Normative Ethics

The branch of Ethical Theory which seeks to articulate and justify a rationally coherent moral system.

Moral systems are typically organized into three distinct groups:

  1. Consequentialism (or Teleological Ethics) - maintains that the rightness of an action depends solely upon the consequences of the actions,

  2. Deontological Ethics - maintains the rightness of an action is determined by some intrinsic feature of an action or moral agent, and

  3. Virtue (or Aretaic) Ethics - maintains that the rightness of an action is in some way determined by the character of the moral agent.

Falling under each of these divisions are specific moral theories like Utilitarianism , Egoism , Hedonism (under Consequentialism); Kantianism , Divine Command Theory , Existentialism (under Deontological Ethics), etc.

Click here for a flowchart of Ethical Theory.