What are ethics? That question can mean very different things to many different people. To one person it could mean right and wrong, to another person it can mean just or unjust, or it could mean safe or unsafe. I personally view ethics as, ‘Is it okay? Is it ethical to do this?’ I view each situation on a case by case basis, no situation is the same, but they can all be very similar.
When we as humans go to study morality, there are 3 different approaches we can use. We can use the scientific approach, philosophical approach, or the theological/religious approach.
The scientific approach. This approach is science based. You use things such as the scientific method and known good theories and such to draw conclusions of morality. An example of this if a kid is being bullied and steps up to the bully one day and hits him. This method would find that the bullied kid by standing up to the bully ethically did nothing wrong, because of the situation he was placed in.
The next approach, philosophical is one less based on facts and more based on feels. This approach can be analytic but it ask a lot of ‘what ifs’ without any real interest in finding the answer. It poses questions to be answered, but does not actively seek them. An example of this type of approach is with abortion. “Is it okay to kill an unborn child?” This debate has been and will go on forever and with this approach we weigh the pros and cons and go with a gut feeling. Our solution will not be that of fact, but definitely something based off feeling.
The last approach, theological/religious is one based on scripture. I find this approach to be the most dangerous because of how religious doctrine can be misinterpreted. It doesn’t think or act on its own, it goes strictly by what the scripture tells it to do. For example, “it is wrong to steal candy”. These people who go by this sort of approach, will never steal candy because their scripture says it’s morally wrong.