Ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s or entity’s behavior. Ethics is the philosophy of virtue, morals, and justice. It seeks an empirical answer beyond its metaphysical roots.

To me, as one who is philosophically inclined, ethics is hands down the most important subject of academics. It is the keystone of EVERYTHING, this is because it is (like Plato infers) the keystone of the state and the soul. This is because it is [loosely speaking; note the ideal words haven’t yet been said by anyone] the art of moderation and temperance (the art of guiding all things via the highest virtue; the arete of virtues).

Ethics to the philosopher is the greatest happiness, yet, much to the detriment of all eras, to the miser (the one who desires wealth and power first) it is the greatest enemy.

This is why, again as Plato says, society should be structured in such a way that it values knowledge more than wealth. If the state is like the soul, then ethics speaks to a theory of justice which says the greatest happiness is the highest happiness for the most. Thus, the state and soul must be balanced toward this end to be just. This means moderation is needed and rulers must seek higher-order happinesses over lower-order pleasure seeking vices.

Meanwhile, the miser says, “but this stands in the way of my accumulation of capital, what nonsense”.

Again, this is why wise and benevolent rulers with ethical virtues and goals are the most desirable leaders. So, in sum, the past 20,000 years have been about trying to prove this argument and convey it to the masses. Plato did good, so did all his students from Livy, to Aquinas, to Machiavelli, to Locke, to Mill, Rawls… but as any Caesar, Khan, Mussolini, or Hitler will tell you, a minority of academics knowing isn’t always enough.


Factoids tagged with "Ethics"

Policy is Different Than Politics Fact

Politics and policy are different aspects of government. Policy makers must reconcile policy (specific actionable rules) with politics (political ideology, party politics, and policy implementation).

The Greeks Founded the Basis of Utilitarianism and Consequentialism Fact

Although we can consider Jeremy Bentham the founder of modern Utilitarianism, and his successor John Stuart Mill the one who popularized it, early Greek philosophers like Aristotle, Aristippus and Epicurus presented the original Utilitarian / Consequentialist / Greatest Happiness theories.

Intention Matters Fact

Intention matters in planning, action, and doing. Attention, intention, and impact are all important components of an action.

There are Different Types of Good and Evil Fact

There are different types of good and evil. The way to understand the types of good and evil differs by culture and text, but we can find general similarities by looking at major works and belief systems.

Thoughts Can “Rewire” Your Brain Fact

Thoughts and other stimuli can essentially “rewire” our brain, strengthening useful synaptic pathways and weakening less used ones, this is called neuroplasticity (AKA learning and memory).

Blog Posts tagged with "Ethics"

Good Faith, Bad Faith, and Duty

Good Faith is a true attempt, Bad Faith is an intentionally dishonest attempt, Duty is the moral and ethical obligation to make Good Faith attempts.

The Purpose of the Social Safety Net

The Social Safety net is a collection of welfare services meant to help people bounce up when they hit bottom, it is not meant as a net to trap the poor under.

The Spheres of Human Understanding

All knowledge, all human understanding, can be said to be of four types: physical (empirical), logical (reason), ethical (philosophy in-action), and metaphysical (pure philosophy).

The Importance of Principles

Principles are, in a broad sense, simply rule-sets which we follow. Below we will discuss the importance of different types of principles.

What is Fairness? / What is Justice?

Plato’s Republic, utilitarianism, the philosophies of morality, ethics, politics, virtue, and law are all centered around one question “what is justice?” (AKA “what is fairness?”).

What is Reason?

Reason is the application of “pure logic”, empirical evidence, experiment, and skepticism to find truths, facts, and theories (AKA “critical thinking”).

Separation of Powers Metaphor

The four “elements” (or “powers”) that form the foundation of government can roughly be expressed as: citizens, executive, legislative, and judicial.

Where Does the State of Nature Argument Come From?

We often attribute the origin of the state of nature argument to Hobbes, but it can be traced to thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, and the Sophists in the 300’s BC, and is then mused on by other early philosophers.

Vices and Virtues Explained

We present a list of vices and virtues and look at vices and virtues as understood by philosophers like Aristotle and Aquinas.

Types of Governments

We explain the basic classical forms of government and the many types of governments that can be derived from the classical forms.

The Branches of Philosophy Overview

The major branches of philosophy are (roughly), metaphysics (what is), epistemology (what we can know), logic and reason, ethics and morality, and aesthetics (beauty and art).

The Point of Life is Happiness

We present a discussion on “the meaning of life as happiness” according to the past philosophers from Aristotle and Epicurus to John Stewart Mill and Immanuel Kant.

Arete Explained

Areté roughly means “moral virtue”. It refers to an innate “excellence” or “essence” in all things, and the striving toward that potential or purpose.

Book Reviews tagged with "Ethics"

Plato’s Republic Explained

Plato’s Republic attempts to define “justice”, show why we should be just, and relate this to an ideal form of government which best fosters justice in the State and Soul.