Within moral philosophy, what is the relationship between normative ethics and applied ethics?

1 Answer | Add Yours

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Normative ethics involves the study of general ethical principles that can be applied to a variety of situations, even universally. An example of a normative ethical principle (albeit extremely oversimplified) would be the idea that honesty is the best way to deal with others. This could be applied to all sorts of different situations, including academics, interpersonal relationships, even principles of governing. Applied ethics, as the name implies, is the study of the actual application of these broader ethical principles to concrete situations or issues actually confronting society. These might include business practices, large social issues like abortion or affordable health care, or more broad concerns like war. The connection between the two is that the normative ethical principles inform different positions on applied ethical issues. One person might take the normative ethical position that humans should not take the lives of other humans. This philosophical position would obviously be relevant to their position on applied ethical concerns like the examples mentioned above. 


We’ve answered 317,490 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question