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applied ethics


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Extract

E thics Also called practical ethics. The study of how to apply ethical principles, rules, and reasons to analyze and deal with moral concerns arising in practical and social areas. Such a practical application of ethical theory has been a dimension of traditional ethics. Aristotle claimed that all universal moral standards must be adjusted and modified through their application to particular circumstances. However, applied ethics as a distinctive discipline, in contrast to other aspects of ethics, such as metaethics, normative ethics, and ethical theory, started to flourish in the middle of the twentieth century. Thus far, relatively well-established branches of applied ethics include academic ethics, agricultural ethics, bioethics, business ethics, environmental ethics , legal ethics, medical ethics , and nursing ethics. Since the moral principles to be applied are derived from different ethical systems, and are hence various and subject to conflict, applied ethics can seldom provide fixed answers to practical problems. It can, however, contribute to making discussion of these problems as clear and rigorous as possible. The development of applied ethics has also led philosophers to involve themselves in committees dealing with policy making, decision making, and evaluation. “While some saw ‘applied ethics’ as a straight-forward task of applying moral principles to particular ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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