April 2, 2015
Professor Peter Fortuna
When comparing virtue theory, utilitarianism and deontological ethics, you must look at the similarities and the differences. Each idea has many key points; virtue theory is defined as your personal behavioral characteristics. If you are a good person, your values will be good values. Utilitarianism believes that if your action is right, it will promote happiness and if it is a wrong action the reverse will occur (West, n.d.). Deontology is considered morally right because of some characteristic of the action itself, not because the product of the action is good (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015). They all are similar in that they look at your morals and values as a person and whether they are right decisions. While each theory is very similar in relation to values and morals, there are also many differences. Virtue theory “focuses on what the individual should choose for his/her personal inward behavior (character) rather than the individual relying solely on the external laws and customs of the person’s culture, and if an individual's character is right then so ought the person’s choices and actions be good” (Gowdy, 2013). Virtue theory is consistent with knowing that you are right in your judgments because your cultures and customs have taught you to be a good person and make good decisions. Virtue theory also wants individuals to live a well fulfilled and happy life and make morally sound choices. Looking at utilitarianism, it differs from virtue theory and deontological ethics because it believes that believes that if you make good decisions, positive outcomes will always occur for you and everyone around you. The opposite effect could also happen. Meaning that if you make a wrong or negative choice, an adverse outcome will affect you and everyone around you. A familiar expression comes to mind...
References: Gowdy, L.N. (2013). Virtue Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.ethicsmorals.com/ethicsvirtue.html
West, H.R. (n.d.). Utilitarianism. Retrieved from http://www.utilitarianism.com/utilitarianism.html
The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2015). Deontological ethics. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/158162/deontological-ethics
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