Ethics is the branch of philosophy that seeks to determine how one ought to act in a particular situation. That is to say, if focuses on how one might be able to determine right or good action in any given situation.
Different schools of ethical thought arise from different areas. Religion often plays a central role in ethics. The ethics of most people come directly from their religious upbringing, or lack thereof. Many people believe that the best forms are at the very least derived from religion, if not identical to the teachings of the religion they subscribe to.
People also derive codes of ethics from several other sources, among them being personal values, personal gain, and what things harm other people. There are many philosophical schools of ethics. Some meta-ethicists deny the objectivity of right and wrong, but more rational schools of thought generally prevail.
In legal terminology, ethics means relating to moral action and conduct; professionally right; conforming to professional standards.
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