2. Ethical ideals are based upon the nature of objects. Ethical judgments are categorical imperatives. They are themselves based upon the nature of objects for which ethics has to go to philosophy.
3. Philosophy expounds ethical assumptions. The three self-evident postulates of ethics arc God, freedom of will and the immortality of the soul. The description of their nature and the analysis of their validity is the subject of philosophy.
4. Philosophy details the relation of man to the world. Ethics treats man as a self-conscious being, not a natural fact. Thus, for the discussion of the relation between man and God, world and society, ethics has to turn to philosophy.
5. Philosophy systematizes both facts and values. Ethics being a science of values is related to philosophy because the latter systematizes both facts and values.
6. Many philosophical problems come under ethics. Ethics has to explain many philosophical problems.
The major ones are as follows:
(a) Nature of self:
When the opinions concerning the nature of the self change, the ethical principles also change hedonism believes that the self is sensuous. Rationalism believes it to be rational while perfectionism assimilates both passion and reason in the self.
(b) The Immortality of the soul:
The immortality of the soul is a self-evident postulate in ethics. If soul is mortal, then there is doubt in the achievement of ethical ideals.
(c) Faith in Rebirth:
Ethical ideal is very high and human life is very limited. Hence the complete attainment of the ethical ideal in one life is difficult. Thus ethicists imagine many lives so that the ethical ideal may be attained. This is another major postulate of ethics. This argument, for the necessity of rebirth in ethics, has been advanced by the German philosopher Kant.
(d) Relation between individual and Society:
What is the relation of man to society? Is man a part of society or does he have an independent existence? The difference in opinion about this relation has led to differences in ethical principles. Philosophy discusses this relation between individual and society.
(e) Relation between soul and world:
Is the world governed ethically? Is there a chance of ethical progress in it does it have some ethical aim? Ethics believes that the world is a field for ethical improvement. It depends upon philosophy for the validity of this faith.
(f) Existence and unity of God:
Ethics ponders over such philosophical problems as—whether God is a treasure house of ethical qualities or is it beyond good and bad, whether ethics can stand without him for a foundation, whether ethical ideal is subjective or objective.
It is due to the foregoing reasons that some philosophers or scholars believe it to be a part of philosophy. As Mackenzie puts it— “It is indeed only a part of philosophy because it considers the experience of life only from the point of view of will or activity. It does not, except indirectly, and consider man as allowing or enjoying but as doing i.e., pursuing an end. But it considers man’s whole significance of his activity in seeking it.’
Ethics is a normative science:
But even then ethics is a normative science, not a part of philosophy. There are the following differences between the two:
1. Difference of Scope:
The scope of philosophy is more comprehensive than that of ethics. It is concerned with God, world and soul. But ethics is concerned solely with man’s character and conduct. Philosophy seeks for the cause of the world and the universal good which may be the aim of the whole creation. On the other hand, ethics limits its search to the human ideals or good.
2. Difference of Nature:
Philosophy is purely a mental study while ethics, although a mental study, effects practical life.
3. Difference of basis:
The basis of philosophy is reason and logic. Ethics is centered on man’s activities. It lays greater emphasis on the volition aspect than on the knowledge aspect.