Comparisons of Ethical Theories

Topics: Ethics, Virtue ethics, Utilitarianism Pages: 3 (822 words) Published: October 27, 2013
Comparisons of Ethical Theories
Utilitarianism
The philosophy of Utilitarianism basically stresses that any action must provide the most helpful outcome for the maximum number of individuals possible. Utilitarianism may be referred to as “the greatest good for the greatest number” or “greater good” ethics (Boylan, 2009). Basically, when utilitarianism is useful to any decision the outcome should end with appeal to the largest number of affected individuals. In this form of ethics it is commonly seen in business and capitalist environments (Boylan, 2009). Virtue Theory

The next theory of ethics is virtue ethics focusing on the individual’s personality rather than the rules or the consequences of any action taken. In this theory it examines whether or not the person is of good standing or good character rather than what decisions are made (Garrett, 2005). This does not mean that rules, intentions, consequences, and outcome are not important but rather that the ethical standard of the individual are based on his or her demonstration of good intentions, virtue, and ethics through the actions they take (Garrett, 2005). Deontology

Deontology is different than virtue it emphasizes the duty for action based on planned rules, and principles. Doing well a making the right decision or action is of main point in this theory of ethics. The difference between deontology and utilitarianism is that deontology relies more on the decision than on the consequence of the action (Boylan, 2009). Deontology is focuses on principles and rules rather than intentions or consequences. Similarities between Theories

The three theories of ethics show notable similarities, including some impact from consequence of action. This is not necessarily the focus of the planned course of action in each case; it continues a concern in each of the three. The modification in focus from the result to the purposes, beliefs, displayed values or virtues prompts the inquiry of if the ends...

References: Boylan, M. (2009). Basic Ethics. 2nd Edition. Pp.153, 171
Edward N. Zalta, (ed.). Virtue Ethics. Retrieved February 20, 2012 from plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/ethics-virtue
Garrett, J. (2005). Virtue ethics. Retrieved February 20, 2012 from http://www.wku.edu/~jan.garrett/ethics/virtthry.htm
Hursthouse, Rosalind, (2010)."Virtue Ethics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved February 20, 2012 from plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/ethics-virtue
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