Formal ethics is a formal logical system for describing and evaluating the form as opposed to the content of ethical principles. Formal ethics was introduced by Harry J. Gensler, in part in his 1990 logic textbook Symbolic Logic: Classical and Advanced Systems, but was more fully developed and justified in his 1996 book Formal Ethics.
Formal ethics is related to ethical formalism in that its focus is the forms of moral judgments, but the exposition in Formal Ethics makes it clear that Gensler, unlike previous ethical formalists, does not consider formal ethics to be a complete ethical theory (such that the correct form would be necessary and sufficient for an ethical principle to be "correct"). In fact, the theorems of formal ethics could be seen as a largest common subset of most widely recognized ethical theories, in that none of its axioms (with the possible exception of rationality) is controversial among philosophers of ethics.
Other articles related to "formal ethics, formal":
... Formal ethics has four axioms in addition to the axioms of predicate and modal logic ... These axioms (with the possible exception of Rationality, see below) are largely uncontroversial within ethical theory ...
... Kant, for example, has been criticized for defining morality in terms of the formal feature of being a "universal law", and then attempting to derive from this formal ... Gensler's relatively recent (circa 1996) theory of formal ethics ... Formal ethics is similar to ethical formalism in that it focuses on formal features of moral judgments, but is distinct in that the system of formal ethics is explicitly (and intentionally ...
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