The word “ethics” is derived from the Greek word ethos (character), and from the Latin word ‘mores’(customs). Derived from the Greek word “ethos”, which means “way of living”, ethics is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with human conduct. It consists in a code of conduct of human beings living in a society.
Ethics examines the rational justification for our moral judgments; it studies what is morally right or wrong, just or unjust. Together, they combine to define how individuals choose to interact with one another.
In philosophy, ethics defines what is good for the individual and for society and establishes the nature of duties that people owe to themselves and to one another. It aims at individual good as well as social good, the good of mankind as a whole.
Ethics is an attempt to guide human conduct and it is also an attempt to help man in leading good life by applying moral principles. Ethics refers to well based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.
Ethics is related to issues of propriety, rightness and wrongness. What is right is ethical and what is wrong is unethical.
Ethics is a matter of practical concern. It tries to determine the good and right thing to do; choices regarding right and wrong, good and evil; questions of obligation and value. Ethics is to consider the practice of doing right actions or what we may call the art of living the good life.
Ethics aims at systematic knowledge. So, ethics is a science. Every science is concerned with a particular sphere of nature. As a science ethics has its own particular sphere; it deals with certain judgments that we make about human conduct. It deals with systematic explanation of rightness or wrongness in the light of the highest Good of man.
These established standards improve our moral qualities. They help us to take better decisions in challenging situations. In today’s world these are the prerequisite in every arena of our lives.