The Discipline of Ethics

  • S. Gorovitz
Conference paper
Part of the Health Systems Research book series (HEALTH)


There is much talk about ethics in public discussion and also in various professional circles, but there seems to be very little explicit discussion of what ethics is. It might be useful to start there. Ethics is about interpersonal relationships, about how people and the institutions they constitute ought to behave toward one another. Ethics is therefore rooted in concern with peoples' individual and collective needs, aspirations, and values, and it requires a sensitive understanding of what those are. What is often overlooked is that ethics is autonomous. Ethical questions cannot be resolved simply on the basis of an appeal to the facts of psychology, economics, law, sociology, or any other discipline. It is its own enterprise. Ethics is not a list of right actions and wrong actions, or a set of moral prescriptions and prohibitions. It is, instead, a discipline concerned with principles and with the quality of moral reasoning.


Moral Judgment Ethical Theory Wrong Action Explicit Discussion Moral Reflection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Gorovitz

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