The lines of distinction between meta ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics are often blurry

Meta ethics investigates where our ethical principles come from, and what they mean. They focus on issues of universal truths, the will of God, the role of reason in a judgment.
 Normative ethics takes on a more practical task, which is to arrive at moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct. This may involve articulating the good habits that we should acquire, the duties that we should follow, or the consequences of our behavior on others.
Finally, applied ethics involves examining specific controversial issues, such as abortion, infanticide, animal rights, or nuclear war.
Though the three branches may appear different from each other but they are co-related. Discussions in applied ethics try to resolve the issues using the conceptual tool of Meta ethics and Normative ethics.
These three concepts overlap for instance issue of abortion is an applied ethical topic since it involves a specific type of controversial behavior. But it also depends on more general normative principles, such as the right of self-rule and the right to life, which determine morality of procedure. Meta ethics concerns itself with questions like where these right come from do or what right human beings have.
Another issue is capital punishment though a forms part of applied ethics but normative principles like right of state over citizen’s life. Meta ethics concerns with whether a man has right to take away other human’s life.
Thus there are many such issues which are arising, whose ethical evaluation transcends the boundary of principles laid by Meta, Normative and Applied ethics.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"The lines of distinction between meta ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics are often blurry." Explain with the help of suitable examples. {150 words, 10 marks}

Published: September 30, 2017 | Modified:September 30, 2017

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