Ethics is a word that has its origins from the Greek word “ethike” that means the study of habits. It has its roots in philosophy, as it is a branch….
Meta-ethics, Normative-ethics and Applied-ethics
This article looks into the three moral philosophies; meta-ethics, normative-ethics and applied-ethics from a business decision maker’s perspective and concludes that which is the most apt philosophy depending on the nature of decision to be made.
Amongst the Meta-ethics, Normative-ethics and Applied-ethics the best suited moral philosophy shall be Normative-ethics which gives a moral framework to abide to.
Normative ethics bridges the gap between meta-ethics and applied ethics. It provides one with general moral standards that enable us to distinguish between right and wrong, and how to live moral lives. It highlights that which character or good habits should we acquire, our duties and what can be the consequences of our behavior on ourselves and others.
Looking at it from business decision makers perspective; it provides the decision maker with boundaries and jurisdictions by establishing general standards. That is, one is able to differentiate and evaluate between right and wrong. Secondly, it defines the role and expected capabilities of that decision maker. Finally, it declares that the decision maker is also accountable for outcome of his decision and its over-all impact. An organization may be using this moral philosophy to guide its employee for its day to day operations. Generally, this framework or moral philosophy is applicable to businesses and decision makers irrespective of the nature of business.
However, in certain cases where an individual issues is to be dealt with, Applied-ethics is a more suited. For instance, issue of employing disable individuals is better resolved using applied-ethics when each individual is independently evaluated rather then a generic decision.
Often distinction between meta-ethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics is blurred, therefore, a business decision maker ought to be able to distinguish that which are the issues that require a normative-ethics approach and which are more suited for applied-ethics approach.
Kant’s Moral Philosophy – Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy (2004), Retreived on 31st December, 2006 from: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-moral/