One day, the subway watchman asked me what philosophy is. This type of question tends to embarrass everyone, including philosophers. Fortunately, I have an answer ready to satisfy the uninitiated: philosophy is the rational study of things that science does not study. I say this because both philosophy and science are means of rationally seeking the truth, but they are different ways of doing so. The definition I use necessarily follows from this. If it’s rational, but not science, it’s philosophy. The watchman was satisfied. Then I gave examples of things that philosophy studies but science does not: metaphysics, logic, epistemology, theory of knowledge, ethics, aesthetics, art and politics. Of course I didn’t use these names (I said “God”, “good and evil”, “pleasure and pain”, among others). And this text is about one of these objects of philosophy: ethics.

Ethics is the part of philosophy concerned with right individual action…

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