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Ethics is a science.

It is a complete and systematically arranged body of data which relate to the

morality of human conduct ; and it presents the reasons which show these data
to be true.

Ethics presents data which directly imply and indicate directions for human

Ethics is a science of human conduct. By human conduct we mean only such

human activity and is deliberate and free. A deliberate and free act, an act
performed with advertence and motive, an act determined (i.e, chosen and given
existence) by the free will, is called a human act.

Acts performed by the human beings without advertence, or without the exercise
of free choice, are called acts of man, but they are not human acts in the technical
sense of that expression which is here employed. Ethics treats of human acts;
human acts make human conduct : Ethics is therefore a science of human

Ethics is the science of morality of human conduct. Human conduct is free,

knowing, deliberate human activity. Such activity is either in agreement or
disagreement with the dictates of reason is called morality. Ethics studies human
activity to determine what it must be to stand in harmony with the dictates of
reason. Hence, Ethics deals with the morality of the human conduct.

The name Ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos, which means “ a
characteristic way of acting.” Now the characteristic mark of human conduct is
found in the free and deliberate use of the will : in a word, this characteristic is
found in human acts. Thus we perceive that the name Ethics is suitably employed
to designate the science of human acts, of human conduct. --- The latin word mos
(stem: mor-) is the equivalent of the Greek ethos. Hence we understand why
Ethics is sometimes called Moral Science or Moral Philosophy.

2. Object
Every science has a Material Object and a Formal Object.
The Material Object is the subject-matter of the science : the thing, or things, with
which the science deals . The Material Object of Ethics is human acts, that is to
say, human conduct.

The Formal Object of a science is the special way, aim, or point of view that the
science employs in studying or dealing with its Material object. Now Ethics studies
human acts (its Material Object) to discover what these must be in order to agree
with the dictates of reason. Hence the special aim and point of view of Ethics is
the right morality, or rectitude. We assert, then, that the Formal Object of Ethics
is the rectitude of human acts.