December 2, 2012
The main goal of any ethical theory is to do what's right and good. All theories involve following moral rules or acting in accordance with chosen ethical values. Sometimes what is right and good, the rules, or the values are common to different theories. There is overlap in the theories that result in the same conduct in a moral situation although for different reasons under the different applicable theories. (No theory is perfect or applicable in all cases. All have problems!). There is more than one path to get the same result. There are three major approaches in normative ethics including virtue ethics, deontological ethics, and utilitarianism. This paper is going to compare the similarities and differences between virtue theory, utilitarianism, and deontological ethics. It will include a description of the differences in how each theory addresses ethics and morality and it will also discuss an experience to explain the relationship between virtue, values, and moral concepts as they relate to one of the three theories. Differences in How These Theories Address Ethics and Morality Virtue ethics, deontological ethics, and utilitarianism are the three major approaches in normative ethics. Virtue ethics emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, while deontology emphasizes duties or rules, and utilitarianism emphasizes the consequences of actions. Virtue ethics is also called agent-based or character ethics. According to Boylan (2009), when using the virtue ethics approach, one should take the viewpoint that in living their life they should try to cultivate excellence in all that they do. It encourages people to develop their character as the basis for the good life. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome. Utilitarianism suggests that an action is morally right when that action...
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