Ethics and Morality

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Virtue ethics Pages: 3 (847 words) Published: January 20, 2014


Ethics and Morality Essay
ETH/316
Professor Tom Collins

Ethics and Morality Essay
The similarities and differences between ethical theories are based on the explanation of ethical principles from the views of an individual. There are three major ethical theories: virtue ethics, deontology, and utilitarianism ethics. Ethics is the beliefs of right and wrong in human action (Boylan, 2009). There are many theories that exist on how people come to believe what is the right and wrong decision. Virtue ethics judges by the character of a person instead of the action deviate from normal behavior. “…virtue ethics takes the long look at one’s character and is somewhat forgiving of an occasional slipup that is not in consonance with that person’s historical character” (Boylan, 2009, p.134). An individual moral reputation are taken into account when unusual behavior is displayed. The “slipup” can be overlooked if the moral reputation of the person is ethical overall. Virtue ethics has one weakness that shows it does not take in consideration for an individual’s moral character. Boylan, 2009 states, it is not enough to do a single “great action” and those who are known for doing so are not excellent. Utilitarianism suggest that an action is morally right when that action yields more total utility for the group than any other alternatives does (Boylan, 2009, p.153). Individuals that practice utilitarianism take into considerations the consequences and each rule. Utilitarianism can be divided in two theories; act and rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism is interpreted by the slogan “the greatest good for the greatest number” (Boylan, 2009, p.153) which each moral situation should be subjected to the utilitarian Act. This Act theory will benefit more people, but hurt another; benefits the majority. The rule utilitarianism is opposite of the Act utilitarianism. Boylan, 2009 states the rule utilitarianism is an improvement to utilitarianism....

References: Armstrong, W. (2011). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Consequentialism. Retrieved from
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism
Boylan, M. (2009). Basic ethics: Basic ethics in action (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson.
Pecorino, P. A. (2000). Utilitarianism. Retrieved from http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/socialsciences/ppecorino/INTRO_TEXT/Chapter%208%20Ethi cs/Utilitarianism.htm
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