Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ethics is the most general term used to characterize the different conceptions of the good as opposed to the evil and the just as opposed to the unjust. These abstract conceptions vary from one school of thought to the other. Kantianism favors an approach that focuses on principles, insisting on the role of duty and the universality of moral law. It builds a liberal ethics stressing the necessity of a public debate on the universality of core moral and political choices. In its Benthamian version, consequentialism and utilitarianism plead in favor of the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain, while John Stuart Mill argues in favor of the maximization of happiness and the minimization of unhappiness. Aristotelian ethics focuses on the importance of virtues that characterize the citizen of the polis. When ethics is contextualized, it is most often referred to as morality and designates a less ethics—ethos ...