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Ethics and Morality

What Is Morality?

To put it simply, ethics consist of the moral code, or philosophy, that guides a person’s choices and behaviors throughout their life. The idea of a moral philosophy extends beyond the individual to include what is right (and what is wrong) for the community and society at large. Ethics is concerned with rights, responsibilities, use of language, what it means to live an ethical life and how people make moral decisions.

For a topic as subjective as morality, people certainly have strong and stubborn beliefs about what's right and wrong that can be in direct contrast to the moral beliefs of others. Yet even though morals can vary from person to person, religion to religion, and culture to culture, many are universal, as they stem from basic human emotions. We may think of moralizing as an intellectual exercise, but more frequently it's an attempt to make sense of our gut instincts.

The Science of Being Virtuous

Those who are considered morally good are said to be virtuous, holding themselves to high ethical standards, while those viewed as morally bad are thought to be wicked, sinful, or even criminal. Morality was a key philosophical issue for Aristotle, who first studied questions such as “What is moral responsibility?” and “What does it takes for a human being to be virtuous?” The poet Dante Alighieri named seven deadly vices: Vanity, jealousy, anger, laziness, greed, gluttony and lust. People associated with vices, or immoral behaviors, are thought to have poor character. Yet some say that virtue often disguises a hidden vice. 

 

CONNECTED TOPICS

Altruism, Philosophy, Deception

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