chapter  2
Ethics
The search for decision criteria
WithKees Vromans
Pages 32

This chapter discusses place the origin of ethics within the history of Greek thinking. It aims to understand ethical thinking as a particular way of viewing the world. The chapter distinguishes three kinds of ethics: descriptive, normative and metaethics. It also distinguishes within normative ethics two kinds of moral argument: the utilitarian and the deontological. The chapter explains values as intrinsic or extrinsic/functional and identifies those kinds of moral argument in given examples. Teleological theories cover moral judgement that emphasises the effect, the result and the consequences of human action. Virtue ethics is considered by some philosophers to be the third major approach in normative ethics. Virtue ethics has a strong commitment to ‘human flourishing’, and the highest human good is reached, both for a person and society, by practising virtues. Environmental ethics emerged as a new sub-discipline of philosophy in the early 1970s.