Consequentialism, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics
The philosophies of consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics are guidelines for decision making that utilize very different theories of how an ethical dilemma should be approached. Consequentialism is a philosophy that asks whether or not the end justifies the means. “In other words, an act and therefore a decision is ethical if its favorable consequences outweigh its negative consequences” (Brooks, 2007, p. 329). Deontology, on the other hand, uses the principle of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you don’t want someone to lie to you, you should not lie to others (Brooks, 2007, p. 331). Virtue ethics are more inherent to the character of the person making the decision and are considered to be the moral fiber of a person. “Dispositions that are often cited as virtues include: honesty, integrity, enlightened self-interest, compassion, fairness, impartiality, generosity, humility, and modesty” (Brooks, 2007, p. 333).
In the case of a mayor trying to decide whether or not to allow a new developer to come to town because doing so will cause a loss of jobs and displaced senior citizens, the consequentialism view proposes the good of bring hundreds of jobs and economic growth outweighs the loss of a few jobs and senior center. I believe this is an ethical business decision because it is taking into consideration the good of the entire town. The senior center can be moved to another location, whereas the new development cannot. The deontology and virtue ethics philosophy, however, propose the development not be allowed. Morally, I do not disagree, as they are stating loyalty to the senior citizens is more important than increasing revenue within the town; however, in regards to business ethics, I do not agree. I believe the mayor has a responsibility to the citizens of the town to support growth and bring new jobs for everyone.
In the scenario of...