Imagine a procedure whereby you could rid yourself of troubling memories. Suppose that you could have particular people or traumatic events erased from your mind. This is the basis for Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where just such a procedure helps rid tormented souls of the memories of their lost loves. If the science-fiction like technology shown in Eternal Sunshine was available, ought we to use it? Under what circumstances, if any, would we be justified in erasing our memories?
Ethics, or moral philosophy, can be divided into three related areas: Meta-Ethics, Normative Ethics, and Applied Ethics. Meta-ethics addresses questions about the nature of ethics itself. For example, ‘Is morality subjective or objective?’ is a meta-ethical question which concerns the nature of morality itself. Normative Ethics focuses on the ethical standards (norms) on which moral conduct is based. As such, we might ask whether the rightness and wrongness of an act determined its consequences or whether we should always act in accordance with duty. Finally, Applied Ethics applies philosophical theory to practical issues. It addresses questions such as ‘Is abortion permissible?’, ‘Is there a distinction between killing and letting die?’, and ‘’Are all animals equal?’.