Ethics and Moral Agent

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What are Ethics?
University of Phoenix
ETH/316
July 2, 2012

What are ethics and why are they important to have? Personally, my ethics are the standards or rules governing they way I live my life and make my decisions. In order to understand your own ethics, it is important to take a look at what you believe and then think about what your reaction would be if those beliefs were to be challenged. Ethics govern our thought process. When a problem arises, the solution is based on your ethics. There are three different theories to ethics that need to be considered in order to understand how you base your decisions.

First, deontological ethics is the position that judges the morality of an action based on the actions adherence to a rule or set of rules. It is often defined as a duty or obligation because the rules often bind you to your duty. Second, Virtue ethics describe the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, such as a belief in God. This is a stark contrast to the rules of deontology; whereas, the teachings of a moral agent such as God define how we should act or behave. Last, Utilitarianism is a theory that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes overall happiness. According to this theory, the worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome. Utilitarianism is different from deontological ethics because it does regard the consequences of an act as a determinant of its moral worth and it differentiates from virtue ethics because this theory focuses on character.

The similarities between the three theories are simple; they all focus on bettering human behaviors whether it is for one reason or another. Each theory sets precedence for striving to maintain higher standards of living and better each generation. For example, a deontological approach will argue that lying is always wrong, regardless of any potential good that might come from the lye. A virtue ethicist would focus less on lying and...
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