what is normative ethics?
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Normative ethics is, roughly, the study of theories about morality. Moral theories are abstract structures that aim, amongst other things, to tell people what right things have in common in virtue of which they count as right. Consequentialism holds that the outcomes or consequences of actions are the most important thing to consider when thinking about morality; as a result, actions are right or wrong in virtue of the value - that is, the goodness or badness - of the consequences that they bring about. Deontological moral theories take their name from the Greek word deon, which can be translated as duty, and refers to what people are morally obligated to do, or what they must necessarily do if we are to act morally. Virtue ethics holds that moral thinking and theorising should be much more focused on people, their characters and motives, than it is on actions or consequences.