Ethics branches are 4 include Descriptive ethics, Normative ethics, Meta-ethics and Applied ethics. They have been discussed in brief here:
- Descriptive Ethics: It deals with what people actually believe to be right or wrong, and accordingly holds up the human actions acceptable or not acceptable or punishable under a custom or law. However, customs and laws keep changing from time to time and from society to society. The societies have structured their moral principles as per changing time and have expected people to behave accordingly. Due to this, descriptive ethics is also called comparative ethics because it compares the ethics or past and present; ethics of one society and other. It also takes inputs from other disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, sociology and history to explain the moral right or wrong.
- Normative Ethics: It is the branch of ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking. Normative ethics is distinct from meta-ethics because normative ethics examines standards for the rightness and wrongness of actions, while meta-ethics studies the meaning of moral language and the metaphysics of moral facts. Normative ethics is also distinct from descriptive ethics, as the latter is an empirical investigation of people’s moral beliefs. It was the study of what makes actions right and wrong. These theories offered an overarching moral principle one could appeal to in resolving difficult moral decisions.
- Meta Ethics: It the branch of philosophical ethics that asks how we understand, know about, and what we mean when we talk about what is right and what is wrong. Meta-ethics has always accompanied philosophical ethics. For example, Aristotle implies that less precise knowledge is possible in ethics than in other spheres of inquiry, and he regards ethical knowledge as depending upon habit and acculturation in a way that makes it distinctive from other kinds of knowledge.The ontology of ethics is about value-bearing things or properties, i.e. the kind of things or stuff referred to by ethical propositions. Non-descriptivists and non-cognitivists believe that ethics does not need a specific ontology since ethical propositions do not refer. This is known as an anti-realist position. Realists, on the other hand, must explain what kind of entities, properties or states are relevant for ethics, how they have value, and why they guide and motivate our actions.
- Applied Ethics: It deals with the philosophical examination, from a moral standpoint, of particular issues in private and public life which are matters of moral judgment. This branch of ethics is most important for professionals in different walks of life including doctors, teachers, administrators, rulers and so on.There are six key domains of applied ethics viz. Decision ethics, Professional ethics, Clinical Ethics, Business Ethics, Organizational ethics and social ethics. It deals with the rightness or wrongness of social,, economical, cultural, religious issues also. For example, euthanasia, child labour, abortion etc.