Glossary (combined from books and websites)

Clark, David K. & Robert V. Rakestraw, eds. (1996): Readings in Christian ethics, 2 vols.

Lawrence M. Hinman:

Fox Chase Cancer Center:

Dr. Deni Elliott, based on Bernard Gertís Morality, A New Justification for the Moral Rules. New York: Oxford, 1988.




Absolute or universal: moral norm that allows no exception, applying to the conduct of all human beings

Absolutism. The belief that there is one and only one truth; those who espouse absolutism usually also believe that they know what this absolute truth is. In ethics, absolutism is usually contrasted to relativism.

Academic Honesty and Integrity. Behavior such as cheating on examinations and lab reports, or plagiarism of course papers and homework assignments are the most often cited violations of academic integrity or academic honesty. Other matters of honesty are sometimes considered under the heading of academic integrity. Among these are honesty in writing letters of recommendation and in reporting institutional statistics.

Act-orientation: approach to ethics that emphasizes the uniqueness of particular ethical decisions

Altruism. A selfless concern for other people purely for their own sake. Altruism is usually contrasted with selfishness or egoism in ethics.

Antinormianism: ethical viewpoint that rejects all ethical nroms and rules

Applied Research. The investigation of some phenomena to discover whether its properties are appropriate to a particular need or want. In contrast, basic research investigates phenomena without reference to particular human needs and wants.

Autonomy. The right to choose oneís own actions or course of life so long as doing so does not interfere unduly with the lives and actions of others.

Basic Research. The investigation of the natural phenomena as contrasted with applied research.

Beneficence. The duty to do good, not harm to others

Bioethics. The study of ethics that result from technological scientific advances in the areas of biology and medicine.

Biotechnology. As defined by the U.S. government, this refers to any technique that uses living organisms (or parts of organisms) to make or modify products, to improve plants and animals, or to develop microorganisms for specific use. Biotechnology focuses on the practical applications of science (as opposed to doing "science for science sake"). Historically, biotechnology has had an impact in three main areas: health, food/agriculture and environmental protection. Biotechnologists try to solve problems in these and other areas such as the need to cure or prevent illness, for clean water, and to preserve food.

Categorical Imperative. An unconditional command. For Immanuel Kant, all of morality depended on a single categorical imperative. One version of that imperative was, "Always act in such a way that the maxim of your action can be willed as a universal law."

Compatibilism. The belief that both determinism and freedom of the will are true.

Conflict of Interest. A person has a conflict of interest when the person is in a position of trust which requires her to exercise judgment on behalf of others (people, institutions, etc.) and also has interests or obligations of the sort that might interfere with the exercise of her judgment, and which the person is morally required to either avoid or openly acknowledge.

Conflict of norms. When two or more conflicting norms are in effect in a certain ethical decision, at least one of the norms will be broken in any decision. The common ways to solve the conflict include: Antinormianism, Generalism, Situationism, Graded absolutism, Ideal absolutism, Non-conflicting absolutism.

Consequentialism. Any position in ethics which claims that the rightness or wrongness of actions depends on their consequences.

Counter-Example. An example which claims to undermine or refute the principle or theory against which it is advanced.

Deductive. A deductive argument is an argument whose conclusion follows necessarily from its premises. This contrasts to various kinds of inductive arguments, which offer only a degree of probability to support their conclusion.

Deontology. Any position in ethics which claims that the rightness or wrongness of actions depends on whether they correspond to our duty or not.

Descriptive Ethics. a kind of ethics that talks about how people DO behave in regards to one another, rather than how they SHOULD behave. This is also referred to as anthropology or sociology or psychology; this kind of activity sees itself as akin to the empiric sciences.

Dilemma. A forced choice between courses of action (usually two) which are equally unacceptable. Sometimes people will call any challenging "moral problem" a dilemma, but this is a misleading use of the term.

Divine Command Theory. Any position in ethics which claims that the rightness or wrongness of actions depends on whether they correspond to Godís commands or not.

Duty. the special responsibility associated with a particular profession or occupation or societal role. Physicians, journalists, students, or parents all have special duties. The duty of an individual or group includes descriptions about how the duty makes the group different from other groups in the society. This is also a key term in Kantian ethics: We have a duty to abide by the moral law built into our minds. Compromises and little white lies are not permissible.

Emotivism. A philosophical theory which holds that moral judgments are simply expressions of positive or negative feelings.

