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Defining Ethics


The definition of "ethics" is somewhat consistent from scholar to scholar. According to the Josephson Institute, ethics is defined as:

Standards of conduct that indicate how one should behave based on moral duties and virtues.

However, the debate comes into play when determining what these standards of conduct consist of. Are ethics a personal decision? Do universal ethics really exist? Are ethical obligations determined by yourself, your employer, the public relations profession, society? Each of these issues is debated among scholars.

Traditionally, ethical systems have been categorized into one of three main categories:

Definition
Teleological
Deontological
Situational