Pronunciation: (eth'iks), [key]
1. (used with a sing. or pl. v.) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
4. (usually used with a sing. v.) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions. Cf. axiological ethics, deontological ethics.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.