May 13, 2013
Utilitarianism, deontological, and virtue theory ethics are three normative approaches to ethics. This paper will go over the similarities and differences between virtue theory, utilitarianism, and deontological principles. It will include information of the variations in how each concept details ethics, morality, and it will also discuss a personal experience to describe the correlation between virtue, values, and moral perceptions as they relate to one of the three theories.
Similarities and Differences
Virtue theory emphasizes character traits rather than the rules or consequences while deontology is described as an action that is right only if it is in accordance with a moral rule or principle. Utilitarianism puts more emphasis on the consequences and that decisions should be made based on happiness for the greatest number of people.
Virtue theory does not judge a person as good (or not) based upon one single action in their lives. Rather, it takes a look over time to judge ones character. Virtue theory also looks at past mistakes that are not normally in a person’s historical nature. For example, a virtuous person is someone who is kind across many situations over a lifetime because that is their character and not because they want to maximize utility or gain favors or simply do their duty ("Virtue," 2010).
Utilitarianism usually relies on predicting the consequences of an action. Utilitarianism sets that an action is morally right when the action produces more total utility for the group than any other alternative (Boylan, Chapter 12, 2009). In this ethical theory, the consequences should fully be considered, as it will affect the most people.
Deontological ethical theory places more weight on the adherence to obligations and duties when analyzing an ethical dilemma. This emphasis is placed on the action
References: Boylan, M. (2009). Basic Ethics in Action: Basic Ethics (2nd ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database. Virtue. (2010). In Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/virtue/