Ethics is a normative discipline. In other words, it is prescriptive because it looks at how we should live rather than saying descriptively about how we live our lives. Descriptive ethics looks at how people think they should live their lives or how people do live their lives are questions for the disciples of anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Normative ethics is prescriptive in nature. “The Eskimos believe infanticide is morally acceptable” is a descriptive claim. “Infanticide is morally wrong” is a normative claim. We can agree that the Eskimos believe that infanticide is acceptable, but make the normative claim that they should not believe that it is.
Unlike some other topics, ethics is difficult to define. There is disagreement on what criteria determines whether an issue is ethical. But we can some things about ethics:
Ethics is a philosophical discipline that understands and analyzes issues of good, bad, right, wrong, just, and unjust. In essence, ethics has to do with how we should live our lives.