I have read some about ethics, and I would like the most compressible possible taxonomy of ethics. Is to note that by my previous research I have identified the following dichotomies:

  1. Dentological/Consecuentalism.

    Even I no believe in purely Dentological nor Consequentalist theories of ethics, I think the dichotomy is useful in determining the nature of a ethical theory.

  2. Actor-Centric/Ideal-Centric.

    This is my idea, this dichotomy would differentiate of theories like Utilitarism and Altruism of theries like Marxian ethics where the olny thing that matters is that the revolution is completed therefore nothing is unethical is for the revolution.

  3. Regulated/Unregulated.

    This dichotomy comes of when a Consequential Theory does a exception that invalidates the application of the consequential rule in some explicitly mentioned cases.

  4. Realist/Unrealist.

    If the theory is strictly non relativist or no.

  5. Fog of war.

    This applies to any non strictly odontological theory that implements a doctrine that the consequences should must be able to be predicted reasonably.

  6. Eudomonia/Non-Eudomonia

    Eudomonia is the centre of the theory

  7. Theological.

    If the theory is theologial.

How this taxonomy can be improved and there is a comprensible taxonomy of ethical theories (and if so show the taxonomy)?

  • For philosophers in the analytic tradition who are keen on such a taxonomy, the broadest is probably teleological vs. deontological. Somewhat on the same level are the three slopes of Parfit's mountain, or/then consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Your other distinctions crop up too, so besides the ambient vagueness of ethical theorizing, you're tracking a lot of the dialectic fairly well. Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 16:23
  • @KristianBerry So you are saying me that I should consult Parfit's work? Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 1:09
  • @ErdelvonMises Check out "Sorting out Ethics" by R.M.Hare and references thereupon.
    – user14511
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 4:23

1 Answer 1


A few observations...

Moral realism divides between moral naturalism and non-naturalism. For Plato and G E Moore, moral truths are not facts about the physical natural world, nor are they reducible to them. On the other hand, utilitarianism, at least in some of its varieties, is a form of naturalism.

I would not conflate moral relativism with moral antirealism. The antirealist holds that moral judgments are not statements of fact. On this view, moral judgments are speech acts. They might be thought of as expressions of an attitude towards some act or behaviour: this position is called emotivism or expressivism and was defended by A J Ayer. Alternatively, moral judgments might be thought of as prescriptions: a position defended by R M Hare. There are other possibilities too, such as Simon Blackburn's quasi-realism. But an antirealist is not committed to moral relativism. The relativist typically holds that something is morally right or wrong only in relation to the moral code of some society or group.

Your categories do not cover moral skepticism, of which there are several varieties, e.g. the error theory of John Mackie.

  • Is no the original Formulation of Utilitarianism a form of naturalism? Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 2:58
  • Yes, Bentham's utilitarianism attempts in effect to reduce morality to that which produces the greatest happiness in the greatest number of people, so provided we think of happiness itself as a naturalistic state of affairs, then that would be an example of moral naturalism.
    – Bumble
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 3:17
  • And how is possible the existence of no naturalistic forms of utilitarianism? Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 3:22
  • Arguably, Mill's version is not, since he prefers to speak of the greatest good, rather than the greatest happiness. 'Good' is itself a moral term, so this does not fully reduce morality to naturalistic terms.
    – Bumble
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 4:25
  • Good is no a economical term?. What is the relation of the greatest good with utility? Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 4:32

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