The word ‘Ethics’ is derived from the Greek adjective ‘ethica’ which literally means the science of customs or habits of men. It is the science of the habitual conduct of men which is the expression of settled disposition of the will or character.
Character is the permanent habit of willing, the inner-bent of the mind, it express in habitual conduct.
Thus, ethics is the science of character and conduct which evaluates the voluntary actions and habitual actions of persons and considers their rightness and wrongness.
Ethicsevaluates the character of human beings and consider their virtuousness and viciousness.
Ethics is the science of human character which expressed in rightness and wrongness of conduct. So conduct is purposive action, which involves choice and will. Rightness and wrongness refers to the God which is the ideal of human life.
Thus, Ethics is the science of the highest good which is the science of morality. Ethics seeks to determine the supreme ideal involved in human conduct which teach us how we can pass correct moral Judgements upon human conduct. Consider it as right or wrong, with reference to the supreme ideal of human life. Thus ethics is the science of the Highest Good or the fence of the supreme ideal of human life. ,
According to Mackenzie Ethics is the study of what is right or good in human conduct, or the science of the ideal involved in human life. Ethics is a Normative Science which deals with human conduct together with the inner valuations and their motives systematically. It spends upon observation, classification and explanation of human conduct with reference of an ideal.
Ethics is not a positive science which is systematic explanation of the cause and effect of things. A positive or natural science tries to know what a thing really is by discovering its relations to other things.
Ethics is not concerned with the nature, origin and growth of human conduct. It is not concerned with conduct as a fact or event in space and time determined by ac antecedent event and determining a succeeding event. It is concerned with Judgement upon human conduct, its Tightness or wrongness Ethics passes judgement of value upon human actions with reference to the moral ideal. It is not concerned with judgements of fact, but with judgement of value. Judgement of what is, where as judgements of value are judgements of what ought to be.
Thus Ethics is not a positive science but a normative science. A normative science is not concerned with action facts or their laws, with norms which regulate human life.
Thus, it gives us systematic valuing of our voluntary action. Normative sciences seek to determine Norms, Ideas or Standards. There are three ideals of human life, Viz, Truth, and Beauty and good which are the supreme values in human experience. They correspond to the three aspects of our conscious life-knowing, feeling and willing.
Logic is concerned with the general conditions involved in the pursuit of Truth. Aesthetics is concerned with the creation and appreciation of Beauty. Ethics is concerned with what is right in human action in the pursuit of God.
Thus logic, Aesthetic and Ethics are normative science, because they are concerned with the ideals of Truth, Beauty and Good respectively. They concerned with norms, ideals or values, but not concerned with facts or events that happen in nature. Logic interprets and explains our judgements of intellectual value. Aesthetics interprets and explain our judgements of Aesthetic value.
Similarly, Ethics interprets and explain our judgements of moral value. Logic is the science of truth. Ethics is the science of Good and Aesthetics is the science of Beauty.
Truth is the ideal of knowledge, Good is the ideals of will and Beauty is the ideal of feeling or emotion. Of the three parts of the universe-God, world and man. Ethics is particularly concerned with man. It is the business of Ethics to determine what human good is and not what cosmic good is. Thus ethics determines the moral ideal or the highest good of man.
Ethics differs from the natural sciences, because it treat man as a self-conscious being who is conscious of his relation to the physical and social environment, whereas the latter treat man as a biological animal who is originally related to his physical environment. Man is a self-conscious being. He is conscious of his relation to nature and society. He is not a part of nature. He cannot spring out of nature, nor merge in nature. He is a spiritual being seeking of realize ideals. So human conduct and character which involve the moral ideal, cannot -be explain by their antecedent physical, physiological or natural events. Hence Ethics is not a natural, positive or descriptive science.