Understanding Ethics in Philosophy

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What is the origin of the term ethics?

Greek word ethos

Who is recognized for redirecting the focus of philosophy from the natural world to the human person?


In which work did Aristotle enhance the ethical orientation of philosophy?

Nicomachean Ethics

Who is referred to as 'the Stagirite'?


What is the primary concern of ethics as a discipline?

Studying morality

What characteristic does Aristotle attribute to an ethical person?

Careful consideration of options

What is the focus of normative ethics?

The good or bad of an action

How is critical thinking often associated?

With being critical of others

Which intellectual standard is described as thinking about the 'how' and not just the 'what'?


What is egocentrism defined as in the text?

Focusing on oneself only

What does a critical thinker do according to the text?

Uncovers many aspects of a given problem

What does egocentrism lead to when applied on a wider context?


Study Notes

What is Ethics?

  • Originates from the Greek word "ethos", meaning custom, characteristic, or habitual way of doing things
  • Equivalent to the Latin word "moris", from which the adjective "moral" is derived
  • Study of morality (moral philosophy), a branch of philosophy that questions the goodness and badness of an act
  • Difficult discipline because it changes over time

History of Ethics

  • Greece is considered the birthplace of philosophy
  • Greek wise men were recognized as the "first natural scientists" for their efforts to understand nature through theoretical experiments
  • Socrates redirected the focus of philosophy from the natural world to the human person
  • Plato, a student of Socrates, further enhanced the ethical orientation of philosophy in his dialogues
  • Aristotle, a student of Plato, carried on the work of Socrates and Plato, as seen in Nicomachean Ethics

Types of Ethics

  • Normative ethics: questions the good or bad of an action
  • Metaethics: digs into the morality of ethical claims

Critical Thinking

  • Critical thinking involves being one's own critic, rather than being critical of others
  • A critical thinker acquires the disposition and skills to be their own critic
  • Involves uncovering many aspects of a given problem
  • Thinking in the ordinary mode is considered first-order thinking
  • Higher-order thinking involves reflection, assessment, and interpretation

Intellectual Standards

  • 9 elements of ethical reasoning:
  • Clarity
  • Accuracy
  • Precision
  • Relevance
  • Depth
  • Breadth
  • Logic
  • Significance
  • Fairness


  • The tendency to regard one's own personal opinion as the only correct one
  • Failure to recognize or entertain opinions of others, especially those that contradict one's own claims
  • Can lead to sociocentrism when applied on a wider context
  • Signs of egocentrism:
  • Always needing to be right
  • Constantly wanting more
  • Focusing only on oneself
  • Disliking others' successes
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Lacking empathy

Explore the concept of ethics, derived from the Greek word ethos meaning custom, and its connection to morality. Learn how ethics is a branch of philosophy that questions the goodness and badness of actions, with roots in ancient Greece.

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