In our daily life most of the statements we make are factual. For example: ‘Water quenches thirst’, ‘I have a headache’, ‘and God exists ‘and so on. These statements are reports of some kind of fact. ‘Atomic war destroys the world’ it is an empirical fact.
But when we say, the use of atom bomb ought to be outlowed.’ We are not making a statement about ‘what is’ but we ‘ought to be’. ‘This is an oil painting’ is a statement of fact.’ ‘This painting is good’, is not a statement of fact but a judgement of value.
Ethics is concerned with judgement of value. In ethics we are concerned with matters of good and bad, right and wrong, duty and obligation and moral responsibility.
The word good does not always express moral judgement. For example when we say, ‘He is good rider,’ ‘we have a good weather today’ today’ and so on’. In the above example the word is not used in moral sense at all. The word good is also used in moraldiscussion. It is here that many problems arise, we use the word good in describing some one’s character e.g., ‘He is a good man; we also say that a person’s motives and intentions are good or bad.
We also speak of the consequences of a person’s action is good or bad. The main moral words we use in ethics are ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘right’ and wrong’ considering the meaning of these terms, there has been no end of controversy.
The field of enquiry that considers the meaning and inters relation of meanings of ethical words is called meta-ethic. There has been a lot of controversy, among the philosophers of different ages with regard to the meaning of the ethical words.