What is NORMATIVE ETHICS? What does NORMATIVE ETHICS mean? NORMATIVE ETHICS meaning - NORMATIVE ETHICS definition - NORMATIVE ETHICS explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
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Normative ethics is the study of ethical action. It is the branch of philosophical ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking. Normative ethics is distinct from meta-ethics because it examines standards for the rightness and wrongness of actions, while meta-ethics studies the meaning of moral language and the metaphysics of moral facts. Normative ethics is also distinct from descriptive ethics, as the latter is an empirical investigation of people’s moral beliefs. To put it another way, descriptive ethics would be concerned with determining what proportion of people believe that killing is always wrong, while normative ethics is concerned with whether it is correct to hold such a belief. Hence, normative ethics is sometimes called prescriptive, rather than descriptive. However, on certain versions of the meta-ethical view called moral realism, moral facts are both descriptive and prescriptive at the same time.
Most traditional moral theories rest on principles that determine whether an action is right or wrong. Classical theories in this vein include utilitarianism, Kantianism, and some forms of contractarianism. These theories mainly offered the use of overarching moral principles to resolve difficult moral decisions.
There are disagreements about what precisely gives an action, rule, or disposition its ethical force. There are three competing views on how moral questions should be answered, along with hybrid positions that combine some elements of each. Virtue ethics focuses on the character of those who are acting, while both deontological ethics and consequentialism focus on the status of the action, rule, or disposition itself. The latter two conceptions of ethics themselves come in various forms.
Virtue ethics, advocated by Aristotle with some aspects being supported by St Thomas Aquinas, focuses on the inherent character of a person rather than on specific actions. There has been a significant revival of virtue ethics in the past half-century, through the work of such philosophers as G. E. M. Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Alasdair Macintyre, Mortimer J. Adler, Jacques Maritain, Yves Simon, and Rosalind Hursthouse.
Deontology argues that decisions should be made considering the factors of one's duties and one's rights. Some deontological theories include:
Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative, which roots morality in humanity's rational capacity and asserts certain inviolable moral laws.
The contractualism of John Rawls, which holds that the moral acts are those that we would all agree to if we were unbiased.
Natural rights theories, such that of John Locke or Robert Nozick, which hold that human beings have absolute, natural rights.
Consequentialism (Teleology) argues that the morality of an action is contingent on the action's outcome or result. Consequentialist theories, differing in what they consider valuable (Axiology), include:
Utilitarianism, which holds that an action is right if it leads to the most happiness for the greatest number of people. (Historical Note: Prior to the coining of the term "consequentialism" by Anscombe in 1958 and the adoption of that term in the literature that followed, "utilitarianism" was the generic term for consequentialism, referring to all theories that promoted maximizing any form of utility, not just those that promoted maximizing happiness.)
State consequentialism or Mohist consequentialism, which holds that an action is right if it leads to state welfare, through order, material wealth, and population growth
Egoism, the belief that the moral person is the self-interested person, holds that an action is right if it maximizes good for the self.
Situation Ethics, which holds that the correct action is the one that creates the most loving result, and that love should always be our goal.
Intellectualism, which dictates that the best action is the one that best fosters and promotes knowledge.....