Dictionary Source

These definitions come from the Funk & Wagnal Dictionary 1895 Edition.


  1. The science of human duty;
    the science of right and of right character and conduct;
    moral science;
    also, a treatise on the science;
    as the ethics of Aristotle.
    see:  duty, moral, right, virtue
    1. The Science of ethics treats
      1. of the nature of the moral agent as an intelligent and free being possessed of a conscience: and
      2. the nature of virtue and of the right in conduct, actions, and aims, embracing the consideration of the supreme good or end, the supreme rule, and the ultimate ground or obligation
    2. Theoretical ethics, in its application to man, aims to ascertain the principles of the ideal moral manhood and life.
    3. Practical ethics, makes application of these principles in directing man to the attainment of the ideal character and life.
  2. The principles at the foundation of the right regulation of conduct.
    1. The principles underlying the obligations of moral being universally;
      moral principles:
      as, the requirements of ethics are absolute.
    2. The principles respecting right and duty of a philosophical system, school, or leader;
      as, the ethics of Hagalianism.
    3. Any body of principles or rules concerning moral obligations, whether true or false, that is intended to regulate practice in any particular sphere of activity;
      as, medical ethics.
  3. The moral sciences generally, including, besides moral science proper, the various branches of political and social science, of law (civil, political, and international), of jurisprudence, etc. [plural of ethic]