Meta talk:Historical/Simple View of Ethics and Morals

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the most controversial thing here is the idea that morals (mores) and ethics (ethos) have reversed their meaning since ancient Greek times. IT's a very powerful argument. What's wrong with it?

dunno, I find I agree with it. But perhaps it's a translation issue? That is, modern English word 'morals' means what the Greeks meant by 'ethos' (character), and modern English word 'ethics' means what the Greeks meant by 'mores' (rules), and the crossover was a result of constant push on both over thousands of years, which reversed our ideas of how human behavior is conducted?
Actually, I use 'ethics' to mean something the Greeks didn't have or didn't think much about until philosophers got their hands on the language. 'Ethics' can mean morals, but to my ear it always has connotations of 'science', or a philosophy of morals. (It meant, 'about character'.) I think the meaning you mention came from people thinking of their morals as philosophically/scientifically certain. But I suppose ethos has come to mean mores, and morals can sometimes mean character.--Dan

I found the comment regarding "adultery" a bit jarring until considering that perhaps the writer used it in a legalistic way such as breaking contracts/marriage vows sanction by the state/society rather than the standard judgemental way many "Christians" seem to fall into. I also am curious where this material is too controversial for the main site as it seems a reasonable layman's introduction that I can link to from a more specialized "engineering ethics". In engineering it is more about tradeoffs in the context of conflicting societal goals or "right" vs. "right" as this article puts it. user:mirwin

--- This article used to be quite prominent on the main meta page, and now it is buried. Obviously we can't talk 'metas' at all without some common view of morality and ethical behavior... so without this as an introduction, we are going to have more and more chaos. No one should be writing in meta without at least reading this, since we all seem to have some agreement about it.

Also, isn't it time this article was moved to the main wikipedia?

yeah, probably, and to the French wiki, since thre is now an article in French that links to it.
Agreed. But translated then...

I very much disagree that ethics is the science of morals. Ethics is a moral philosophy, or a type of morals. The other principle moral type is deontological morals, which denotes a moral system that is claimed to have been arbitrarily dictated by a higher power. Ethics, on the other hand, is a moral system that is based on reason directed towards using methods and achieving consequences which serve the greatest good. Deep ethics implies that ethics must be extended not only to all people, but to all life, and that we each are responsible for every consequence of our every action. Thus, if I buy Exxon gas, I bear responsibility in part for human-rights abuses in Nigeria. Deontological morals tend to be far more simplistic and unreasoned. The ten commandments are a good example, in which almost half the commandments are admonitions by a vain god to worship only him. Jaknouse 04:19 25 Mar 2003 (UTC)

A deontological theory needs not claim to have been dictated by a higher power and can well be based on reason. For example, Kantian ethics is a deontological theory. If a theory is deontological, that means its emphasis is on moral obligation, on duty, as opposed to e.g. the consequences of an action.
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