Ch 13: Ethics

About This Chapter

Get ready for an upcoming test or ensure you understand an assignment that covers ethics basics using this chapter's learning tools. Fun video lessons examine ethical philosophies created by some of philosophy's greatest thinkers, and our practice quizzes and exam test your knowledge of these theories and principles.

Ethics - Chapter Summary

People make judgment calls every day, but how do individuals decide what calls to make? Most people use some sort of system of moral principles to form judgments, and these systems are often referred to as ethics. In this chapter, get an overview of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Thomas Hobbes' descriptive approach to natural law, ethical subjectivism and the divine command theory. You'll also compare and contrast morals, ethics and values. Gauge your understanding of ethics basics with help from our multiple-choice quizzes and practice exam. Around-the-clock access lets you study any time. Once you've completed this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Summarize Euthyphro and Plato's beliefs on ethics
  • Discuss stoic philosophy and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Exhibit knowledge of the Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals by Immanuel Kant
  • Explain ideas of utilitarianism from Epicurus, Bentham and Mill
  • Describe ethical relativism and ethical absolutism
  • Provide details about existential ethics and the ethics of care theory
  • Share views on egoism from Ayn Rand and James Rachels

14 Lessons in Chapter 13: Ethics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What Are Values, Morals & Ethics?

1. What Are Values, Morals & Ethics?

In this lesson, learn the differences between ethics and morals. Consider how these terms can mean different things to philosophers compared with the general public and how values factor into the conversation.

Euthyphro & Plato's Beliefs on Ethics

2. Euthyphro & Plato's Beliefs on Ethics

Learn about virtue ethics and Plato's beliefs on how to achieve human well-being in this lesson. We'll use his text 'Euthyphro' as an example of his interest in virtue and piety.

Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: Summary & Analysis

3. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: Summary & Analysis

In this lesson, you'll develop an understanding of Aristotle, including his view of moral responsibility and ethics. You'll also better understand what he thought was the purpose of human life.

Stoicism & The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

4. Stoicism & The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

In this lesson, learn what stoic philosophy teaches about how to live a good life. Consider the writings of Marcus Aurelius, who used his diary to work through challenges he faced during his life.

Divine Command Theory: Definition & Ethics

5. Divine Command Theory: Definition & Ethics

In this lesson, you'll find out why some philosophers argue for the existence of God. You will explore what divine command theorists see as the benefits of the belief in a creator of moral laws.

Thomas Hobbes' The Descriptive Natural Law

6. Thomas Hobbes' The Descriptive Natural Law

In this lesson, you'll consider whether there is a universal moral code that applies to all human beings, throughout time. You'll learn about natural law and how this concept varied between different thinkers.

Immanuel Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals

7. Immanuel Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals

In this lesson, you'll think about the different reasons why you use the word 'should.' We'll look at how Immanuel Kant understood these imperatives and what he had to say about doing the right thing.

Utilitarian Ethics: Epicurus, Bentham & Mill

8. Utilitarian Ethics: Epicurus, Bentham & Mill

In this lesson, learn the key ideas of utilitarianism. We'll look at three thinkers who saw the benefits of pursuing pleasure while still considering the needs and rights of others.

Ethical Subjectivism: Hume, Spinoza & Santayana

9. Ethical Subjectivism: Hume, Spinoza & Santayana

This lesson focuses on whether any one person can know what is ethical. We'll look at three key thinkers on this topic and see how they agree there is no objective way for an individual to determine what is moral behavior.

Ethical Relativism & Ruth Benedict's Anthropology and the Abnormal

10. Ethical Relativism & Ruth Benedict's Anthropology and the Abnormal

In this lesson, examine what you think is normal and what is abnormal when it comes to morality. Learn Ruth Benedict's approach to ethics and her belief in the power of culture to shape our values.

Ethical Absolutism & W.T. Stace's The Concept of Morals

11. Ethical Absolutism & W.T. Stace's The Concept of Morals

In this lesson, consider two different views of ethics: absolutism and relativism. Learn what W.T. Stace had to say about these approaches and what he proposed instead.

Existential Ethics & Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus

12. Existential Ethics & Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus

In this lesson, you'll consider why existentialists focus on the futile experiences of life. You'll gain insight into their thoughts on meaning and the role of the individual.

Ethics of Care Theory: Carol Gilligan & Nel Noddings

13. Ethics of Care Theory: Carol Gilligan & Nel Noddings

How has the lack of female voices in philosophy in the past affected our understanding of ethics? In this lesson, you'll consider the difference between the traditional ethics of justice and a feminist ethics of care.

Egoism, Ayn Rand & James Rachels

14. Egoism, Ayn Rand & James Rachels

In this lesson, we look at two opposing views of the topic of egoism, including one that has generated a great deal of controversy for advocating selfishness.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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