The philosophy is a very broad science and some of its branches, as well as being very old, are engaged in studying how to behave in humans. This is the case of ethics , a philosophical branch dedicated to studying and differentiating the good from the bad , the virtues of the human being, happiness and the values that are responsible for establishing good acts. It is a science that has a field of actionquite broad since it is not limited only to the exercise of philosophy as a science in itself, but is part of the sciences and other disciplines such as psychology and politics .


What is ethics?

Ethics is a branch of philosophy that focuses on the moral behavior of the individual that serves to establish the basis that helps to differentiate good from evil in order to find a better way of life .

  • Characteristics of ethics
  • History
  • What is it for
  • Types
  • Main problems of ethics
  • Key concepts of ethics
  • What is the ethical code
  • How it differs from morality
  • Representatives
  • Importance of ethics
  • Books
  • Examples

Characteristics of ethics

Among the main characteristics of ethics are the following:

  • It is a science that studies moral judgments and the way of acting within a society
  • It is not coercive because it does not impose any type of legal punishment.
  • Help apply the laws fairly.
  • Promotes self – regulation of behaviors .
  • The word comes from the Greek language, from the word ” ethos ” which means “character or way of being”.
  • Look for a way to create personal criteria regarding everything that happens around.


The history of ethics dates back basically from the beginning of philosophy as a science, and classical Greece can be established as its birthplace. Several important philosophers of this time, such as Plato and Aristotle , were in charge of carrying out different studies of human behavior and the codes that governed this behavior. Throughout the Middle Ages , the moral vision was imposed mainly by Christianity that established faith as the primary end of man, in addition to establishing correct conduct based on the biblical gospels.

During the Modern Age , a more humanistic vision began to generalize which came to break the religious tradition in many aspects. It was at this time that the need to create new ethical models became present, especially that they could respond to reason and give place to the individual within the culture. In the Contemporary Age , importance began to be given to the existentialist or vitalist point of view and by the 20th century, a series of nihilistic questions began to emerge .

What is it for

Ethics serve to find a way to establish a peaceful coexistence among men while promoting good moral behavior to achieve adequate living in society. It is a method by which the human species manages to find greater well-being and happiness . It serves to determine the way of acting of man in matters of rights , duties , justice and virtues .

Also study all the ethical values that a certain individual has to promote the good coexistence of the members of society. It is a method to cultivate a series of moral values to establish the difference between good and evil. It establishes a series of rules and standards that go against a series of activities that affect the life of the human being.


There are several types of ethics which are mentioned below:

  • Professional ethics : this type of ethics is related to the exercise of knowledge and in some cases the powers that are part of a specific profession.
  • Military ethics : it is closely related to the use of weapons at times when wars or armed conflicts occur.
  • Economic ethics : it is related to the economy, with all types of commerce and with finances.
  • Religious Ethics : It comes from some kind of organized religion and follows a series of moral and cultural traditions.

Main problems of ethics

Ethics has its own problems of science, among these problems the following are mentioned:

  • Problems related to the existence of value that raises a series of questions such as do values ​​really exist? What kind of existence do these values ​​have? And what is the nature of them?
  • Problems related to the method to determine and to rank the value .
  • Problems of ignorance of values that produce problems of objectivity and subjectivity of the same.
  • Situations related to moral obligation.
  • Problem of the essence related to the moral act or moral obligation that is related to the definition that says that everything that must be done by obligation loses its merit.
  • It is not known for sure where the problems of the origin of morality arise.
  • Relationships of individuals in terms of morals either by moral goods or moralizing agents .
  • The freedom human that is not seen as something completely real because that humans are somehow conditioned to society.

Key concepts of ethics

The key concepts that are part of the concept of ethics are the following:

  • Moral : values, beliefs, convictions and principles that are defended as an ideal of life.
  • Dogmatism : it is an ideological position that seeks to establish a certain truth as unique, absolute and also unquestionable.
  • Relativism : defends that moral options are valid since they are relative to a specific group or culture.
  • Value : it is the quality of the actions that man uses to orient himself in his life.
  • Norm : it is the principle of action that makes it possible to explain, interpret and understand human behavior.
  • Behavior : it is the way in which the human being behaves.
  • Intention : it is the purpose, goal or objective that the individual has in search of achieving a certain action.
  • Consequence : it is seen as the result that comes from a certain action, whether voluntary or involuntary.
  • Interaction : it is the action by means of which two or more forces, functions or agents can be exerted reciprocally.

What is the ethical code

The ethical or deontological code is a document in which all the guidelines and values that are essential to be able to exercise any type of professional career are found in an ethical manner . They are a series of norms that establish responsibility and are very common to find in health, sanitary, psychological and educational areas. In this concept, professional ethics takes vital importance, which seeks the way to regulate the different activities that are carried out within the framework of a specific profession.

How it differs from morality

The main difference is that ethics is the study, from a philosophical point of view , of what is correct while morality refers more to the practical part . Ethics, studies and deals with issues that are related to reason while morality is the behavior of human beings in daily life. Morality is seen as the set of principles , norms and values that are in charge of directing the way of behaving, it is the one that is in charge of determining the way of acting and makes it possible to understand when a person is in a correct situation. the ethicsfor its part, it is more a reflection on morality , which is responsible for reflectively establishing the set of principles and norms that are part of morality.


Among the main representatives are the following:

  • Aristotle, Plato and Socrates .
  • Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas.
  • Jean Paul Sartre.
  • Karl Marx.
  • Immanuel Kant .

Importance of ethics

Ethics is important because it includes all customs and human behavior , in other words, it establishes the correct way of behaving for the individual within society. It is a science that helps establish the appropriate way of acting for each individual through values. It is a way of understanding and respecting the opinions of others as well as discerning between what is morally right and wrong .


Some important ethics books are as follows:

  • Ethics, the only rule for making decisions.
  • Introduction to Ethics by Bernard Williams.
  • Aristotle Ethics from Editorial Libertador.
  • Ethics of Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez


Some examples of ethics are mentioned below:

  • Acceptance towards everything that is different.
  • Respect for others through courtesy.
  • Compassion for the sufferings of others.
  • Responsibility for the commitments acquired.
  • Empathy to connect with other individuals.

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