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Ethics Essay

Essay by   •  December 23, 2012  •  Essay  •  605 Words (3 Pages)  •  931 Views

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There are similarities and differences between virtue theory, utilitarianism, and deontological ethics. Each theory has it's own ideas regarding ethics and morality regarding the individual and society. Consequences and benefits differ with each theory. Virtue theory states that humans have virtues for the sake of what is good and right and these virtues are the supreme human good. Virtues drive our tendencies for behavior and control how we feel and interpet things. Living a good life is living a virtuous life within society. A person's actions are the direct results and reflection of an individual's morals and virtues.

Utilitarian theory is concerned with the maximum benefit or good for the greatest number of people. The outcome with the greatest benefits for greatest numbers is always the desired result. However, the greatest good for the majority should not come at the expense of harming the minority. The minority may have to endure some individual sacrifice so that the greatest numbers in society can realize the greatest good. Deontology is concerned with the meaning behind ethical decisions and conduct instead of end results or outcome. It looks at how an individual is obligated to act in terms of right and wrong conduct. It is the individual's duty and obligation to follow the law and it is acceptable to harm some people for the greater good and benefit.

Utilitarian theory is less concerned with the individual because all that matters is an outcome the benefits the most people. It focuses more on actions of the majority to create the greatest good and outcome. However, there is always a minority and those people will not always benefit under this system. The majority needs to have good values and morals for society to flourish and benefit. Virtue and deontology theories have more focus on the individual and their actions. The focus is on an individual's duty or virtues to do their part to benefit society and the greater good. Individuals do not all posses the good qualities, morals and virtues. No two individuals are alike and all have different virtues and weaknesses. All individuals also do not feel the need or obligation to act in ways that benefit society and the greatest good. There are always selfish interests that come first and in some cases that can be all that matters. Deontology's duty to do what benefits society can be a direct reflection of the quality of a given society and that can be good or bad.

I would have to say based on my personal morals and ethics, the theory I most closely follow in my life is the virtue theory with some qualities of deontology. Virtue theory is the whether a person's actions express good character, morals, and virtues. Moral virtues are admirable character traits that can lead to social harmony, they enable us to act in accordance with reason, and to have the right intentions that benefit others. I also feel a

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