The latest lecture of Andrey Velikanov’s course Anamorphic Encyclopaedia is devoted to various approaches to ethics.
Unlike the laws of nature, human-made laws and norms vary from one culture to another and change with time, and only human reason can help us explain the differences. Trying to do that, philosophers have devised a number of ethical theories. So, for example, a deontologist would not lie because it is prohibited by the rules; a consequentialist because it might lead to trouble; and a proponent of virtue ethics because it contradicts his moral beliefs. Kant came up with the idea of ethical universalism, while Nietzsche argued that the will to power justifies the dominance of the strongest.
‘Hence also it is no easy task to be good. For in everything it is no easy task to find the middle, e.g. to find the middle of a circle is not for every one but for him who knows; so, too, any one can get angry- that is easy- or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for every one, nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble.’ (Aristotle. The Nicomachean Ethics)