Ethics is that standard of morality in which certain actions are right and other actions are wrong. Ethics is not something subjective, there is a very fine line between a moral judgement and a preference. A preference is determined by likes and dislikes while morality says something is right or wrong not because I like it or do not like it but because the character of the action is good or bad within itself. Ethics is a matter of fact by definition. If ethics ever becomes subjective then it would be in contradiction to it's own definition, would cease to exist, and would then become merely preferential. If Ethics is nothing more than preference then no deference should be made between stealing my neighbors TV and picking out what color to paint my room or between killing my parents and picking out what to eat for dinner. If Ethics turns out to be merely preference, then rape becomes a matter of taste.
Ethics, being a matter of fact, does not mean that we as people know exactly what those facts are. We differ one person to another on what we think morality is. On what is morally good and what is morally evil. There has also been many philosophies of ethics to help determine what is good and what is bad. These philosophies are not to pigeon-toe morality but they build a framework for moral decisions to be made
Utilitarianism says that what is good is that which has the most utility, or that which brings about the most happiness.
Egoism says that the utmost good is self-actualization. To know oneself and to free oneself from all restrictions.
Cognitive development is the psychological idea that morality is merely a part of human development and is a matter of maturity. This is not a full blown theory but it has a lot to say about what morality is.
Pluralism says morality is subjective to what group you belong to. Pluralism says morality can be defined by your social status, your race, gender, sexual preference, or religion (among other things).
Ethical Relativism says morality is subjective.
Ethical Realism or Heirarchicalism says ethics depends on universal norms. The difference is that Ethical realism says that man is inherently evil and must choose the better of two evils while Heirarchicalism says that man is inherently good and must choose the better of the two goods.
Legalistic Moralism says that good is always good and evil is always evil and it never changes. This usually means it is dependent upon some higher being that morality is anchored in.
Situational Ethics says that the good or bad of an action is determined by the situation it is found in. Is it always bad to lie? What if by lying you save a life?
Then there is the idea somewhere between Legalistic morality and Situational ethics. Good is always good and bad is always bad, but there is room for innocence. And my question for one who asks do you lie to save a life is, what choices were made beforehand that led to that choice between lying or allowing someone to die? Innocence can only be judged by the heart, and what you believe about Ethics can only be decided by you.