Authored by: Mark Hayse

The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533324
eBook ISBN: 9780203114261
Adobe ISBN: 9781136290510


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Armchair philosophers often use the words ethics and morality interchangeably. Indeed, the overlapping concerns of each word render their meanings ambiguous. Nevertheless, the two words are not coterminous. Often, morality—from the Latin moralis or mores—refers to particular values and practices in one’s personal, social, and cultural life. In contrast, ethics—from the Greek ethos—often refers to the systems, methods, and schools of thought by which persons come to determine what is moral and what is not. In other words, morality tends to address the concrete while ethics tends to explore the abstract. Morality frequently presents and recommends a code of conduct. Ethics presents philosophers with a process for the critical and theoretical assessment of moral claims. For the purposes of this discussion, morality will refer to the “what” of values (prescriptive content) while ethics will refer to “how” persons critically assess those values (descriptive process).

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