Four Schools of Thought

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant Pages: 9 (3070 words) Published: May 11, 2013

31 March, 2013

31 March, 2013

Table of Contents
I. Deontology5
The Categorical Imperative6
Moral Anatomy Principle8
II. Utilitarianism8
Hypothetical Imperative9
Utility Principle9
III. Existentialism10
Existential Imperative10
The Facticity of the Other11
Authenticity Principle11
IV. Theism11
Divine Imperative12
Right Conduct12
Ethical Realism12
Work cited14


In today’s fast-paced business environment, there is a greater emphasis placed on ethics training as companies seek to comply with regulatory requirements and improve business efficiency. Ethics picks up where the law leaves off, providing more than just the moral minimum to avoid intentional harm. When studying ethics, the variety of ethical theories offers different approaches to solving dilemmas. There are four schools of ethical thought, which include deontology, utilitarianism, existentialism and theism. This paper will entail its readers to understand the thinking behind each school of thought and also further understand the conflicts, which arises in our lives while dealing with people who think differently then we do. Moreover, the understanding of four schools of thought will enable the readers to deal wit people, in different schools of thought, when conflict arises.

Four Approaches to Study Ethics

There are four important ways one can understand ethics or problems solve ethical issues. Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. Every person living in this world is different from each other, whether it be in what he likes to do or how he thinks. The four different approaches to understand and resolve ethical conflicts are deontology, basically the duties or the duty based approach, another form of approach is known as utilitarian approach also known as result-based approach. Third, way-approaching ethics is known as existentialism, which is choice or will based approach. Lastly, theism which is opposing school of thought which approaches ethics with idea that God exists and he is the supreme power who is in charge of directing our paths and setting up rules that we must live by. All four of these approaches are known to be the four schools of thoughts one can approach or study ethics. And a complete understanding of these four schools of thought will give anyone the ability to deal and to understand how different people think and also help live life where ethical conflicts can be easily solved.

Deontology is the first school of thought. The term “deontology” is a modern combination of classical greek terms, and means the study or science (logos) of duty, or more precisely, of what one ought to do (deon)”(Becker and Charlotte 1: 391). Deontological ethics is a duty-based approach, which focuses the individual’s ethical decisions on his or her duty to others. The decision-maker uses traditional values such as honesty, fairness, and loyalty. This theory is perhaps less adaptable because it bases actions on established moral imperatives. Choices are more restrictive because of the duty owed to others. Deontology provides a basis for special duties and obligations to specific people, such as those within one's family. For example, an older brother may have an obligation to protect his little sister when they cross a busy road together. This theory also praises those deontologists who exceed their duties and obligations, which is called "supererogation" (Ridley, Aaron. 1998). For example, if a person hijacked a train full of students and stated that one person would have to die in order for the rest to live, the person who volunteers...
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