Enlightenment. (1) An intellectual movement in modern Europe from the sixteenth until the eighteenth centuries that believed in the power of human reason to understand the world and to guide human conduct. (2) For Buddhists, the state of Enlightenment or nirvana is the goal of human existence.

Epistemology: investigation of the sources, methods, and status of human knowledge claims

Ethical Egoism. A moral theory that, in its most common version (universal ethical egoism) states that each person ought to act in his or her own Self-interest.

Ethical Relativism or Relativism. is used to indicate several different views. The first, which is also called "ethical subjectivism," is the view that the truth of some ethical judgment as applied to a personís behavior depends on whether the person believes the actions to be right or wrong.

Ethics. The term "ethics" is used in several different ways. First, it means the study of morals. It is also the name for that branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of morals and moral evaluation - e.g., what is right and wrong, virtuous or vicious, and beneficial or harmful (to others).

Ethics: the philosophical and theological analysis of morality

Ethnicity. A personís ethnicity refers to that individualís affiliation with a particular cultural tradition that may be national (French) or regional (Sicilian) in character. Ethnicity differs from race in that ethnicity is a sociological concept whereas race is a biological phenomenon.

Exceptionism. a style of moral judgment that is universal, but not absolute. Exceptionists believe that there are justified exceptions to universal moral rules.

Fabrication. In research ethics the term, "fabrication" means making up data, experiments or other significant information in proposing, conducting or reporting research. In engineering, the term "fabrication" has a benign connotation, meaning to make something.

False Dilemma. the presentation of alternatives in a dichotomous way. For example: "either print this story or donít" is a false dilemma. There are many other choices: print later, print some, print differently, etc. If you have had a course in logic, you may have seen this form of reasoning under the name of the either-or fallacy or excluded middle.

Falsification. In research ethics the term "falsification" means changing or misrepresenting data or experiments, or misrepresenting other significant matters, such as the credentials of an investigator in a research proposal. Unlike fabrication distinguishing falsification of data from legitimate data selection takes judgment and an understanding of statistical methods.

Fidelity. The duty to be true and loyal to others.

Formalism. The strict adherence to customs, such as religious tenets, no swaying from the straight and narrow path.

Fraud. A fraud is an intentional deception perpetrated to secure an unfair gain. Financial fraud, that is, a deception practiced on another party to cheat them out of money, is the most commonly discussed type of fraud. The term "research fraud" or "scientific fraud" is also used to mean an intentional deception about scientific results, a type of research misconduct.

Freedom. The belief that everyone is entitled to make choices and holds that the person is responsible for the consequences of their actions.

Futility. Futility refers to the benefit of a particular intervention for a particular patient.

Gender. A personís gender refers to that individualís affiliation with either male or female social roles. Gender differs from sex in the same way that ethnicity differs from race: gender is a sociological concept, while sex is a biological one.

Generalism: theory that considers some ethical norms binding in most situations; however, generalism allows that in certain cases all norms are subject to exceptions

Graded absolutism (hierarchicalism, contextual absolutism): theory maintaining that when two or more absolute ethical norms come into unavoidable conflict, the right and nonculpable course of action is to follow the higher norm

Harm. what all rational people want to avoid for themselves or for those close to them, unless they have a reason for wanting it. The harms include death, pain, disability, being deprived of freedom or pleasure. The connection with morality is this: What is irrational to want for oneself is immoral to cause. "Harm" does not necessarily have to be some physical damage.

Hedon. This is a term that utilitarians use to designate a unit of pleasure. Its opposite is a dolor, which is a unit of pain or displeasure. The term "hedon" comes from the Greek word for pleasure.

Hedonistic. Of, or pertaining to, pleasure.

Hypothetical Imperative. A conditional command, such as, "If you want to lose weight, stop eating cookies." Some philosophers have claimed that morality is only a system of hypothetical imperatives, while othersósuch as Kantóhave maintained that morality is a matter of categorical imperatives. Also see categorical imperative.

Ideal absolutism (Conflicting absolutism, lesser-evil absolutism): theory stating that when moral dilemmas occur, oneís duty is to choose the unavoidable lesser evil and then seek forgiveness for sinning

Ideal. how we would like people to act, but donít think that they have to act: people are praiseworthy if they act in accordance with the moral ideal (green-light ethics); an ideal action is one that is morally encouraged, not morally required. For some people who allow abortion, for example, bearing the fetus to term is ideal but terminating the pregnancy for a variety of reasons is not necessarily blameworthy.

