- the study of standards of conduct and moral judgment; moral philosophy
- a treatise on this study
- [with sing. or pl. v.] the system or code of morals of a particular person, religion, group, profession, etc.
An example of ethics is a the code of conduct set by a business.
- Although the terms ethics and morality may sometimes be used interchangeably, philosophical ethicists often distinguish them, using ethics to refer to theories and conceptual studies relating to good and evil and right and wrong, and using morality and its related terms to refer to actual, real-world beliefs and practices concerning proper conduct. In this vein, the American philosopher Brand Blanshard wrote concerning his friend, the eminent British ethicist G. E. Moore: "We often discussed ethics, but seldom morals. . . . He was a master in ethical theory, but did not conceive himself as specially qualified to pass opinions on politics or social issues."
- In particular, in general usage ethical is used to describe standards of behavior between individuals, while moral or immoral can describe any behavior. You can call lying unethical or immoral, for example, because it involves the behavior of one person and how it affects another, but violating dietary prohibitions in a holy text would be described as immoral.
From Old French ethique, from Late Latin ethica, from Ancient Greek ἠθική (ēthike), from ἠθικός (ēthikos, “of or for morals, moral, expressing character”), from ἦθος (ēthos, “character, moral nature”).
ethics - Computer Definition
The study of the effects of moral principles and standards on human conduct. Business ethics deal with ethics in business, and with the constant process of optimizing profitability in the context of what is right and what is wrong.