Ethics

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CONSEQUENTIALISM

Consequentialist morality is built on or concerned with consequences of an action (Thiroux J & Krasemann K 2012). This theory believes that an act is not necessarily considered to be ethically right or wrong, but rather is judged to be morally applicable because of the consequences its position creates (Lecture Week 2). So, from a consequentialist viewpoint, a morally right action is one that creates the best overall result. For example, a consequentialist may claim that lying is wrong because of the negative consequences it may produce like hurting someone’s feelings, however in certain foreseeable circumstances, where it could save somebody from getting into trouble, a consequentialist may consider lying acceptable.

There are two major theories associated with consequentialism – Utilitarianism and Ethical Egoism. Although both theories believe that an act is right or wrong depends only on the results of that act, they differ over on who should benefit from that act.

Utilitarianism argues that a moral act is considered when it produces a desirable outcome or the greatest good that benefits all persons involved (Thiroux J & Krasemann K 2012). Generally, utilitarianism is found in two forms: Act utilitarianism and Rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism maintains that everyone should act in a way, which will bring about the greater good over bad for everyone concerned and affected by the act (Thiroux J & Krasemann K 2012). It takes into account the whole situation, however exceptional, and develops a solution with the greatest benefit for everyone that is implicated at that time. For example, an act utilitarian, upon assessment of the situation, may decide to tell a lie at a certain point in the process, however immoral it may seem, if it meant everyone else will benefit from it and get a positive outcome. Rule utilitarianism on the other hand, bases moral rules on their consequences. An act is considered morally right if it...
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