From the philosophy classes I have taken I have gotten the impression that there seem to be three major schools of thought in ethics, namely: utilitarianism/consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics.

Would it be fair to characterise the field of ethics in this way?

  • Does this answer your question? do virtue ethics, deontology, and consequentialism all just assume their sets of preferences?
    – user14511
    Dec 6, 2022 at 6:20
  • 1
    Clasically, if speaking about branches of ethics in the sense of practical philosophy, I'd rather expect moral philosophy, applied ethics, and metaethics as branches. consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics are the three major kinds of moral theories.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Dec 6, 2022 at 9:50
  • Is care ethics consequentialist, deontological, or virtue-theoretic? (Offhand, it has some virtue-theoretic qualities, but I haven't studied the subject enough to say more with much confidence.) Dec 6, 2022 at 16:54
  • Yes, there are three main families of moral theories in normative ethics: consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Utilitarianism is a subset of consequentialism that affirms wellbeing as the sole good to maximize. Dec 26, 2022 at 22:30


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