Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Ethics and Ethical Behavior

  • Claudia NagelEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_216-4
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Introduction

Human beings are constantly judging their own actions and those of others. Good and evil, moral and amoral, and conscienceless are the respective judgments whereby we implicitly assume that “one” knows the basic difference between good and evil. Moral conduct is thus always attributed to the individual, who is regarded as being responsible for their actions and held accountable for such, i.e., the individual must answer to themselves, their own conscience, or an external authority or institution. Moral behavior therefore presupposes the concept of voluntariness and freedom. Conscience, freedom, and responsibility are central concepts of moral behavior and ethics as the philosophical doctrine of morally relevant behavior (Moral Philosophy).

Ethics as a philosophical discipline dates back to Aristotle, who also pursued the earlier approaches of Plato and Socrates. The term ethics is derived from the Ancient Greek “ethikos,” meaning custom, habit, or tradition. Although the...

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nagel and Company Management ConsultingFrankfurtGermany