Idealism. the perhaps somewhat romantic assumption that desirable outcomes can be obtained without causing harms. The belief that we can help all nations of the world to achieve the same level of wealth and conveniences as the US without causing anyone to give up anything whatsoever is idealistic--and probably very naive. Be sure to distinguish "idealism" in this context from the epistemological "idealism," which refers to the fact that we all hold our world in our heads and that there may or may not be a corresponding external reality.

Impartial. a person is acting impartially when he or she is acting like an umpire at a baseball game. The person tries to make similar judgments in similar circumstances using rules that are known to all involved.

Impartiality. In ethics, an impartial standpoint is one which treats everyone as equal. For many philosophers, impartiality is an essential component of the moral point of view.

Imperative. A command. Philosophers often distinguish between hypothetical imperatives and categorical imperatives; see the entries under each of these topics.

Inclination. This is the word that Kant used (actually, he used the German word Neigung) to refer to our sensuous feelings, emotions, and desires. Kant contrasts inclination with reason. Whereas inclination was seen as physical, causally-determined, and irrational, reason was portrayed as non-physical, free, and obviously rational.

Informed Consent. A term used to describe the obligation of physicians or researchers to allow patients or subjects to be active participants in decision regarding their care or participation in research.

Integrationist. Any position which attempts to reconcile apparently conflicting tendencies or values into a single framework. Integrationist positions are contrasted with separatist positions, which advocate keeping groups (usually defined by race, ethnicity, or gender) separate from one another.

Intentionality. making moral judgments on the basis of the state of mind of the agent. That is, the intention of the agent is considered in the analysis of the moral action. Kantís reflections about the "good will" of the morally acting person focuses on intentionality.

Irrationality. the key to a system of morality. It is irrational to want harm without reason. It is immoral to cause what is irrational to want.

Judgment. a proposition that states what is morally required, prohibited, permitted, or encouraged.

Justice. The duty to treat all fairly, distributing the risks and benefits equably.

Justification. how one explains or excuses questionable behavior. A questionable act--lying, for example--is strongly justified if all rational, impartial persons could advocate lying in situations of that kind; that is, if it would not be irrational to advocate such an act. A questionable act is not justified if no rational, impartial persons could advocate lying in situations that have the same morally relevant features. It is weakly justified if a rational, impartial person could go either way. The justification will vary with ethical theory. No lying, for example, is justified under Kantian duty-ethics.

Law. a system of rules different from ethics: The scope of law includes what is enforceable; the scope of morality excludes the causing of unnecessary harms. Something can be legal but not ethical--lying to oneís employer, for example--as well as ethical but not legal--refusing to obey laws that discriminate against minorities, for example. The most easily justified actions are those that are ethical and legal. Note that one cannot justify a moral rule by suggesting that itís not illegal; however, one can challenge a legal rule by analyzing it as immoral. Morality is the bedrock on which we build legalities.

Legalism: ethical systems, condemned in the Bible, that overemphasize law and developed detailed rules for many specific matters without regard for justice and mercy

Likely to Lead. [to the suffering of unjustifiable harms.] Some behaviors are morally prohibited because they are likely to lead to the suffering of unjustifiable harms. These actions include deceiving, cheating, breaking promises, breaking the law, and failing to meet oneís role-related responsibilities. This is a consequentialist consideration.

Maxim. According to Kant, a maxim is the subjective rule that an individual uses in making a decision.

Means. Philosophers often contrast means and ends. The ends we seek are the goals we try to achieve, while the means are the actions or things which we use in order to accomplish those ends. A hammer provides the means for pounding a nail in a piece of wood. Some philosophers, most notably Immanuel Kant, have argued that we should never treat human beings merely as means to an end.

Modernism: western cultural mentality, associated with the Enlightenment but now gradually eroding, that stresses the supremacy and objectivity of human reason, the possibility of absolute knowledge, and the inevitability of progress

Moral Commitment. The individual must give priority to moral values above other personal values such that a decision is made to intend to do what is morally right.

Moral Development. a set of theories that describe moral maturity or sophistication, and the steps that one follows in reaching moral maturity or sophistication. Typically, fear of punishment and hope for reward as moral motivator ranks much lower than the wish to do right for its own sake.

Moral dilemma or conflict of duties: situation in which there is a conflict between two or more ethical absolutes

Moral Isolationism. The view that we ought not to be morally concerned with, or involved with, people outside of our own immediate group. Moral isolationism is often a consequences of some versions of moral relativism.

