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What is ethics?

Ethics are concerned with how we decide whether human actions are right or wrong.  They deal with ideas of good and evil, why we admire the conduct of some people but despise that of others.

Generally, it is a particular context that stimulates ethical thinking, an everyday situation that is in some way problematic. A question arises about what should be done.

  • Should I miss school to take care of my mum when she is ill?
  • Should the local Council permit a new mobile phone mast to be erected?
  • Should the government spend money from taxes on a new weapons system?

This website gives many examples of situations which throw up ethical questions. Ethicists, sometimes called moral philosophers, attempt to provide frameworks for reflections on moral behaviour in such situations.

You'll find these frameworks in the Ethics Toolkit  

During our lives, through education and experience we accumulate ethical principles by which we live. Deciding what to do is often not simple, because different ethical principles may suggest conflicting actions.

Next Ethics Toolkit