The History of Ethics

Searching for knowledge on the history of ethics returns mostly discourse on the development of philosophical thought about ethics. This is the history of a branch of philosophy, and philosophers reasoning of ethics, but it is not the history of how ethics has been applied in everyday life by common folk.

We can learn from studying the philosophy because it both echoes commonplace application of ethics and offers leadership in the area. Ethics is a subject tightly entwined with religion, medicine, security, politics and even science since both science and ethics involve prediction and analysis.

Here is some documentation of the progression of the History of Science and Technology. – [hackingtheuniverse.com] From sources like this, we can extract some historical information about the progression of ethical development within philosophy:

-0600 – Laozi (Lao-Tzu)
-0551 – Confucius
-0469 – Socrates
-0460 – Hippocrates
-0425 – Plato
-0385 – Aristotle
-0332 – Zeno
-0279 – Chrysippus
-0004 – Seneca
0055 – Epictetus
0121 – Marcus Aurelius
0131 – Galen
1509 – Telesio
1588 – Hobbes
1596 – Descartes
1646 – Leibniz
1711 – Hume
1724 – Kant
1748 – Bentham
1806 – Mill
1859 – Dewey
1872 – Russell
1873 – Moore

This is a start, but in order to become meaningful, it needs to also include some means of rating how each individual applied ethics in terms of:

  • Awareness of scope – moving outward through a series of concentric circles that begins with SELF at the center
  • Awareness of depth – layers of details within each circle
  • Awareness of quality – assurance that the assessment of ethical factors has been done correctly

As this map is filled in, it will be interesting to see if “ripple effects” across cultures and societies can be determined and what significance that may reveal.

SEE ALSO:
A Singularity of Morality
Artificial Ethics
Ethics is the Best Measure of Civilization
Ethics of Groups
Vector Analysis of Ethics

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