Moral Perseverance. The individual must have sufficient perseverance, ego strength, and implementation skills to be able to follow through on his/her intention to behave morally, to withstand fatigue and flagging will, and to overcome obstacles.

Moral Reasoning. The individual makes a judgment about what course of action is morally right, thus prescribing a potential course of action regarding what ought to be done.

Moral Sensitivity. The individual faced with a situation makes interpretations concerning what actions are possible, who would be affected by these actions, and how these actions would be regarded by the affected parties.

Moral Sphere. the area of problems that require moral reflection

Moral Standing. A beingís moral standing determines the extent to which its well-being must be ethically considered for its own sake.

Moral System. the structure that both describes and prescribes how people should act in regards to one another. An adequate moral system will clearly differentiate among behaviors that are morally prohibited, those that are morally permitted, those that are morally required, and those that are morally encouraged.

Morality. "Morality" refers to the first-order beliefs and practices about good and evil by means of which we guide our behavior. Contrast with Ethics, which is the second-order, reflective consideration of our moral beliefs and practices.

Morality: the right behaviour or conduct, including virtuous character, honourable intentions, and right actions

Motive. A motive is that which moves a person to action. Typically these are emotions, desires or concerns.

Narcissism. An excessive preoccupation with oneself. In mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful young man who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.

Natural Law. In ethics, believers in natural law hold (a) that there is a natural order to the human world, (b) that this natural order is good, and (c) that people therefore ought not to violate that order.

Naturalism. In ethics, naturalism is the theory that moral values can be derived from facts about the world and human nature. The naturalist holds that "is" can imply "ought."

Naturalism: view of ethics asserting that ethical terms and propositions are translatable into factual words and statements

Naturalistic Fallacy. According to G. E. Moore, any argument which attempts to define the good in any terms whatsoever, including naturalistic terms; for Moore, Good is simple and indefinable. Some philosophers, most notably defenders of naturalism, have argued that Moore and others are wrong and that such arguments are not necessarily fallacious.

Negligence. Failure to be sufficiently careful in a matter in which one has a moral responsibility to exercise care is negligence.

Nihilism. The belief that there is no value or truth. Literally, a belief in nothing (nihil). Most philosophical discussions of nihilism arise out of a consideration of Fredrich Nietzscheís remarks on nihilism, especially in The Will to Power.

Noncognitivism: any theory that sees ethical principles as cognitively meaningless; an implication of positivism

Non-conflicting absolutism: theory that holds that ethical absolutes do not actually conflict; Godís absolutes, properly understood, allow no exceptions

Nonmaleficence. The duty to cause no harm.

Nonnaturalism: philosophical view of thics claiming that ethical terms and propositions are not translatable into factual words and statements

Norm: a rule, a guide to character and action

Normative Ethics. how people SHOULD behave, as differentiated from how they DO behave--for most ethical theories, this involves behavior toward others. See also Descriptive Ethics.

Objective. having reality or truth-value that relies on criteria that are external to the judgment of particular persons. "The sun is shining" is true iff the sun really is shining. Objective statement in morality, at best, are statements where there is remarkable universal agreement. For example, it is wrong to do physical harm to innocent children is generally agreed to being a true moral rule; on the other hand, it is not entirely objectively true because "physical harm to children" becomes "tolerable collateral damage" in other circumstances.

Ontology: study of the nature of being, of what exists

Particularity. In recent discussions, ethicists have contrasted particularity with universality and impartiality and asked how, if morality is necessarily universal and impartial, it can give adequate recognition to particularity. Particularity refers to specific attachments (friendships, loyalties, etc.) and desires (fundamental projects, personal hopes in life) that are usually seen as morally irrelevant to the rational moral self.

Permitted. behavior that is within the bounds of the moral system. It is morally permitted to act in ways that do not cause others unjustified harms.

Phronesis. According to Aristotle, Phronesis is practical wisdom, the ability to make the right decision in difficult circumstances.

Plagiarism. To appropriate the writings, graphic representations or ideas of another person and represent them as oneís own, (that is, without proper attribution). Plagiarism is a form of intellectual property violation.

Pluralism. The belief that there are multiple perspectives on an issue, each of which contains part of the truth but none of which contain the whole truth. In ethics, moral pluralism is the belief that different moral theories each capture part of truth of the moral life, but none of those theories has the entire answer.

