Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ethics refers to the normative standards by which human beings relate to each other and the world. Ethics is distinguished, on the one hand, from etiquette and protocol, which focus on social expectations, and on the other from law and regulation, which focus on jurisdictionally prescribed behavioral demands usually backed by formal sanction. Although distinguished from these and other normative activities (e.g., politics, religion), ethics is not detached from them. Rather, ethics and morality are generally accorded priority in the structuring and assessment of human conduct; that is, ethical considerations are invoked in the formation and assessment of customary, legal, and political demands, rather than vice versa. There are several categories of basic ethical concepts. For example, there are values (e.g., happiness, enlightenment), which are closely tied to moral significance. Conduct that contributes to or detracts from the realization of these values is characterized as either good or bad. Associated ...