Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's July 2001

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1. Ethics is the investigation into the conceptual and theoretical ethical resources for solving ethical problems and into the solutions to them.

2. Ethics is subdivided into theoretical ethics, which studies the conceptual and theoretical resources for solving problems, and applied ethics, which examines specific problems and offers solutions to them.

3. Ethics is open to everyone, no matter what their particular religious beliefs may be, and serious problems arise when we do not separate ethics from religion.

4. Laws also inform us about how we ought to live. Some laws are related to ethical problems, but legal considerations are not the same as ethical ones. Laws are rules of conduct established by governments or punishment.

5. Ethical theories provide clear and reasonable concepts to use in responding to ethical problems. More specifically, they provide three things: standards for determining good and evil or right and wrong, justifications for using these particular standards, and differentiation between what is and what is not morally significant.

6. The ethical theory must be able to identify some ethical guidelines, the theory must be able to show that some ethical guidelines are better than others are, the theory must identify ethical guidelines that would prohibit the unlimited pursuit of self-interest, and the theory must help us to solve ethical problems.

7. Ethics is rational, persons are moral equals, and a person can universalize legitimate ethical evaluations.

8. Moral agents can be defined as beings that can perform morally significant actions and be held morally responsible for them. To be held morally responsible for something, an agent: needs to have freely or willingly caused something to happen, or allowed it to happen through his or her negligence; must be able to have known or must know the consequences of the thing; and must be...