Positivism: view that knowledge is limited to empirically observable facts and definitional statements; positivism judges ethical claims as being meaningless

Postmodernism: western cultural mentality that emphasizes the perspectival and limited character of human knowing; it justifies truth claims holistically (rather than individually) and pragmatically (rather than through correspondence)

Practical Ethics. using a moral system, knowledge of conventions, role-related responsibilities and individualsí needs to an analysis of a particular profession. Agreement in this area relies on tacit adherences to common moral theories, a condition that is more common than not among most people.

Prima facie absolute: a norm viewed as being exceptionless in the abstract, when considered outside of any real-life context or separate from any situational factors

Prima Facie. In the original Latin, this phrase means "at first glance." In ethics, it usually occurs in discussions of duties. A prima facie duty is one which appears binding but which may, upon closer inspection, turn out to be overridden by other. stronger duties.

Principalism: ethical approach that applies broad, abstract moral guidelines (principles), in contextually sensitive ways, to general classes of cases

Principles: broad moral guidelines and precepts that are more foundational and more general than rules

Prohibited. behavior that is not within the bounds of the moral sphere. It is morally prohibited to act in ways that cause others to suffer unjustified harms or to act in ways that are likely to lead others to suffer unjustified harms. Different moral theories may deliver different justifications.

Psychologism Egoism. The doctrine that all human motivation is ultimately selfish or egoistic.

Rationality. 1. the reverse of irrationality; 2. the ability to know that oneself and others can be harmed, the ability to recognize harms as such, and the ability to understand that questionable action requires justification.

Reason. an appeal to benefit for oneself or others. If one has REASON for doing something, it is because the agent believes that someone will benefit.

Relativism. In ethics, there are two main type of relativism. Descriptive ethical relativism simply claims as a matter of fact that different people have different moral beliefs, but it takes no stand on whether those beliefs are valid or not. Normative ethical relativism claims that each cultureís (or groupís) beliefs are right within that culture, and that it is impossible to validly judge another cultureís values from the outside.

Required. behavior that an agent MUST do. In the most commonsensical moral theories, people are morally required to meet their role-related responsibilities, to avoid causing unjustifiable harm to others, and to avoid acting in ways that are likely to cause people to suffer unjustifiable harm.

Respect for persons. The duty to honor others, their rights, and their responsibilities.

Rights. These are entitlements to do something without interference from other people (negative rights) or entitlements that obligate others to do something positive to assist you (positive rights). Some rights (natural rights, human rights) belong to everyone by nature or simply by virtue of being human; some rights (legal rights) belong to people by virtue of their membership in a particular political state; other rights (moral rights) are based in acceptance of a particular moral theory.

Rule. how we expect people to act unless they have a good reason for doing otherwise; people are blameworthy if they violate a moral rule.

Rule-orientation: view of ethics that classes similar acts into groups and develops general norms to cover all instances in the category

Rules: concrete and specific directives for conduct that derive from principles

Satisficing. A term utilitarians borrowed from economics to indicate how much utility we should try to create. Whereas maximizing utilitarians claim that we should strive to maximize utility, satisficing utilitarians claim that we need only try to produce enough utility to satisfy everyone. Itís analogous to the difference between taking a course with the goal of getting an "A" and taking it pass-fail.

Screening. Testing of a large number of individuals designed to identify those with a particular genetic trait, characteristic, or biological condition.

Self-Deception. A failure to make explicit, even to oneself, some truth about oneself (often oneís behavior). It may take the form of making up some rationalization for a behavior that is inconsistent with oneís sense of self or it may take the form of failing to take notice of some of the features of the situation when it would be appropriate to do so (this phenomenon is one that psychologists call "denial.") Self-deception is a bar to authenticity.

Situationism or situation ethic: act-oriented view of ethics; sees ethical analysis applying to individual cases; stresses personal responsibility for a decison in concrete moral contexts

Skepticism. There are two senses of this term. In ancient Greece, the skeptics were inquirers who were dedicated to the investigation of concrete experience and wary of theories that might cloud or confuse that experience. In modern times, skeptics have been wary of the trustworthiness of sense experience. Thus classical skepticism was skeptical primarily about theories, while modern skepticism is skeptical primarily about experience.

Standard of Care. The standard of care is the degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in the circumstance in question. In negligence law if a personís conduct falls below such standards, he may be liable in damages for injuries or damages resulting from his conduct. In professional malpractice cases, a standard of care is applied to measure the competence as well of the degree of care shown by the professionalís actions. A traditional standard for a practitioner is to "exercise the average degree of skill, care, and diligence exercised by members of the same profession (or specialty within that profession), practicing in the same or a similar locality in light of the present state of the profession" (Gillette v. Tucker). See Blackís Law Dictionary, 6th edition. 1404-5.

