The Scope of Moral Philosophy (Ethics-1, M02)

In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Dehli: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT) (2016)
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Abstract

In this lesson we review the philosophical foundations of ethics as a sub-field of philosophy. Ethics, moral or dharma philosophy is the confluence of dissenting theories and what they have in common as they disagree is the basic concept of ETHICS/DHARMA: THE RIGHT OR THE GOOD. Every theory of ethics or dharma is an account of this concept from some perspective. This allows us to identify three varieties of moral philosophical investigation: applied ethics, normative ethics and metaethics. It also involves discerning four basic, normative theoretical options: Virtue Ethics (the good leads to the right), Consequentialism (the good justifies the right), Deontology (the right justifies the good), and a fourth theory peculiar to the Indian tradition: Bhakti/Yoga (the right leads to the good). Examples of all four ethical theories are found in the Indian tradition.

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Shyam Ranganathan
York University

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