Ethics In Philosophy Essay

The field of ethics, also called moral philosophy, involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Philosophers today usually divide ethical theories into three general subject areas: metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Metaethics investigates where our ethical principles come from, and what they mean. Metaethical answers to questions are focused on the issues of universal truths, the will of God, the role of reason in ethical judgments, and the meaning of ethical terms themselves. Normative ethics involves a more practical task, which is to arrive at moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct. Ideally, moral questions could be immediately answered by consulting the moral guidelines provided by normative theories. Finally, applied ethics involves examining specific controversial issues, such as abortion, infanticide, animal rights, environmental concerns, homosexuality, capital punishment, or nuclear war. By using the conceptual tools of metaethics and normative ethics, discussions in applied ethics try to resolve these controversial issues.

A duty is a moral obligation that an agent has towards another person, such as the duty not to lie. Etymologically, duties are actions that are due to someone else, such as paying money that one owes to a creditor. In a broader sense, duties are simply actions that are morally mandatory. Medieval philosophers such as Aquinas argued that we have specific duties or obligations to avoid committing specific sins. Since sins such as theft are absolute, then our duty to avoid stealing is also absolute, irrespective of any good consequences that might arise from particular acts of theft. It is same for the leaders who represents others of either a big group or a small one. For example, if you are a member of student government, you should truly represent your members. I am not trying to make fun of the former American president Bill Clinton, but his behavior violated the ethics of representation. The news of him and Ms. Lewinsky really made him a laughing stock, but the worst part of that is that other country starts to think that Americans don't select their president correctly. This is what most newspapers in Asia was printing out. They say that President Clinton is a disgraced to the United States. To make matters worse, he lied and said he didn't have any sexual contact with Lewinsky. Now, everyone know he is a lier.

If you are not in politics but you are involved in business, then you will have to work on your representation skills. You should know what you should

Word Count: 417

Philosophy 302: Ethics
Position Paper Topics

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~ ~ Topics and Due Dates for Fall, 2010~ ~
One point/day is deducted from paper grade for every day paper topic is not chosen after 28 September 2010. Five points/day are deducted for late papers posted after 11 November 2019. No late comments are accepted for credit after 23 November 2010. Your topic must be approved in advance.  Email 


Paper Topic

Paper Due
Nov. 11

Comments Due 
Nov. 18

1. What is the difference between a moral and a nonmoral issue?

Kendra Hunter

2. Should our conscience determine what actions are morally right and morally wrong?

Kelly Hammond 

3. Should reason alone be used to determine which actions are morally right and morally wrong?

Lindsay Parsells

4. Are there universal moral principles that are right for all persons at all times?

Jennifer Novembre  

5. Should we act morally solely because of divine will?

Stephen Deline  

6. Is acting morally necessary for happiness?

Sabrina Kelly


7. Should we act morally only because it is to the overall advantage to society?

Anne Beaudette


8. Can a clear distinction between instrumental good and intrinsic good be maintained?


9. Is pleasure an intrinsic good?


10. Is the fulfillment of desire an intrinsic good?


11. Is Bentham�s hedonistic calculus practicable?


12. Is beauty an intrinsic good?


13. Is knowledge an intrinsic good?


14. Are moral qualities an intrinsic good?


15. Is "Socrates dissatisfied better than a pig satisfied"?


16. Is happiness just the sum of individual pleasures?

Kerry Cooper  

17. Is pleasure merely a side-product of activity?

Ashley King 

18. Does psychological egoism commit the fallacy of overgeneralization?


19. Is psychological egoism tautologous?


20. Are all human actions unconsciously and egoistically motivated?

Chance Reynolds 

21. Do people always do what they desire most?

Megan McDonnough


22. Can personal ethical egoism be refuted?


23. Can individual ethical egoism be refuted?


24. Can universal ethical egoism be refuted?


25. Can the distinction between a higher and a lower pleasure be maintained?


26. Can we always distinguish between the things in our control and the things outside our control, as the Stoics believe?


27. Can all persons be happy?

Joy Joseph 
27a. Some people cannot be happy.Marshall Gagne 

28. Are all moral qualities means between extremes?


29. What does it mean to realize your potential?

Layla Miranda  

30. Should all persons seek the dominant theme pattern of self-realization?


31. What is a maximally coherent system of mutually harmonious fulfillments?


32. Is ethics reducible to biology?


33. Is ethical egoism self-contradictory or merely inconsistent?


34. Is ethical egoism a complete theory?

35. In ethics, do the ends ever justify the means?  
36. Are some right actions not productive of the greatest happiness for the greatest number?  
37.  When ought one not do one's duty?  
38. Can religious ethics be consistent with philosophical ethics?Julia Riley 
39. Do self-realization ethics set up an impossible standard of behavior?Dana Hicks 
40. Distinguish carefully between the shared ideal of morals and the principles of ethics.  

41. Are the benefits worth the risk of taking performance enhancing  drugs for a competitive edge?

Ross Davis 



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