Chapter 02: Ethical Theories: Their Meaning for Nursing
Keatings: Ethical & Legal Issues in Canadian Nursing, 4th Edition
1. How may ethics be best described?
a. The philosophical study of morality
b. The process of value clarification
c. The beliefs and norms of a society
d. The application of ethical principles to moral issues
A Correct! Ethics, the philosophical study of morality, is a comprehensive
approach to the systematic exploration of what is morally right and wrong.
B Incorrect—Value clarification is a process through which individuals come to
understand the values they hold and the relative importance of each of these
values and hence come to understand the various and shared perspectives they
C Incorrect—The beliefs and norms of a society influence ethical perspectives and
are explored in the study of ethics.
D Incorrect—Applying ethical principles to moral issues helps provide frameworks
for ethical decision making and is a component of the study of ethics.
DIF: Cognitive level: Knowledge
2. Which of the following is the focus of normative ethics?
a. The analysis of morality without taking a moral position
b. The question of what is right or wrong
c. Explaining how moral attitudes and beliefs differ from person to person
d. Distinguishing between what is normal and what is not
A Incorrect—This is a focus of descriptive ethics.
B Correct! Normative ethics focuses on the reasons, principles, or arguments that
guide decisions about what is right and wrong. Basic principles and virtues are
identified to guide morality and provide coherent, systematic, and justifiable
answers to moral questions.
C Incorrect—A person’s differing moral attitudes and beliefs help to shape his or
her personal values; and influence views about what is right or wrong.
D Incorrect—People’s ideas of normal and abnormal could be based on values, but
these distinctions are not necessarily ethical.
DIF: Cognitive level: Comprehension