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Abstract: The terms "amoral," "nonmoral," and "immoral" are characterized for our study of ethics. These terms differ somewhat from their ordinary language use.

I. How do we distinguish between amoral issue and a nonmoral issue?

A. There is certainly a wide disagreement over the use of the terms.

1. Is littering on campus a moral issue?

2. Is which shoe youput on first in the morning a moral issue?

B. How we answer these questions depends in part upon the distinctions we make among the meanings of the terms "moral," "immoral," "amoral," and"nonmoral."

1. Nonmoral actions or events: those areas of interest where moral categories cannot be applied.

a. Almost all examples involving human intention, volition, orbehavior are described in terms of moral categories, ceteris paribus, since such examples involve the possibility of helping or harming oneself or others.

b. For example, wonderingwhether one should eat grapefruit, wear socks of a specific shade of color, or part your hair on the left side of the head are all usually considered nonmoral issues. Yet there are circumstances wheresuch actions could have moral consequences.

c. Generally speaking, statements in the sciences (so-called "factual statements") are considered to be about nonmoral issues as well.2. Immoral actions or events: those areas of interest where moral categories do apply and of are such a kind as to be evil, sinful, or wrong according to some code or theory of ethics.a. Telling a lie is c.p. an immoral action.

b. An immoral action then can be defined as a violation of a rule or code of ethics.

c. Strictly speaking,on the one hand, an action could be considered immoral on the basis of one rule, code, or theory and, on the other hand, be considered moral or even nonmoral on another rule, code, or theory. Such...
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