Ethics Knowledge Framework

1. Scope and applications

What is the social function of ethics? How many different forms does it encompass (eg normative ethics, meta-ethics, descriptive ethics, etc.)? What are their separate aims? To what extent is ethics influenced by the society and culture in which it is pursued? How important is ethics?

2. Concepts and language

How do we use language to express the knowledge found within ethics? To what extent does this differ according to different forms of ethics? Are there any central concepts for which we need specific language before approaching ethics?

3. Methodology

Which ways of knowing do we use in order to connect with, and understand, ethics? Which ways of knowing do the ethical experts themselves use in order to study ethics and communicate their understanding of it?

4. Historical development

How has our understanding and perception of ethics changed over time? How has the role of ethics within society developed? To what extent has the nature of ethics (for example, the different forms of human sciences) changed? What relationship does today’s ethics have with those of the past? (to paraphrase Newton, do they ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’?)

5. Links to personal knowledge

To what extent are you involved with ethics? How is your perception of the world, and your position it in, affected by ethics?

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