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Ethics, by definition, is the study of the norms that govern the behavior of individuals and of groups. The most granular consideration of ethics is in the realm of applied ethics, where specific norms—standards of behavior—are applied to specific situations so that people have guidance in how to be ethical.

The study of normative ethics focuses on the ethical principles and goals that are grounded in core values and provide a framework for applied ethics. The prioritization of ethical values results in four discrete families of ethical theories. The differences among them are based on whether the individual or the community as a whole is privileged or whether the decision-making approach of rationality or sensibility is preferred.

Metaethics moves the conversation up one level of abstraction to ...

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