Subjective. having a reality or truth-value only in regard to the speaker him-/herself. My believing that something is wrong does not necessarily entail that something is REALLY and objectively wrong; I might merely think that way.

Subjectivism. An extreme version of relativism, which maintains that each personís beliefs are relative to that person alone and cannot be judged from the outside by any other person.

Subjects of Moral Worth. something that is deserving of moral protections; includes ordinarily all human beings between birth and death; in addition, the following are also subjects of moral worth in a way more limited than human beings between birth and death: human corpses, human fetuses, some animals in some contexts, the environment, art, culture. Variations are possible here. For example, if intelligence be made the dividing line between subjects of moral worth and subjects of pure instrumental value, then chimpanzees might be included while babies born brainless might not be.

Supererogatory. Literally, "above the call of duty." A supererogatory act is one that is morally good and that goes beyond what is required by duty. Some ethical theories, such as certain versions of utilitarianism, that demand that we always do the act that yields the most good have no room for supererogatory acts.

Teleology. the set of moral theories that justify questionable actions by appeal to an ultimate outcome: the ultimate outcome could be anticipated as good consequences or some for of self-actualization.

Theory. the foundations of the reasoning that supports a moral system. Moral theory is comparable to grammar, which is a system that you use intuitively to create language expressions, a system that tells you how language works when you do language analysis, and--for learners--how language (prestige dialect) ought to work.

Therapeutic Illusion. A condition under which research subjects falsely believe that taking part in a particular study will likely result in some direct therapeutic benefit for themselves.

Therapeutic Orphan. A label given to children by the drug development and pharmaceutical industry. This label refers to a concern that a fear of harming individual children by exposing them to research results in harming children as a class by undermining efforts to gain knowledge about how to better treat them.

Trade Secret. A device, method or formula that gives one an advantage over the competition and which must therefore be kept secret if it is to be of special value. It is legal to use reverse engineering to learn a competitorís trade secret. "Know how" concerning research procedures may function as something like a trade secret.

Trademark. An officially registered and legally restricted name, symbol or representation, the use of which is restricted to its owner.

Transcendental Argument. A type of argument, deriving from Kant, which seeks to establish the necessary conditions of the possibility of somethingís being the case. For example, we have to believe that we are free when we perform an action; thus belief in freedom is a necessary condition of the possibility of action.

Universal. applies to everyone in similar circumstances. Universal views are different from absolutist views in that universality is the likely result of the similarity of the human condition everywhere.

Utilitarianism. A moral theory that says that what is moral right is whatever produces the greatest overall amount of pleasure (hedonistic utilitarianism) or happiness (eudaimonistic utilitarianism). Some utilitarians (act utilitarians) claim that we should weigh the consequences of each individual action, while others (rule utilitarians) maintain that we should look at the consequences of adopting particular rules of conduct.

Utilitarianism: teleological ethic based on the principle of utility: one ought to act to maximize the greatest good for the greatest number

Value. What we choose or believe to be worthwhile or have merit. Values should be freely and thoughtfully chosen.

Value: in the moral sense, a quality (such as loyalty, truthfulness, or justice) that human beings esteem and toward which they direct their moral behaviour

Values. those things that express what people desire or want to avoid. Primary values are highly likely to be universally shared: For example, people want to avoid death--unless they are terrorists on a self-sacrifice mission; pain--unless they are masochists or act under psychological compulsions; disabilities--unless they want to be dismissed from active duty in the trenches; deprivations of freedoms or pleasures--unless they have some other reason or psychological compulsion. But, rankings of values differ among people. There are also aesthetic and religious values that have no necessary connection with ethics.

Virtue Ethics. the set of moral theories that justify exceptions to people following rules by appeal to what oneís moral hero might do. One might ask, for example: What would an extremely competent journalist who has great integrity do in this situation? You may also have seen the bumpersticker "WWJD." Since here Jesus is the moral hero, this is also an example of "virtue ethics."

Virtues and Vices. Positive and negative traits of moral character, such as honesty, kindness, or being a courageous or responsible person. Notice that these terms of moral evaluation are applied to people, rather than to their actions (like rights, obligations, and moral rules) or to the outcomes they seek to achieve (like responsibilities).

Whistle Blower. A person who takes a concern (such as a concern about safety, financial fraud, or mistreatment (of research animals) outside of the organization in which the abuse or suspected abuse is occurring and with which the whistle-blower is affiliated.


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