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Philosophical Ethical Theories Essay

1072 words - 4 pages

Philosophical Ethical Theories As we know, philosophers divide ethical theories into three major
classes. They are Metaethics(descriptive), Conceptual(applied), and
Normative(prescriptive).

Metaethics basically takes the scientific approach to concocting where
exactly our ethical principals and philosophies come from (Feiser,
2005). Descriptions and explanations of moral behaviors and beliefs
are provided on the basis of facts studied by such specialists of
anthropology, sociology and history (Beauchamp & Bowie, 2005).

Conceptual ethics covers huge controversial issues on the basis of
what is right, good, and established by justice, virtues,
responsibilities and obligations. These credited terms are examples
submitted by Beauchamp and Bowie on page 6 of our text. James Feiser
explains that issues such as abortion, animal rights, capital
punishment, nuclear war, etc. would fall under conceptual ethics.

Normative ethics distinguishes the differences between what is right
and wrong (Feiser, 2005); what mom and dad taught us growing up. It is
defined by what is accepted as the societal “norm” (Beauchamp & Bowie,
2005). Is killing someone ok? No. Is saving a life ok? Yes. Is
defending your life ok? Yes. If either the attacker or defendant dies
in an act of self-defense for one’s life, who’s to blame? In our
society, what is established as the norm is if the attacker dies, the
defendant is not held responsible because they acted in self-defense.
If the defendant dies, the established norm is that the attacker is
held liable and responsible and is punished.

There really isn’t one moral philosophy that I can choose. All
different divisions coincide with one another. Take the
ever-controversial topic of abortion, for instance. According to
metaethics, abortion stops a beating heart. Through conceptual ethics,
we ask if stopping that beating heart is right, if it does any good,
if it’s responsible, or if it is performed under obligation. Then,
normative ethics come into play. In our society, one’s morals take
hold of their conscience and we think back to what mom and dad said
was ok. They said don’t hurt someone and don’t take someone’s life. Or
we...

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