Ethics, Moral Life and the Body: Sociological Perspectives by Rhonda M. Shaw

By Rhonda M. Shaw

Shaw addresses the 'ethical flip' in modern sociological considering, via exploring the contribution of sociology and the social sciences to bioethical debates approximately morality and tissue trade practices.

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Aligned to but relatively autonomous from institutions are public discourses, which Zigon states do not always support institutional values. While institutional morality is somewhat akin to official ideology, he suggests that public discourses of morality are the result of the everyday dialogical interactions between individual persons and various groups. These discourses, which are both formal and informal, and are present in the media, protest, philosophical discourse, literature, morality stories, art, and parental teachings (Zigon 2008: 163; 2009: 259), can provide a dissenting or alternative voice to institutional power.

Vardy and Grosch (1994) make the salient point that when we blur morality into ethics, we gloss over pertinent distinctions between these two terms, and by believing their meanings to be equivalent we limit our understanding of the field. Discursive polyvocality Finally, it is important to note that the meaning of the terms ethics and morality vary not only historically but also across discourses. Discursive variations are apparent between continental and analytical philosophy, as well as within those broad traditions.

As far as contemporary philosophical usage is concerned, descriptive ethics is the factual investigation of moral conduct and beliefs. It seeks an accurate, objective account of the actual moral behaviour or beliefs of particular persons or groups that exist at a given point in time. In order to do this, proponents of descriptive ethics use scientific techniques, such as qualitative or quantitative research methods, to study how people reason and act. The French sociologist Émile Durkheim distinguished his sociology of morals, as he called it, from ethics in this way.

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