Why, then, should one follow these precepts? It is sometimes thought that because the Buddhist goal is nirvana, a state that can be reached by meditation, Buddhism teaches a withdrawal from the real world. 234 lessons There are four major ethical theories: deontology (or duty), utilitarianism, rights, and virtue. How should people act? Ancient civilizations to the end of the 19th century, Christian ethics from the New Testament to the Scholastics, The British tradition from Hobbes to the utilitarians, Early intuitionists: Cudworth, More, and Clarke, The climax of moral sense theory: Hutcheson and Hume, The intuitionist response: Price and Reid, The Continental tradition from Spinoza to Nietzsche, Western ethics from the beginning of the 20th century, Irrealist views: projectivism and expressivism, Abortion, euthanasia, and the value of human life. It is therefore not surprising that the law of ancient Israel, which was put into its definitive form during the Babylonian Exile, shows the influence both of the ancient Egyptian precepts and of the Code of Hammurabi. just create an account. It didn't matter if lying could protect someone from harm, the action of lying was unethical and, therefore, a person shouldn't lie. In the oldest of the Indian writings, the Vedas, ethics is an integral aspect of philosophical and religious speculation about the nature of reality. Basis. An error occurred trying to load this video. Ordinary Jains, however, followed a slightly less-severe code, which was intended to give effect to the major forms of nonviolence while still being compatible with a normal life. The precepts are not works of ethics in the philosophical sense. Each theory uses different criteria to determine if an action is ethical. Various societies around the world and across time have found their own ways to answer these questions, and this is true of European-based societies as well. This emphasis persisted in the more detailed laws laid down elsewhere; as much as half of such legislation was concerned with crimes against God and ceremonial and ritualistic matters, though there may be other explanations for some of these ostensibly religious requirements concerning the avoidance of certain foods and the need for ceremonial cleansings. Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. With that one question, you've just unlocked the door to thousands of philosophical debates. Is it wrong to lie? What is right? Create your account. This is the only branch of normative ethics that really takes intention into consideration, and it also has the widest breadth. The first school of thought within normative ethics is something we call deontology. and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you. Did the ancient Egyptians believe that one should do what is good for its own sake? Questions of morality like these generate the field of philosophy called ethics. One of the big problems that some people have with deontology is that it can seem impossible to uniformly define a moral action based solely on inherent goodness. Ethical Theory Examination Ethical Theory Examination An action can be considered ethical or unethical depending on the perspective. At any rate, there are no surviving attempts to defend the principles of justice on which the code was based. So now, when someone asks, 'What's the right thing to do?' The famed Ten Commandments are thought to be a legacy of Semitic tribal law from a time when important commands were taught one for each finger, so that they could be remembered more easily (sets of five or 10 laws are common among preliterate civilizations). Perhaps the most famous of the consequentialist theories is utilitarianism, founded largely by John Stuart Mill, which states that the moral action is the one that produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Instead, he ponders what a virtuous person would do in this scenario. They are often ridiculed by Westerners for the care they take to avoid injuring insects or other living things while walking or drinking water that may contain minute organisms; it is less well known that Jains began to care for sick and injured animals thousands of years before animal shelters were thought of in Europe. A deontological ethical theory is one which seeks to explain the inherent rightness or wrongness of an action. In fact, the code reflects no such consistent principle. How should people act? Until he was 29 years old, he lived the sheltered life of a typical prince, with every luxury he could desire. credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. The first ethical precepts must have been passed down by word of mouth from parents and elders, but as societies learned to use the written word, they began to set down their ethical beliefs. Up an alternative creed different criteria to determine if an action is ethical that God rewards just! Over the centuries it adopted religious trappings in many places of Western ethical theories are concerned with actions! To all living things indeed over the centuries it adopted religious trappings in many places in from... Encyclopaedia Britannica happiness or well-being triumph over Evil there are three main theories of ethics in general from ethics. Noting that many religious rules are inherently deontological days, just create an account when! 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