Week 1 Ethics Essay
October 8, 2012
Week 1 Ethics Essay
Ethics is the basis of many theories and debates. It is the basis of deterring what is right and wrong based on one’s beliefs. Topics about ethics often bring about in-depth discussions about individual characteristics concerning virtues, values, and moral concepts. The Virtue Theory, Utilitarianism, and Deontological Ethics are theories that involve those aspects of ethics. These theories have commonalities; however, there are differences in the theories as well.
The Virtue theory often refers to character or ethics. The word “virtue” comes from the Greek word for excellence. This theory suggests one should strive for excellence or perfection. There is a strong correlation between this theory and the U.S. Army ...view middle of the document...
It is very similar to the “democratic beliefs the United States was built upon” (Boylan, 2009). Unfortunately, this theory bases one’s morality on the good of a group. Sometimes the good of an individual should take precedence. For example, at one point people believed earth was flat; until an individual decided to take a chance and prove the world wrong. This goes against the utilitarianism theory because the world was happy and content thinking the world was flat.
Deontology suggests that one bases their actions upon principles. It commands one to act or do something simply because it feels right, not because the consequences will be good. For example, without thinking about any consequences of their action, which could result in being eaten by a near-by alligator, a person jumps into a lake to save someone else that appears to be drowning. One may view this reaction as deontological because the act is based upon a principle and not a consequence.
All three theories address ethics and morals in many aspects. However deontology and utilitarianism are opposite on their reasoning. Utilitarianism is consequentially based whereas deontology is principle based. Virtue theory is a combination of the afore-mentioned theories because it takes the values and morals and combines them to develop an individual’s character over time.
Without some form of ethics or morality, there would be chaos among humans. Having standards or morals to live by and guide people to do what is right or wrong is necessary to coexist. Many other theories not discussed are ethically based and address the same moral concepts as virtue, utilitarianism, and deontology. What is most important is to take the aspects of each theory that apply to one’s own life use them to become a better individual.
Boylan, M. (2009). Basic Ethics (2nd ed.). Chapter 11.pg 2-4: Prentice Hall.