Manus Charleton writes essays and fiction. His work has been published in Irish Pages, A Journal of Contemporary Writing, Dublin Review of Books, Studies, an Irish Quarterly Review, on RTE’s Brainstorm website, and on the Religion and Ethics website of the Australian National Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
He studied philosophy in University College Dublin in the late 1960s and early 70s. From 1980 to 2012 he worked as a lecturer in the now (since 2022) Sligo campus of Atlantic Technological University (ATU). He taught Communications initially, followed by Ethics, Politics, and Morality & Social Policy on the Social Care degree, and Ethics on a Masters in Business Administration.
He wrote the textbook Ethics for Social Care in Ireland: Philosophy and Practice (2nd. edition 2014). See side panel. And has also been published in the Journal of Social Work Practice and the European Journal of Social Education.
Ethics and Philosophy
As a subject of study in itself, ethics comes within philosophy. One of the central questions philosophy explores is the understanding of what it means to be good or to do the right thing. Within ethical or moral philosophy attempts are made to establish a basis for values and principles to guide behaviour in practice.
See ‘Some Thoughts on Moral Philosophy Now’ under ‘About Ethics’ in the ‘Ethics’ page, link above.
Home Page Quote
Thick and Thin Moral Terms
‘Perhaps the clearest example of how language can be at once descriptive and value-loaded is the case of what philosophers have come to call thick ethical concepts. Think of words such as ‘friendly’, ‘mean’, ‘aggressive’, ‘rude’, ‘impatient’, ‘brutal’ and so on, and notice how these terms evaluate behaviour positively or negatively at the same time as they describe it. Thick ethical concepts are named by contrast with thin ethical concepts such as ‘right’ and ‘should’ and ‘ought’. These highly abstract terms are almost purely evaluated and don’t seem to describe any specific actions.’ (‘Wrestling with relativism’, Daniel Callcut, published in Aeon in 2023, edited by Nigel Warburton, available on Arts & Letters Daily.
See also especially a related Martha Nussbaum quote in the ‘Archives’ link above under the heading Coping with Competing Challenges and Pressures.