are the classical works on ethics that are not even mentioned in this article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:45, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Hillel's Ethics[edit]

This subject is lacking a reference to Biblical ethics. Where is mentioned anything about our relationships to one another, without having to introduce the prior concept of right or wrong?

The "Golden Rule" of loving one's neighbor as oneself (Leviticus) is a bit vauge when it comes to ethics, but this idea was later modified so as to be more specific, by Hillel the Elder (about 40 BCE to 50 CE), who said "What is abhorent to yourself do not do to your neighbor, the rest (of the Torah) is commentry, now go and study (it)". Hillel was the joint head of the Sanhedrin at this time. This answer was in response to a prosylite who taunted Hillel to explain his religion whilst standing on one leg.

Other religions also have introduced similar ideas, yet what is right or wrong has somehow been developed here without the human relationship side.Macrocompassion (talk) 14:44, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

What's the difference between religion and ethics[edit]

Do you know? (talk) 15:20, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, religion is a worldly organisation of people who believe in a supernatural creator. Ethics is a system of belief in, or theory of, what is right and wrong. Not sure why anyone would not know the difference? Religion can be used as an excuse for advancing one's own ideas about what is right and wrong, but most people see through that. If God told us to kill children , or to cheat and torture, would that make it right?

No, I think most people know that a religion which advocates actions which are wrong has itself got something fundamentally wrong with it. Things aren't right because religion says so, rather what is right is advocated by sensible religions. TonyClarke (talk) 19:52, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

New section: defining ethics[edit]

I added a section called "Defining ethics." Seemed like a better title than "Definitions" or "Views", but maybe there is a better name. I got the section started, but there is plenty of room to expand. This seems to be an area that many people will come to Wikipedia for: to tell the difference between morality and ethics, and what each of them are. Of course, authors such as Peter Singer see no difference between the two, and that can be noted here. More to the point though, there are reliable sources who will define ethics in the same way as Paul and Elder, and those who will define ethics differently. I see the section including all notable points of view on how to define ethics. --Airborne84 (talk) 14:42, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

I agree that an overview would be valuable, but it is curious to start the article with very particular approaches, as this section currently does. hgilbert (talk) 01:19, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
May I suggest that people c.f. Morality#Morality_and_ethics when working on this section, as it addresses the exact same issue. (Perhaps renaming the section "Ethics and morality" would be appropriate as well, since that seems to be its real subject matter?). --Pfhorrest (talk) 03:01, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Historical versus modern ethics[edit]

A distinction should be made between ethics as practiced by the Ancient Greeks and contemporary virtue ethics.--Theconsequentialist (talk) 11:53, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Problem with introduction[edit]

The introduction introduces "four major areas of study", citing

However, the link cited only talks of 3 subject areas - the last area in the article, Descriptive ethics, isn't even mentioned. The article on descriptive ethics cites a single source, a book written over 40 years ago, and, if searched for, has all of 32 hits on google (try searching for kohlberg "Stages in Moral Development as a Basis for Moral Education.") And searching amazon brings up all of 13 hits.

Whatever it is, Descriptive Ethics is not a "major area" in ethics, WRT studying or otherwise. Zenfishy (talk) 03:25, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

I would be amenable to removing descriptive ethics as a "major area of study", in accordance with the sourcing. I do think descriptive ethics deserves a mention somewhere in this article though. --Pfhorrest (talk) 03:59, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
I second this. I think this page needs some serious rework though. A lot of it seems to be more about frameworks than an introduction to Ethics. Especially more of a focus on history would be helpful. I also think it'd be a really cool idea to compare different cultural ethics systems such as Eastern vs. Arabic vs. European. Keeping it to be a focus on different formalized schools without a real concrete consensus into what defines ethics makes the article hard to read. Shaded0 (talk) 01:39, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Intro - suggesting an improvement[edit]

The Intro says: "... a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct." I would suggest: ... a branch of philosophy that analyzes concepts of right and wrong conduct. My reason: A school of ethics may be questioning rather than defending and recommending various concepts of right and wrong conduct, even the concept of right and wrong itself. Svato (talk) 19:17, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

I agree, Socrates being the prime example. But I think you need the other words as well. For instance, Epicureans recommended systematic concepts of right and wrong, and defended them, but didn't analyze them. The third sentence, "Ethics is a complement to Aesthetics in the philosophy field of Axiology" reduces accessibility. Why not change this to "Ethics and Aesthetics share a concern with value, the former with moral value, and the latter with artistic value." Then maybe have a section on 'Ethics, Aesthetics & Axiology' and introduce the advanced concept of Axiology? Mal (talk) 14:46, 8 September 2013 (UTC)


I noticed a concern regarding the adjective "hedonistic" for Utilitarianism. However, the editor who removed the word did not provide a source. I did, and made the change to a more detailed and inclusive description. It is true that "happiness" is probably the most cited term, but there are other ways to evaluate utility in an ethical framework, such as those described by Baggini and Fosl—maximizing welfare and the availability of preferences. Airborne84 (talk) 18:53, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Qualitative assessments[edit]

They have a whole ethical diversity section which suggests ethics do vary between individuals and populations, I could see an argument for morals to be somewhat more individualized, ie one's personal moral code, but one could exchange moral and ethical and have the same meaning in that phrase.

I think acknowledging the qualitative nature of the two would be helpful. No?

