Ethical Theories

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Stakeholder theory Pages: 14 (4672 words) Published: April 17, 2013
Morals define our character; ethics dictate the working of a social system. Ethics point towards the application of morality. In the wake of this understanding, national, social and workplace ethics are based on the abstract moral codes adopted and adhered to by each member of the group. Ethics lay down a set of codes that people must follow. Ethics are relative to peers, profession, community, society and nation. Morals are and are dependent on an individual’s choice or beliefs or religion and can mean doing the right or wrong thing. An example to help you understand the difference would be: Abortion is legal and therefore medically ethical, while many people find it personally immoral. Ethics can be relatively simple to follow, while applying morals can be decidedly tougher. There can be a moral dilemma, but not an ethical one. While good morals represent correct and upright conduct, ethics act more as guidelines. Ethics are applicable or adhered to by a group or community or society, whereas morals relate to individuals. As we can see from the above discussion that ethics and morals may seem similar, but are in fact rather distinct. While morals constitute a basic human marker of right behavior and conduct, ethics are more like a set of guidelines that define acceptable behavior and practices for a certain group of individuals or society. Deontological theories:

Deontological theories are the category of normative ethical theories. It is a form of moral philosophy centered on the principles of eighteenth century philosopher Immanuel Kant. Its name comes from the Greek words Deon and logos, meaning the study of duty. Deon means duty. Actions are morally right are those in accordance with certain rules, duties, rights and maxims. Deontological theories hold that an action’s tightness or wrongness depends on its conformity a certain moral norm regardless of the consequences. Actions can be morally permitted, required or forbidden. Consequences of the activities are not important according to deontological theory. The basis of deontology is to assess a person’s character by how well he or she follows moral rules, even if by doing so, tragic results occur. Deontology always advocates the Right over the Good. The deontological model of ethics determines the correctness of a moral action by determining if it follows moral norms. For instance, Kant gave the example that it is wrong to lie even if it could save a person’s life. The agent-centered theory of deontology: focus on the duties of the moral agent (the person acting); rather than the rights of person being acted upon (patient centered theory). Act only according to that maxim where by you can at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end. Lying is forbidden, because if lying is a universal action, society would be undermined. Also it is states that people’s moral choices are determined by personal obligation and permission. For instance, a parent is obligated to treat his or her child as more important than other people; however, other adults have no obligation to treat that parent’s child any differently than anyone else. Since people can have personal obligations that are different from other people, they also have permission to protect their obligations at the expense of others. In this theory, a parent has permission to save his or her own child even if it means causing negative or tragic consequences for other people’s children. The patient-centered theory: that deal with rights, it means an action is wrong if it violates a person’s right (life, liberty, property/ the pursuit of happiness) or against being used only as a means for producing good consequences without one’s consent. It centers on the rights of individuals rather than personal duty. It states that individuals have the right to not be used for moral good against their wills. For instance, a murderer cannot be killed without his or her permission even if it would save several...
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