Descriptive ethics deal with what the population actually believes to be right and wrong, and holds up as idealsor condemns or punishes in lawor politics, as contrasted to normative ethicswhich deals with what the population should believe to be right and wrong, and such concepts as sinand evil. Societyis usually balancing the two in some way, and sociologyand social psychologyare often concerned with the balance, and more clinical assessments and instruments to determine ethical attitudes.
Value theorycan be either normative or descriptive but is usually descriptive.
Lawrence Kohlbergwas a developmental psychologistwho devised an influential theory about moral reasoning. He proposed that moral reasoning, which he thought to be the basis for ethical behavior, develops through stages. From the results of his studies at Harvard's Center for Moral Education, he concluded that there are six identifiable stages of moral development. In the lower levels, self-interest is the criterium which is used to judge the morality of actions, whereas abstract principles are more important in the higher levels.
- List of ethics topics
- Moral reasoning
Categories: Philosophy stubs| Ethics
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It uses material from the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descriptive+ethics Wikipedia article Descriptive ethics.