Richard Paul and Linda Elder and their definition[edit]

They don't have an Interwiki-Link, so it kind of makes me question their relevance. Also, their definition is kind of misleading, it sounds like they are trying to define Utilitarianism instead of Ethics. Any objections against removing their definition from the article?
Edit: That Richard Paul guy seems to have a wikipedia page at least, however, it isn't really informative: Richard_William_Paul
It seems to me like an advertisement entry anyway, but there's already a discussion about on its talk page: Talk:Richard_William_Paul -- (talk) 13:38, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Sure, I object. The source says it's talking about ethics. Discussion about whether he/they are really talking about something else is a topic for different websites. Airborne84 (talk) 19:36, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
The 'source' is a references to a book of them. The book hasn't a wikipedia-page (like one of the two authors, while the wikipedia-page of the other one is likely an advertising page), so I doubt that it has any significance to the subject.
Their definition is misleading, as it merely describes a consequentialist approach (the 'help and harm' part).
This is an encyclopedia, the statements that are made in its articles have to be as accurate as possible.
(That they use the word 'Ethics' in the title of their book has nothing to do with the question on how how accurate their statements are.) (talk) 13:20, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
It would help if you first familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's policies. You can use the help box on my talk page to review them, if you'd like. Then we can further discuss. Please see, for example, WP:RS, WP:V, WP:OR, etc. Thanks for your interest. Airborne84 (talk) 16:46, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It is unclear if it is the same editor editing Paul and Elder's definition of ethics. If it is, I recommend you sign up for an account.

I removed the inline tags and replaced them with a section tag on POV. I think this is what you mean, as one sentence isn't necessarily POV in itself; it is POV if, in the larger context of the section or article, it is represented with undue weight.
I didn't understand the relevance tag, so I removed it. Paul and Elder specifically are defining ethics in the sentence added. It is unclear then, how a reasonable observer would think it irrelevant in a section called "Defining ethics". Perhaps there is a different objection to be raised here (I don't know what), but this can't be the one you are looking for. Keep in mind that your objections have to be guided by Wikipedia's policies, not your personal opinions, to be considered here.
It may be that you are laboring under a misconception: that this is a finished article and Paul and Elder's definition is the "final" or "accepted" definition here. It is not, on both counts. Wikipedia is a work in progress. As far as Paul and Elder, since it is one of the few definitions in the article, the best way to handle it is not to delete it (since it is properly sourced as per Wikiepdia's policies); it is to further improve this section, adding additional definitions. Multiple ideas, even competing ones, can exist in the same article. One doesn't cancel others out. So, I recommend instead of trying to remove a notable definition, why not add other definitions that add to the reader's knowledge? Certainly there are other ways to define ethics. If this article ever became a featured article, I would hope to see a broad coverage of all the notable definitions of ethics, including Paul and Elder's. Thus, to state it again, improving the article calls for adding coverage of other definitions, not removing definitions.
Thanks for your interest. Airborne84 (talk) 15:57, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the Kidder edit, I guess that makes it less biased.
Maybe we should add Aristotles definition as well, since he basically the first known user of the term in a philosophical sense I think.
On the relevance tag: I'm not sure if we should just add definitions + the name of the author from random entry book on ethics.
Sure it's better than nothing, but it's still not the perfect solution, I guess :/ ::(talk) 20:50, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Ah, I think I see why you were concerned about the name being associated with the edit. Actually, I believe it is more in line with your position to have the attribution by name. If the definition is added without attribution, then it could seem that it is the accepted definition by everyone. Take, for example, the following statement: "Two parallel lines can intersect in xyz situation." When attribution is added, people understand who specifically is making the claim, and what their context is. E.g., "According to Timothy Gowers, a professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, two parallel lines can intersect in xyz situation."
Another example might be if this statement appeared in an article: "Joseph Smith was not 'a model for virtuous conduct'". As a blanket statement, some people might object. But adding attribution may satisfy those people that the statement doesn't necessarily represent everyone's opinion, thusly:
According to ________, a biology professor at University of xyz and outspoken critic of Mormonism, "Joseph Smith was not 'a model for virtuous conduct'".
According to Richard Lyman Bushman, a Mormon scholar, "Joseph Smith was not 'a model for virtuous conduct'".
(Gowers and Bushman actually made those statements)
Nothing wrong with adding Aristotle's definition. In a Featured Article, ideally, we would have sourced summaries of notable definitions, with perhaps some specific examples of the most notable ones. In the meantime, it's ok to add notable definitions, since this article is a work in progress. It may inspire someone (perhaps you!) to improve the article in the future with the information available. I hope that helps! Airborne84 (talk) 15:15, 16 June 2014 (UTC)


Hi. I realized that this article is in need of rewriting of a lead section, and would like to propose my idea: Will it be O.K. with consensus if I remove Ethics may be divided into three major areas of study along with the bulleted li st, which have no place in the lead? Your opinion will be appreciated with a much better article and a hope for GA! Face-smile.svg--Mishae (talk) 20:13, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

In principle, there is no objection, but there is a procedural one: this three-way breakdown is sourced. If you can find a different source that unpacks ethics differently (or multiple reliable sources that agree), that would be best. Thanks for your interest. Airborne84 (talk) 21:05, 24 July 2014 (UTC)


As far as Wikipedia articles go, I'd say this is nicely structured. For the most part easy to understand, and I applaud all who have worked on this page. Alexis mumford (talk) 01:22, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Thanks! --Pfhorrest (talk) 03:00, 7 May 2015 (UTC)