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Semin Speech Lang. 2003 Nov;24(4):263-74.

Morality, ethics, and law: introductory concepts.

Author information

1
Medical University of South Carolina, College of Health Professions, Charleston, South Carolina, USA. hornerj@musc.edu

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to differentiate morality, ethics, and law. Morality refers to a set of deeply held, widely shared, and relatively stable values within a community. Ethics as a philosophical enterprise involves the study of values, and the justification for right and good actions, as represented by the classic works of Aristotle (virtue ethics), Kant (duty-based ethics), and Bentham and Mill (utilitarian and consequentialist ethics). Applied ethics, in contrast, is the use of ethics principles (e.g., respect for autonomy, beneficence, and nonmaleficence, justice) in actual situations, such as in professional and clinical life. Finally, law is comprised of concrete duties established by governments that are necessary for maintaining social order and resolving disputes, as well as for distributing social resources according to what people need or deserve.

PMID:
14722800
DOI:
10.1055/s-2004-815580
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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